Is there anything the all-powerful vegetable can’t do?

Put down all the anti-aging lotions and potions and creams. It turns out anti-aging can come from something as simple as eating more nitrate-rich veggies.

Dr. Nathan Bryan, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine, is a leading expert in the effect of nitric oxide (NO) on health and in disease prevention. According to Bryan in an article by News Wise, NO is a necessary component for self-healing: Our stem cells cannot function properly and heal our body without enough NO.

The United States population, Bryan points out, is NO deficient. This is partly due to aging. According to Bryan, when we reach our 40s and 50s, our bodies only produce about half the NO that they did when we were younger. And without a proper amount of NO, blood circulation and stem cell function are compromised.

How can older adults help their bodies get a sufficient amount of NO? Vegetables. Beets; green leafy vegetables such as arugula (the highest in nitrates), spinach, Swiss chard, butter leaf lettuce and parsley; carrots; turnips; celery and eggplant are a handful of veggies packed with dietary nitrates.

So, the next time you reach for a snack or prepare dinner, channel your inner mom and remind yourself to “eat your veggies.”

Try this anti-aging smoothie made with kale.

Photo credit: pilipphoto, Thinkstock