8 Age-Defying Herbs And Spices
The fountain of youth may exist only in legend, but the anti-aging properties of certain herbs and spices are very real. As we age, some of our bodily functions slow, our joints and muscles weaken and our senses deteriorate. But several ingredients found in our spice rack may hold the key to maintaining our youth.
Just one teaspoon a day of any of the foods below can help delay the aging process and promote a healthy body and mind well into old age.
Good for: Reducing inflammation
The inflammation that occurs as a result of arthritis, asthma and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can be combated by the rosmarinic acid found in sage. Sage is among the herbs with the longest history of health benefits, with its medicinal use dating back to ancient Egyptians and Greeks.
Sage has also been shown to alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
Good for: Improving memory
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia states, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” It turns out the playwright was ahead of his time in more ways than one. As we age, a compound in our brain known as acetylcholine gradually breaks down and our memory fades as a result. But studies have shown that simply smelling rosemary can inhibit the acetylcholine breakdown and boost memory by up to 75 percent.
Good for:Fighting heart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and our risk levels increase in middle age. But a daily dose of ginger can lower the risk of heart disease in adults by up to 13 percent through the blocking of voltage-dependent calcium channels.
Good for:Boosting metabolism
It’s no secret that our metabolism slows as we age and the waistlines of many older adults is a direct result. But there’s one easy way to give your metabolism a boost: Ingest more capsaicin. The same ingredient that causes a taste of cayenne pepper to make us reach for a beverage is the same one that can speed up our metabolism in old age and improve our body’s ability to burn calories.
Good for:Smoothing skin wrinkles
Our skin is made up of tiny fibers that break, stiffen, dry up, clump together and lose elasticity as we age. The wearing down of these fibers is what produces wrinkles, aging lines and other skin blemishes. Applying cinnamon oil to the skin can help smooth out wrinkles by “plumping” the skin, or stimulating blood vessels to bring more blood to the surface. The active ingredient is cinnamaldehyde, which can also remove dead skin cells and increase collagen levels.
Good for:Sleeping better
Changing sleeping patterns is a normal part of the aging process. Old age presents a harder time falling and staying asleep along with a decline in REM sleep. Nutmeg is rich in myristicin, a natural compound that blocks the release of stress-inducing enzymes. The calming effect has been used as a sleep aid for centuries and pairs well with a glass of warm milk before bed.
Good for:Slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s
While scientific evidence remains scarce, many researchers believe there may be a correlation between the high levels of turmeric consumed in India and the country’s low rate of Alzheimer’s among the elderly population. Turmeric is a yellow spice and close relative of ginger that is a dietary staple in India, where the rate of Alzheimer’s is eight times lessthan in the U.S.
Good for: Lowering blood pressure
As we age, our body fails to process dietary salt as efficiently and the result is rising blood pressure. Research has shown garlichelps thin the blood and reduce the stickiness or clumping of platelets that causes blood pressure to rise.
Incorporate more of these ingredients into your diet to improve your health and look and feel younger.
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