They say that age is just a number (which may be easier to believe when you’re young). Obviously, aging happens to all of us. But the point isn’t just years accumulated; the goal is to live well and vibrantly—and the first step is to make smart food choices.
The superstars of aging well are antioxidants, which combat free radicals—unstable forms of oxygen that your body makes in response to stressors like pollution, sun, smoke, and even digestion. Free radicals pummel their way through your body searching for substances to bind to in order to stabilize themselves, all the while damaging healthy cells. Over time, this damage builds up and contributes to aging. Antioxidants step in to squelch free radicals and protect cells. Fortunately, Mother Nature provides plenty of antioxidant-rich foods to choose from, making healthy eating easy and delicious for the long term.
Spicy Fish Cakes with Red Pepper Coulis
Serves 6 / One of the best food sources of antioxidant vitamin D, sardines also contain abundant anti-inflammatory omega-3s. This recipe tempers any “fishy” flavor in a spicy fish cake topped with a vitamin C–rich red pepper coulis (an easy-to-make sauce). Look for coarse-textured panko bread crumbs in the baking section. View recipe
Chocolate Mousse Parfaits
Serves 6 / Turning avocados into a velvety mousse is genius; your guests will never guess the secret, superhealthy ingredient, which is loaded with lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Cocoa contains heart-healthy flavanols, important for circulation. Make a double batch of the crunchy topping to sprinkle on oatmeal or yogurt; it’s a rich source of healthy fats and fiber. View recipe
Strawberry Breakfast Cobbler
Serves 16 / Cobbler for breakfast? No, you’re not dreaming. This yummy, slightly crumbly treat features antioxidant-laden strawberries tucked inside layers made with fiber- and omega-3-rich flaxseed. If you’re not vegan, you may substitute butter for the coconut oil. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt; or cut into bars for a take-along snack. View recipe
Makes 3Â¼ cups / This savory pÃ¢tÃ© is a decadent way to eat your antioxidants. Sunflower seeds are an outstanding dietary source of vitamin E, and hemp seeds contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Enjoy with rice crackers or as a sandwich spread, topped with arugula. View recipe
Lemony Red Lentil Soup with Chard
Serves 8 / When it comes to powerful proteins, you really can’t beat beans and legumes. They contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants called flavonoids, which are also found in tea, red wine, and cocoa. In addition to the antioxidant lentils, this recipe features kombu, a sea vegetable, which contributes valuable minerals like magnesium. View recipe
Curried Spring Vegetable SautÃ© with Tempeh
Serves 6–8 / Turmeric contains curcumin, shown to reduce arthritis pain and ward off certain cancers. This recipe features fresh turmeric, milder in taste than the familiar powder and therefore easier to incorporate into your diet. It’s easy to find and looks like bright-orange, fresh ginger (you can also use ground turmeric). Cabbage, another potent ingredient, is loaded with antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. Serve this with a side of brown rice or quinoa. View recipe