Fish for Healthy Joints
The Problem: Even though arthritis doesn't usually set in until later in life, the damage that causes it is happening now.
The Fix: Eat three six-ounce servings of cold-water fish per week. Specifically, have salmon, mackerel, trout, halibut, or white tunaÃ¢â‚¬”each serving packs more than 1,000 milligrams of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids.
A small UK study found that getting this amount of fish oil daily appeared to reduce cartilage-eating enzymes in a majority of patients facing joint-replacement surgery.
Fish oil slows down cartilage degeneration and reduces factors that cause inflammation, says Bruce Caterson, Ph.D., of Cardiff University in Wales, a lead researcher in the study.
Beans for Younger Skin
The Problem: You're cool with getting olderÃ¢â‚¬”you're smarter, wiser, and having a ton of fun. What you're not cool with are the tiny lines starting to show up on your face.
The Fix: Stroll down the bean aisle. An Australian study of 453 elderly people found that those who ate the most legumes and vegetables had fewer wrinkles and less sun-related skin damage.
Beans are rich in antioxidants that help the body deal with free radicals, skin-damaging molecules caused by sun exposure and pollution. Keep hummus on hand as a sandwich spread and carrot dip, toss black beans into soups or lentils into pasta sauce, or serve canned beans as a convenient side.
Mix them up with face-saving, antioxidant-rich veggies, like asparagus, broccoli, celery, eggplant, onion, and spinach (all of which were also found in the study to be the skin's fountains of youth), to make sure you keep getting carded.
Nuts for Energy
The Problem: You're climbing the company ladder, maybe getting married and having kids. Dealing with a mother-in-law, a 401(k), a mortgage you're stretched and stressed to your limits. Oh yeah, and your sex life is about as revved up as a rusty tractor.
The Fix: Go nuts. Peanuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts are loaded with vitamin E, an antioxidant that bolsters the immune system, which gets run down when you're running around.
They're also chock-full of B vitamins, which prepare your body for physical ramifications of stress like high blood pressure and off-kilter hormones. Nuts are also a great food source of arginine, an amino acid that improves blood flowÃ¢â‚¬”to help you get from dead tired to orgasmic.
You need only a handful per day, so sprinkle them on yogurt, salads, or oatmealÃ¢â‚¬”or just snack on them plain.
Protein for Metabolism
The Problem: Your skinny jeans fit as if they just came out of the dryerÃ¢â‚¬”even though you haven't washed them in weeks and you work out like Dara Torres. It's a bitch to stay thin when you're doing all the right things but your metabolism is conspiring to add flab.
The Fix: Low-sugar, high-protein snacks will keep your metabolic furnace stoked and leave you less likely to binge.
Have a slice (1.5 ounces) of hard cheeseÃ¢â‚¬”like cheddar, Swiss, or provoloneÃ¢â‚¬”once a day. Cheese has up to 11 grams of protein per serving and almost no sugar, which keeps your blood sugar in check.
Other options: A cup of low-fat plain Greek yogurt, a stick of beef jerky, or a handful of those magic pills known as almonds.