The Anti-Aging Gourmet

If it’s good for you, can it be good? Yes. Very, very good. The superfoods that prolong your life and boost your energy can also be eaten for sheer pleasure.

By Caroline Sorgen Kaye

The Superfoods If it’s good for you, can it be good? Yes. Very, very good. The superfoods that prolong your life and boost your energy can also be eaten for sheer pleasure. To prove it, we challenged five culinary stars to build a dinner party around 20 ingredients noted for their age-fighting properties. The results? Twelve great recipes, including a cocktail and a dessert — because what’s the point of living longer if you have to skip the sweets?"I never think of food in terms of nutrition or diet," admits Patricia Yeo — this from a woman who a biochemist before she became a chef. "I think that what’s important is eating things you truly enjoy. The sound of sake as it hits the warm pan, the crunch of julienned apples in your mouth — these things stimulate your senses, which in turn stimulates your brain. Ultimately I think that’s the organ that keeps you young."She has a point: Research has shown that if you enjoy what you eat, you’ll absorb more of food’s beneficial nutrients. But why not start out with the healthiest, most youth-preserving ingredients you can get? Our chefs were more than equal to the challenge. "It’s very easy to fit superfoods into both everyday and restaurant cooking — they’re delicious," says chef Jody Adams, who made mackerel believers out of our staff with her easy and irresistible recipe. Yeo showed us that salmon doesn’t have to be boring, especially if you rub it with green-tea powder. Vegetarian-cookbook legend Mollie Katzen stepped up to the plate with her avocado-salsa appetizer and a Moroccan stew brimming with colorful, lycopene-packed vegetables. Cocktail mixologist Jerri Banks proved that your predinner drink can be considered nutrition if you add pomegranate seeds and ginger. And Claudia Fleming created a dreamy low-fat dessert we couldn’t stop eating. "When good food is prepared well, seasoned well, and arranged beautifully, it’s totally unnecessary to draw a line in the sand between ‘good tasting’ and ‘good for you,’" Katzen says. "I would like to see this distinction disappear entirely." Our chefs instinctively understand the connection between eating well and aging well. "My work life is very physical and stressful, and often I don’t get enough sleep," Adams says. "When I eat superfoods — whole grains, lots of greens, dark fish — I’m able to stay balanced. I want my body to keep up with my mind and spirit." Fleming, who recommends always finishing off a meal with something sweet, says it best: "Dessert makes us happy, and anything that makes you happy keeps you young."The Super ChefsJerri Banks | 50Sommelier Banks is famous for creating cocktails using surprising herbs and fresh ingredients. "While age is a physiological reality, it is also a state of mind," Banks says. "Anything that improves our sensory experiences helps to keep us young at heart."Mollie Katzen | 55Author of the best-selling Moosewood Cookbook, Katzen recently coauthored Eat, Drink, & Weigh Less with Walter C. Willett, MD, head of the Harvard School of Public Health’s department of nutrition. "When I eat healthy food, I am happier, more robust, more energetic and clear-thinking," Katzen says.Jody Adams | 49Four months after Adams opened her first restaurant, Rialto, the Boston Globe gave it its top rating, four stars. She’s since opened her second restaurant, Blu, and written the cookbook In the Hands of a Chef. "Although I’m almost 50 years old, I am young in spirit," Adams says. "I don’t want an old body."Claudia Fleming | 47Named America’s top pastry chef by the James Beard Foundation — for foodies, that’s like winning an Oscar — this month Fleming is opening a restaurant and inn on Long Island with her husband, chef Gerry Hayden. "I still have much left to do, so longevity is key!"Patricia Yeo | 45In 1989 this biochem PhD traded in her lab coat for a chef’s toque. Her most recent venture, Sapa, is New York City’s latest celebrity-sighting hot spot.

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