Aging gracefully is about being healthy and happy rather than keeping wrinkles at bay. But as they say, you are what you eat, so when it comes to fighting the clock, what we put into our bodies may be even more important than the products we spend money to help us in this department. Experts point out that there are a variety of anti-aging foods you can eat that can work wonders to help fight skin-damaging free radicals, repair collagen in the body, and reduce inflammation. Ready to shine? Here are 30 of the best anti-aging foods to nourish your body and get a glow that comes from within. Red bell peppers are loaded with antioxidants that reign supreme when it comes to anti-aging.
Researchers have even concluded that eating fruits and vegetables is the safest and healthiest way to combat dull complexion and fine lines. Packed with vitamins A and C, watercress antioxidants can neutralize harmful free radicals, helping to keep fine lines and wrinkles away. In addition to their high vitamin C content, which is good for collagen production, red peppers contain powerful antioxidants called carotenoids. The wide range of antioxidants in papaya helps fight free radical damage and may delay the signs of aging. Papaya also contains an enzyme called papain, which provides additional anti-aging benefits by functioning as one of nature's best anti-inflammatory agents.
Watercress acts as an internal skin antiseptic and increases circulation and mineral delivery to all cells of the body, resulting in increased oxygenation of the skin. Blueberries are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as an age-defying antioxidant called anthocyanin. This is what gives blueberries their deep and beautiful blue color. Good news, dark chocolate for chocolate lovers offers some serious anti-aging benefits. Cocoa beans, the main ingredient in dark chocolate, are packed with antioxidants that can reduce inflammation from UV exposure, increase circulation, and help skin retain moisture better. This is a winning formula for radiant and healthy skin.
Dark chocolate is also rich in magnesium, another nutrient that fights inflammation. Magnesium reduces stress and improves the duration and quality of sleep, which plays a role in aging skin. Just be sure to check the added sugar content of your favorite dark chocolate bar; too much sugar could wreak havoc on your skin. Research from Baylor University School of Medicine shows that sugar has a negative effect on collagen fibers and can make the skin look stiffer and less elastic. Fortunately, eating to age gracefully doesn't have to mean eliminating all types of sugar.
Some fruits play an important role in keeping the skin looking young and vibrant. The berries contain vitamin C, a common ingredient in anti-aging skin products, and antioxidants that fight free radicals that age the skin. Turns out your spice cabinet is your next great anti-aging tool. Certain spices, such as oregano, cinnamon, and cloves, contain lipoic acid, a compound that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. Lipoic acid helps stimulate the production of antioxidants throughout the body and removes heavy metals responsible for oxidative stress. Although lipoic acid is naturally present in the body, it can increase its intake through certain foods (such as these aromatic spices).
Nuts have the highest antioxidant power of any nut and are an excellent source of omega-3 fats. This combination makes them an excellent snack to fight inflammation to improve skin (and overall health). Nuts are also great for improving gut health. The health of our microbiome is closely related to skin health, and proper gut health helps the skin stay in homeostasis for optimal protection, temperature regulation and water retention. Pomegranates and raspberries are packed with ellagic acid, a compound that research shows could naturally help prevent wrinkles. A study published in Experimental Dermatology found that ellagic acid prevents the breakdown of skin-firming collagen and also prevents UV-induced inflammation.
Therefore, ellagic acid can slow down the chain of skin aging reactions that occur as a result of that inflammation. Kale is packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that can increase the elasticity and hydration of the skin. Specifically, lutein also appears to be able to protect the skin from a particularly harmful wavelength of light (and against which sunscreen is not very good at protecting) called blue light. Don't you like kale? Try avocados; they are also full of lutein and zeaxanthin. Your habit of drinking a cup daily could help prevent skin cancer and fight rosacea. In a study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, women who drank a cup of coffee a day reduced their risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer by about 10 percent. However, it had to be caffeinated; decaf was not associated with the same protective benefits.
In addition, the more coffee women drank—about 6 cups a day—the lower their risk of skin cancer. Coffee drinkers were also less likely to get rosacea according to another study. A cheerful mind and better skin from our favorite morning ritual? We think it's all right! Leafy greens like spinach are packed with tons of vitamins that act as antioxidants. These anti-aging foods are also packed with lots of fiber which are great for keeping your heart and digestive system healthy. Acharya points out that you can add spinach to salads or smoothies or even sauté it with garlic for a delicious side dish! Here are 30 anti-aging foods, make sure you incorporate them into your diet: Red bell peppers; Watercress; Papaya; Blueberries; Dark Chocolate; Spinach; Avocados; Salmon; Flaxseed; Citrus Fruits; Oregano; Cinnamon; Cloves; Nuts; Pomegranates; Raspberries; Kale; Coffee.