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Dr Perricone: Eat your way younger with my eight superfoods
July 19, 2013 | By:

The well-known dermatologist, author and healthy ageing expert shares his list of superfoods, including chia seeds, turmeric and watercress, and what they can do for us

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Watercress, turmeric and fish are three of the dermatologist’s must-eats

One of the great joys of my research has been discovering the role of key nutrients in the foods we eat, and how they affect our beauty, health and longevity.

What I often refer to as ‘superfoods’ are those renowned for their remarkable anti-inflammatory, healing and rejuvenating properties, all but forgotten in today’s world of fast and processed ‘food.’ Below is a selection that in my opinion will – as my catchphrase goes – keep you “forever young”.

Chia seeds are an outstanding source of omega 3, and for increasing energy, endurance and much more their reputation is unsurpassed.

The seeds of the chia plant are a concentrated source of high-quality macronutrients required by the body: omega 3 fatty acids, dietary fibre, protein-without-gluten and low-glycemic carbohydrates. They make an interesting addition to salads, veggies, fruit, cereals and soups.

Try sprinkling them on any of the above. They are tasteless and add crunch while absorbing fluid. If you mix them with water they will form a gel, which adds body to a salad or dressing.

Turmeric can help protect organs and fight off disease. The curcuminiod pigments in turmeric are safe, effective antioxidants, while turmerin – its derivative – is a unique peptide that acts as a free radical scavenger and offers protection against oxidative injury to membranes and DNA.

Watercress contains a storehouse of nutrients and has been used as a tonic since ancient times to cleanse the blood and liver of toxins and to promote an overall feeling of good health. It has been used in a variety of ways, among them enhancing stamina, getting rid of excess body fluids and as an antioxidant.

Studies of watercress suggest that it helps with a huge amount of health issues, including reducing DNA damage, inhibiting breast and prostrate cancer and increasing eye health.

Cinammon is not only a delicious spice but is one of the cornerstones of my programme to stay ‘forever young’ and wrinkle-free. I believe it regulates blood sugar and acts as both a powerful anti-inflammatory and a strong antioxidant.

Since elevated blood sugar and insulin cause us to store body fat, thus making us susceptible to obesity and diabetes, cinammon is worthwhile on its own. But I also believe that its strong fragrant aroma boosts cognitive processing in the brain, improving memory and attention span.

Blueberries have some amazing qualities and are a great source of antioxidants. They also have anti-inflammatory properties (and remember, inflammation is not just linked to disease, but contributes to wrinkling and sagging in the skin).

In my own research, I have found that blueberries also increase brain power, restore balance and improve memory. In my book, anything that is good for the brain is also excellent for the skin because of the brain-beauty connection (and you can read all about that in my actual book!).

Raspberries are a rich source of vitamin C, which is vital for collagen production, and are also high in ellegic acid, which repairs the cell damage caused by free radicals. Like blueberries they are super anti-ageing foods in just about every category (but then, all berries are superb for most organ systems, including skin).

Avocado contains the good fats that we need to help absorption of nutrients from vegetables and fruits, keep our cells supple, our skin glowing and wrinkle-free, our brains sharp and our mood upbeat. We also need dietary fat to burn bad fats.

Oily fish will help to give you healthy skin and hair. The flesh of fish, especially salmon, contains DMAE, a powerful antioxidant. This chemical stimulates nerve function, helping muscles to contract and tighten under the skin.

Of all the foods that can keep you young, fish tops the list. It is an outstanding source of high-quality and easily digested protein and low in saturated fat.

What makes fish stand out from other excellent protein sources is its type of fat and fatty acid content, both of which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

And on that note: bon appetit!

Video: Dr Perricone on Larry King Live

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Dr Nicholas Perricone is a dermatologist certified by the American Board of Dermatology and healthy ageing expert. He is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and has served as Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. He is the author of several best-selling books including The Wrinkle Cure, The Perricone Promise and Forever Young. His topical products, the Perricone MD range, are designed to work collaboratively with food supplements for optimum results.