Let’s face it. It’s only natural that we desire to stay forever young or at least look and feel like ageless wonders as long as we live.

Now, before you go darting off on a desperate hunt for the fountain of youth, or invest in high dollar man-made products advertised as age-defying miracles, what if we told you the fountain you were looking for was right there in front of you—on your plate?

Recently, there has been an ad featuring a 77-year old retired body builder receiving quite a bit of attention. The ad reads: “Think before you eat. Eating vegan helps to prevent obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and strokes. Muscle your way to better health: Go vegan.”

The ad’s subject, Jim Morris, who is now 78 years old, switched to a vegetarian diet at age 50 and went vegan at 65. He credits his dietary shifts for his remarkable physique.

While it’s powerful to see a retired body builder taking such a stance and citing plant-based nutrition for his health, stature, and youthful presence at his age, these preventative advantages and age-defying benefits certainly aren’t limited to extreme athletes—they’re for all of us.

Here’s a closer look at a few of the diverse ways plant-based foods are, in essence, anti-agers that can account for us looking and feeling our best throughout the entirety of our lives.

Healthy Heart

Look no further than the plant world to stay young at heart.

Foods coined as being “heart healthy” pack hefty doses of phytonutrients that prevent and ward off damage to our cells and help to eliminate free radicals in the bloodstream. Fresh, vibrant, colorful produce is at the cornerstone of these go-to selections. And in addition to green powerhouse vegetables like asparagus, spinach and broccoli, flax-seed, oatmeal, and almonds are examples of plant-based foods ranked high on the heart-healthy scale, each loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Here are 5 tips on eating a heart healthy plant-based diet.

Although the ongoing blood pressure discussion leaves room for debate as far as ranges are concerned, there is less argument when it comes to correlations between diet choices and lowering blood pressure. Read more about lowering your blood pressure with the help of plant-based foods.

Heightened Energy

Thanks to increased support and evidence stating otherwise, the lack of protein-myth directed at the herbivore world has certainly died down.  The truth of the matter is, a well-balanced herbivore diet centered on whole plant-based foods is packed with endless energy-boosting properties that promote a healthy functioning metabolic state, keeping our muscles and bones strong and helping us to avoid injury. After all, everyone knows Popeye’s strength took off after engulfing a can of spinach.

If you’re looking to rev up the amount of protein in your diet, here are 10 vegan foods packed with protein. And, if you are looking for an extra helping of energy to take you the entire day through, check out this nutritious energizing all day menu.

Sharper Mind

Growing up, you probably heard your parents tell you to eat your vegetables so you would not only be stronger, but also smarter. Well, they weren’t totally bluffing. In fact, there is quite a bit of truth in what they were saying, whether they knew it at the time or not. Quite literally, plant-based foods support both memory retention and brain health. Foods such as broccoli and cauliflower are especially known for their brain-boosting properties, as are the vitamin rich and phosphorus-filled chickpeas (hummus included).

On the whole, plant-based diets are said to help lower anxiety, and cortisol levels (stress hormone), and even act as preventatives for diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

In Neal Bernard’s book, “Power Foods for the Brain,” Bernard discusses the implications of the food you eat on brain health. In a Forbes’ discussion on Alzheimer’s, he states the following:

“The vitamin E in nuts and seeds, the anthocyanins that give grapes and berries their color, and the omega-3 traces in green vegetables all play protective roles. They can add up to a big drop in the risk of cognitive problems.”

Radiant Glow

“Fruits and vegetables high in flavonoids and carotenoids – two powerful plant-based antioxidants – help remove free radicals from your skin and body that cause premature aging.” Thank you Dr. Oz, we certainly agree.

Oh, vitamin-filled foods, in addition to healing us at the core, you go above and beyond and ever so gracefully manage to smooth our skin and make us glow. Applause goes to vitamins C and E, along with beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A called a carotenoid, for helping in both moisturizing and healing our skin’s tissues.

Consider regularly incorporating these 6 foods that can improve your skin into your daily diet. And to take your plant-induced radiant glow even further, take advantage of coconut oil for healthy skin and hair, amongst other topical and internal uses. Here are 5 everyday uses for coconut oil.

The List Goes On…

Not only do they keep our bodies ticking and immune systems going strong, plant-based foods continually prepare our bodies and minds to ward off illness, so we can better take on the world. Here are 10 disease fighting foods for your overall well-being.

 Image Source: Asian Slaw Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing