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Have you ever wondered why some of your friends appear to age better than others? As well as looking more youthful and having higher energy levels, some people appear to avoid illness as they grow older. The causes of aging are a complex mix of different factors. Some of these you can’t influence or control, but there are positive steps you can take to slow down the natural aging process. Improving your diet is now widely believed to be one of the safest and easiest ways to retain your youth.

Billions of dollars are spent every year on creams, injections and surgery in attempts to halt the process of aging. Changing your eating habits is a cheaper and more effective solution. Switching to an anti-aging diet can improve your moods and energy levels and make you feel stronger and leaner. Eating the right foods can help your cells and organs to function more effectively, and this can reduce wrinkles and excess body fat associated with aging. The following facts will help you to understand the key elements of anti-aging diets.

Sugar is one of your worst enemies.

Governments around the world are under pressure to introduce legislation to control the amount of sugar used in food production. A single can of soda can include more than your entire daily recommended intake. Excess sugar is a threat to health at any age, but it becomes even more serious as you enter your senior years. As well as significantly increasing the risk of diabetes, sugar can lead to heart disease and cancer. Cutting back on sugary foods, soda and processed foods is one of the foundations of an anti-aging diet.

Fresh fruit and vegetables combat aging.

Eating a mix of fresh fruit and vegetables is key to retaining your youth. Eating vegetables raw can bring the greatest benefits, but steaming or boiling also helps to retain the valuable nutrients. Berries, cherries, plums and grapes are particularly rich in natural chemicals that can fight diseases associated with aging. Broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower and spinach should also feature in your diet as you grow older. If you really don’t enjoy eating fruit and vegetables, experiment with soups and smoothies to increase your daily intake.

Spices are better than most anti-aging pills.

Adding spices to your meals is an easy way to boost the anti-aging benefits. Ginger, turmeric and cinnamon all have proven benefits for health. Some studies suggest that life expectancy in Asian countries is improved by the fact that spices are used in cooking on a daily basis.

Controlling blood sugar slows the aging process.

Processed foods, sugar and some types of grain lead to increased blood sugar levels. This leads to release of insulin in the body, and can cause weight gain, inflammation of joints and loss of energy. Over the longer term, high blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes, strokes, heart disease and many other serious health problems. Eating healthy fats and foods rich in protein can help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. As well as lean meat and fish, walnuts, almonds, avocados and lentils are great for keeping blood sugar stable.

Limiting and controlling inflammation is good for mind and body.

The full extent of problems caused by inflammation in the body has only come to light in the last few years. As well physical illnesses, inflammation is now thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, depression and other mental illnesses. Inflammation is a slow process, but it’s accelerated by a poor diet. Processed foods containing chemicals and additives are known to increase inflammation.

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How to build an herb garden on the cheap

Herbs are quite literally the spice of life. Although store bought herbs work fine, there’s nothing like fresh herbs from the garden. They spice up affordable homemade meals and can be dried to use during the winter.

Here’s how you can start an herb garden on a shoestring budget.

Score a cheap container

You don’t need a fancy $40 planter to grow herbs. There are so many free or cheap options out there! Some people use cement blocks, tires, bird baths, kettles, tea cups, and more.

If you’re in the market for a unique container and don’t want to spend any money, try trash picking. Heck, that’s where I got the hanging basket for my herb garden!

If trash isn’t your thing, you can repurpose existing items around your house, ask neighbors, or poke around on

Get dirty

You don’t need a $10 bag of Miracle-Gro to grow herbs. Plants are just as happy growing in a $1 “knockoff” bag of dirt as they are in the fancy stuff. If you really want to save money, consider using soil from your yard. Better yet, use your own compost for maximum savings and plant nutrition.

Seed sourcing

Some people like to start an herb garden with mature plants. That’s a great way to have a harvest ASAP, but not a great way to save money. That’s why I always start my plants from seed.

Seeds can be the most expensive part of gardening, especially if you’re trying to go organic. Instead of paying $6 for a pack of seeds, check if you have seed banks in your area. These banks give out free seeds and just ask that you return more seeds once your plants grow. If you don’t have a local seed bank, check for mom-and-pop stores or co-ops. They usually have better deals.

The bottom line

Once you have these three basics, it’s time to get growin’! Harvest fresh, nutritious herbs from the comfort of your own home on the cheap.

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