Home » Blog » Healthy Aging » Age Better with Foods that Promote Autophagy

Age Better with Foods that Promote Autophagy

Have you ever heard of the word “Autophagy”?

It refers to a natural process that happens in our body’s cells.

In this post, I’ll explore the top 5 foods that promote autophagy and support healthy aging.

Autophagy Explained

Autophagy is like a cleanup crew that removes old parts of the cell and allows healthy parts to grow.

This helps keep our cells and body working properly!

Lifestyle factors like a poor diet or lack of exercise can slow autophagy.

Fortunately, there are foods you can eat to help boost autophagy.

Foods that Promote Autophagy

The foods below are rich in nutrients that promote autophagy.

1. Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli are rich in nutrients that promote autophagy.

These vegetables contain sulforaphane, which activates the Nrf2 pathway, a key regulator of autophagy.

Additionally, these vegetables contain chlorophyll, which can enhance this cell clean-up process.

Chlorophyll stimulates the production of autophagosomes, the structures responsible for removing damaged proteins and organelles.

Leafy Greens - Foods that Promote Autophagy
Leafy greens promote Autophagy.

How to Add Leafy Greens to Your Diet

  1. Add them to your smoothie: Blend a handful of spinach or kale into your morning smoothie. The additional ingredients in your smoothie will mask the flavor of the greens.
  2. Make a salad: Add a variety of leafy greens to a side or entree salad.
  3. Sautee greens with garlic: Sautee spinach or kale with some garlic and olive oil for a tasty side dish.
  4. Add to soups or stews: Add greens to your soups or stews for a nutrient boost.
  5. Make lettuce wraps: Check out iceberg or bibb lettuce for a low-carb alternative to bread for your sandwiches or wraps.

Check out our salad kit options for a convenient way to increase your leafy greens – Anti-Inflammatory Salad Kits Support Healthy Aging.

2. Berries

Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, are packed with antioxidants that can help support autophagy!

These antioxidants help protect against oxidative stress, a condition which impairs autophagy.

Berries also contain flavonoids, which can activate autophagy by inducing the expression of key genes.

Berries are packed with antioxidants!

How to Add More Berries to Your Diet

  1. Snack on berries: Keep a bowl of mixed berries in your fridge for a quick and healthy snack. You can also freeze them or purchase frozen berries .
  2. Add to yogurt: Mix fresh berries into your favorite yogurt.
  3. Make a smoothie: Blend berries with milk or yogurt or into your favorite smoothie recipe.
  4. Top your cereal or oatmeal: Add berries to your cereal or oatmeal for breakfast.
  5. Make a fruit salad: Combine a variety of berries with other fruits like kiwi, pineapple, and mango for a colorful salad.

3. Nuts and Seeds

These crunchy foods, such as almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds, are rich in healthy fats and nutrients that promote autophagy.

Nuts and seeds are also high in polyphenols, which activate autophagy by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.

Nuts & Seeds - various foods that promote autophagy
Nuts and Seeds: Supporters of Autophagy

How to Add More Nuts and Seeds to Your Diet

  1. Snack on nuts: Keep a small container of mixed nuts in your bag or at your desk.
  2. Add to your breakfast: Sprinkle seeds on top of your oatmeal or yogurt.
  3. Make nut butter: Make nut butter by blending nuts in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Add to your salads: Sprinkle chopped nuts or seeds on top of your salads.
  5. Use as a topping: Use nuts or seeds as a topping for your smoothie bowls, pancakes, or waffles.

Nuts are also good for your skin. Check out our post on The 10 Best Foods That Tighten Skin.

4. Green Tea

Green tea is loaded with polyphenols and catechins, which activate autophagy.

Additionally, green tea has been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can help support autophagy.

Green Tea in a mug
Green tea can help activate autophagy.

How to Add Green Tea to Your Diet

  1. Drink it hot: Brew a cup of green tea and enjoy it hot. You can add honey or lemon for extra flavor.
  2. Make iced green tea: Pour green tea over ice for a refreshing drink.
  3. Add to smoothies: Brew a cup of green tea and let it cool, then add it to your smoothie for an extra boost of antioxidants and flavor.
  4. Cook with it: Use it as a base in rice, quinoa, or soup to add a subtle flavor.
  5. Use green tea bags: Keep a few tea bags with you or at your desk for a quick and easy way to enjoy green tea anytime, anywhere.

5. Tumeric

Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that can promote autophagy.

Curcumin has been shown to activate autophagy by inducing the expression of autophagy genes and reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.

Tumeric in a bowl - foods that promote autophagy
Tumeric: A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Compound

How to Add Tumeric to Your Diet

  1. Use it in cooking: Add turmeric powder to your soups, stews, and curries for an earthy flavor.
  2. Make a turmeric latte: Mix it with milk and honey for a delicious latte.
  3. Add to rice or quinoa: Mix turmeric powder into your rice or quinoa for a colorful side dish.
  4. Make a smoothie: Add it to smoothies for added anti-inflammatory benefits.
  5. Make a salad dressing: Mix turmeric powder with olive oil, lemon juice, and honey for a flavorful salad dressing.

Are you interested in more foods that support healthy aging? Check out our post – 7 Anti-Aging Superfoods to Add to your Diet Today.

Top Foods that Promote Autophagy Takeaways

In conclusion, incorporate foods that promote autophagy into your diet to reap numerous health benefits.

By activating the autophagy process, these foods can remove damaged cells and promote cellular renewal.

Some of the best foods that promote autophagy include green tea, nuts, berries, turmeric, and leafy greens.

Hungry for More?

Check out the Age-Defying Dietitian’s Blog for more healthy aging content!

Sign up for our Nutrition for Healthy Aging Newsletter to get our latest content delivered directly to your inbox!

4 thoughts on “Age Better with Foods that Promote Autophagy”

  1. Hi Kathryn
    All great stuff to know
    Achieving optimum health can also be fun and you encourage people to engage
    Will keep an eye on other things that you do
    Many thanks

  2. Felicia Constantin

    Hello! My name is Felicia Constantin and I am a RDN from Romania. I am interested in topics about prevention of chronic diseases and also about autophagy. Thank you for your attention. Wish you all the best!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top