It’s no secret that a healthy, radiant complexion is a product of how we eat, but some foods take it one step further and actually combat premature signs of aging. Here’s what you need to know.
Although the fountain of youth is just a myth, science suggests that there is a way to influence how quickly we show physical effects of aging: being intentional about our diets. Eating a diet high in plants – specifically, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains, and herbs – will automatically put you on the right track; these foods naturally contain an abundance of nutrients and antioxidants, which can help prevent symptoms of aging skin.
Of course, some foods offer a better “bang for your buck” than others. If more youthful-looking skin is on your mind, aim to incorporate the following foods multiple times a week – or even daily – in your diet.
Beans & Lentils
An excellent source of plant-based protein, beans and lentils are very versatile and incredibly nutritious. Protein is an essential nutrient that helps maintain the strength and structure of your skin. Black beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, lima beans, and split peas are just a few varieties to try.
Full of antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber, blueberries are your skin’s best friend. Specifically, blueberries contain anthocyanin, an age-defying antioxidant that gives the berry its beautiful blue coloring. Sprinkle blueberries over your morning oatmeal or throw them in a smoothie to reap the benefits.
Rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that protects the skin against damage and premature aging, tomatoes deserve a place on your plate. You can eat them raw or cooked, although cooking tomatoes is thought to increase the bioavailability of the lycopene.
Green tea is unrivaled in terms of anti-aging properties. That’s because it contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant effective at rejuvenating dying skin cells. Green tea is also high in B vitamins and vitamin E, which both positively impact skin health. If you don’t like the taste of green tea on its own, try adding it to a smoothie with berries and bananas.
Is there anything the avocado can’t do? This fruit is high in vitamins K, C, E, and especially A – a nutrient that helps skin shed dead cells, leaving behind a glowing complexion. Plus, avocados are easy to incorporate in your meals, from salads and smoothies to tacos and toast.
Nuts in general are great for your skin, but walnuts in particular are a standout when it comes to longevity. Walnuts contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which may help protect against skin damage and strengthen skin cell membranes. These nuts are delicious in salad, trail mix, or on their own as a snack.
Even more good-for-you omega-3s can be found in salmon (as well as other fatty fish like sardines and tuna). Since omega-3s work to reduce inflammation, eating more salmon means softer, more hydrated skin. Serve up salmon as a fillet, in a dip, or mashed into salmon cakes – just remember to choose wild-caught varieties when you can.
Spinach is high in vitamin C and a handful of other vitamins that promote healthy skin, while kale is rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K. Other leafy greens to try include romaine lettuce, arugula, and watercress.
While some foods can decelerate the signs of aging, others speed them up. The following foods are fine to consume in moderation; however, eating them too often will start to negatively affect your complexion.
- Processed meats (hot dogs, pepperoni, bacon)
- Sugary treats (ice cream, candy, doughnuts)
- Fried food
- Soda and energy drinks