Its obvious that sun exposure and vices like smoking will age you, but what about your diet? Research is moving toward the resounding conclusion that yes, you can in fact eat to maintain your youth. Add these foods to your diet to feel healthy and more energetic, but each food will slow the aging process in its own unique way. Here are 10 Foods to look younger.
Ideal Foods to Look Younger
The seeds of this wonder fruit are bursting with antioxidants, like vitamin C, that prevent fine lines, wrinkles and dryness by neutralizing the free radicals that weather skin. In Greek mythology the pomegranate symbolized the dark underworld and death, so it’s pretty ironic that adding pomegranate juice to your diet can actually help you look younger.
Pomegranate juice contains antioxidants that help to slow down the natural breakdown of DNA in your cellular structure. That means fewer wrinkles and a lower risk of heart disease. Try sipping on 8 oz. per day for all the benefits (opt for a version without added sugar or other chemicals).
Registered dietitian Carlene Thomas recommends adding berries to your diet to ward off aging and give your skin a youthful glow. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries contain the powerful antioxidants anthocyanins. Adding berries to your breakfast, salads or smoothies each day will work to maintain brain function and youthful muscle tone. They have also been shown, in some cases, to slow down the growth of certain cancers.
If you opt for strawberries, you’ll also get an added boost of vitamin C, which helps to boost collagen—hello wrinkle free skin. Add a cup a day to your meals or have them alone as a great fiber-filled snack.
Pass the guacamole! Avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fat and lutein. Monunsaturated fats help to protect your cells from damage while lutein works to protect your eyesight from degenerating (protecting against conditions like macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness). Avocados also contain a mineral that helps to protect your bone density as you age. Get a daily dose of 1/2 an avocado per day to ward off aging and look younger.
You may not have heard of this anti-aging food before, but this little root from the ginger family is a powerhouse. Turmeric an improve brain health, decrease cancer risk, boost immunity, and keep your youth intact by protecting against free radicals that cause wrinkles, dark under eye circles and saggy skin. The anti-aging ingredient curcumin found in turmeric achieves all of this by working to turn off inflammation in your body while enhancing how your body processes antioxidants.
Adding turmeric to your meat and veggie recipes (like you would a curry powder) to help ward off signs of aging and promote healthy digestion. For example, sprinkle it in casseroles, omelets, stews and soups, smoothies, salads or in dressings.
Your fingernails (toenails, too) are made of protein, so a deficiency can turn those talons soft. Keep yours thick and mani-pedi-ready by cracking smart: “Eggs are a good source of biotin, a B complex vitamin that metabolizes amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein,” says Frank Lipman, MD, director of Eleven-Eleven Wellness Center in New York City.
Adding mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake, to your diet will help keep you looking and feeling radiant. The fungi in mushrooms help to promote healthy circulation, which keeps your skin vibrant while maintaining an optimal blood pressure level.
Shiitakes also have immune-boosting and anti-viral properties which work by stimulating the activities of your body’s white blood cells.
High in zinc, shellfish has anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat a range of skin annoyances, acne included. “Zinc accelerates the renewal of skin cells,” says Whitney Bowe, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “That’s why you find the nutrient in many acne medications.” In fact, research shows that people with acne have lower levels of zinc than people with clear skin.
Happy news alert: Eating 1 to 3 oz. of dark chocolate a day can help keep you youthful. Yes, it’s true; just make sure the dark chocolate contains at least 70 percent cacao so you’re getting enough of the anti-aging antioxidant flavanol.
Flavanols work to repair cell damage, which in turn will keep your skin and hair youthful while protecting you from heart disease and possibly diabetes, stroke and decreased vascular function. Chocolate, you’re our hero.
Grabbing some java every morning doesn’t just jump-start your day—that cup of joe has bio-active compounds that may help protect your skin from melanoma (the fifth most common cancer in the U.S.), according to a recent report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Researchers found that the more coffee people downed, the less likely they were to get the disease: Those drinking four cups daily had a 20 percent lower risk of developing malignant melanoma over a 10-year period than non-coffee drinkers.
The omega-3s in fish such as salmon, tuna and herring are good for more than just maintaining beautiful skin and hair, they also have anti-aging properties. Omega-3s help to keep you young by protecting your life source—the heart—by reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure. Some studies have shown they even work to protect you against strokes and Alzheimer’s, and that those who eat fish live longer than those who don’t.
Try adding at least two servings per week of fish rich in omega-3s to your diet to look younger. If you’re not a fish person, fish oil supplements with Omega-3 can work too.