Diet and lifestyle changes that can stop the clock and even reverse the signs of ageing

Nikki Edwards, with some of her products

Nikki Edwards, with some of her products - Credit: Archant

With every birthday, every new wrinkle and every grey hair, it’s perfectly natural to look at the reflection in the mirror and wish you could turn back time.

Our health expert, leading sports nutritionist Nikki Edwards, looks at simple diet and lifestyle changes which can halt – and even reverse – the ageing process.

There is not a woman out there who doesn’t – or won’t at some stage – battle with wrinkles, sags and bags.

But there are ways to slow down the effects of age on your body, hair and skin. Really.

Superfoods to the rescue

The following foods have healing qualities which can leave you feeling younger and more energetic from the inside out:

1. Whey Protein

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This is a miracle food where ageing is concerned but the explanation as to why is fairly complex… so bear with me.

Whey has been shown to increase your body’s stores of the antioxidant glutathione which is known to increase the integrity of telomeres. Telomeres are bundles of DNA found in every cell, and they shorten with age.

Researchers suspect telomeres shorten due to damage by free radicals.

As far as anti-ageing is concerned, upping the amount of whey protein you eat means you can actually lengthen telomeres; which could, in theory, reverse aging.

2. Eggs

Eggs contain nine essential amino acids and plenty of protein. Proteins are nutrients that are essential to the building, maintenance and repair of your body tissues such as your skin, internal organs and muscles. They are also the major components of your immune system and hormones.

3. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and romaine lettuce are great sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies have shown eating foods rich in these antioxidants can significantly reduce your risk of AMD (age-related macular degeneration), as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are also packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants like beta carotene, vitamin C, and sulforaphane.

Spinach also provides folate, which research shows can dramatically improve your short-term memory.

Some leafy greens like collard and salad greens contain vitamin K1, which is linked to good vascular health, and this means fewer varicose veins.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli is another dark green antioxidant-rich vegetable which holds the powers of healing and disease prevention.

It contains the highest amount of isothiocyanates, a cancer-fighting compound, of all the crunchy vegetables.

Other vegetables containing isothiocyanate include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and watercress.

5. Blueberries

Blueberries have 40% more antioxidant capacity than strawberries, are high in vitamin C and can help strengthen collagen formation, thereby reducing the signs of aging.

They also help your body neutralise free radicals, molecules that can harm brain cells and brain function.

6. Garlic

The component of garlic, allicin, digests in your body and produces sulfenic acid, a compound that reacts faster with dangerous free radicals than any other known compound.

On top of this garlic helps relax and enlarge the blood vessels in your body, improving blood flow, especially to your heart.

Both garlic and onions can increase your protection against cancer too.

7. Olive Oil

Four decades ago, researchers from the Seven Countries Study concluded that the monounsaturated fats in olive oil were largely responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Now we know that olive oil also contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent age-related diseases.

8. Yogurt

While the age-defying powers of yogurt never have been proven directly, yogurt is rich in calcium, which helps stave off osteoporosis and contains “good bacteria” that help maintain gut health and diminish the incidence of age-related intestinal illness.

For more advice from Nikki,