11 Foods That Can Help You Look Younger
Aging is a natural part of life that can’t be avoided.
However, the foods you eat can help you age better, both inside and out.
Here are 11 foods that can help you look younger.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats on earth.
Research has shown that it may help prevent many common diseases associated with aging.
It lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart disease, helps prevent metabolic syndrome and may be effective in fighting cancer (1, 2, 3, 4).
Olive oil may also help your skin look younger. Animal and lab studies suggest it has strong anti-inflammatory effects on the skin and may protect it from sun damage (5).
Additionally, nearly 73% of olive oil consists of monounsaturated fat, which is associated with increased skin elasticity and firmness (6).
Two studies looked at food records and questionnaires completed by middle-aged and older adults. They found that those with the highest intake of monounsaturated fat from olive oil were least likely to have severe sun damage (7, 8).
2. Green Tea
Green tea is high in antioxidants, which can protect against free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that form during metabolism and in response to stress. Antioxidants change their structure so they’re unable to cause damage.
Green tea is particularly high in antioxidants called polyphenols, which can fight diabetes, insulin resistance, inflammation and heart disease (9, 10, 11).
Polyphenols may also help protect collagen, the main protein in your skin. This may reduce and even partly reverse some signs of aging (6, 12, 13, 14).
In one study, women with sun-damaged skin who were treated with green tea cream and supplements for 8 weeks had modest improvements in skin elasticity (15).
BOTTOM LINE:Green tea has strong antioxidant properties that protect your skin’s collagen from sun damage and may reduce signs of aging.
3. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish is truly an anti-aging food.
Its long-chain omega-3 fats are beneficial against heart disease, inflammation and ulcerative colitis, among many other diseases (16, 17, 18).
Studies suggest that they may also protect against inflammation and damage that occurs during sun exposure (19, 20).
Salmon, one of the most popular types of fatty fish, has an additional component that may keep your skin looking younger.
It contains a carotenoid antioxidant called astaxanthin, which is responsible for the pink color of salmon.
In one study, people with sun-damaged skin who were given a combination of astaxanthin and collagen for 12 weeks experienced significant improvements in skin elasticity and hydration (21).
BOTTOM LINE:Fatty fish may provide protection from skin damage that occurs in response to inflammation and sun exposure. The astaxanthin in salmon may also improve skin elasticity and hydration.
4. Dark Chocolate/Cocoa
The antioxidant profile of dark chocolate is second to none. It is even more powerful than acai berries, blueberries and cranberries (22).
Research suggests it may reduce blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity and improve arterial function and elasticity (23, 24).
Chocolate contains antioxidants called flavanols, which protect the skin from sun damage. However, the amount of flavanols varies significantly among different types of chocolate (25).
One study showed that high-flavanol dark chocolate doubled the amount of time people could stay in the sun before turning red. This didn’t occur in people who ate chocolate with less flavanols (26).
In other studies comparing high-flavanol and low-flavanol cocoa on skin function, people in the high-flavanol groups experienced better blood flow to the skin and improvements in thickness, hydration and smoothness (27, 28).
Remember, the higher the cocoa content, the higher the flavanol content. So make sure to choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids.
BOTTOM LINE:Dark chocolate with a high flavanol content may protect against sun damage. It may also improve skin hydration, thickness and smoothness.
Vegetables are extremely nutrient-dense and very low in calories.
They contain antioxidants that help reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts and cancer (29, 30, 31).
Many vegetables are also high in carotenoids like beta carotene. These can protect against sun radiation and free radicals, both of which can lead to skin aging (32, 33).
Some of the best sources of beta carotene are carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
Many vegetables are also rich in vitamin C, which is important for collagen production and has strong antioxidant effects.
In one study, when people were given 180 mg of vitamin C daily for 4 weeks, their skin’s antioxidant activity increased by 37% (34).
Vegetables with the highest vitamin C content include leafy greens, bell peppers, tomatoes and broccoli.
In another study, researchers measured elasticity and other skin qualities in more than 700 Japanese women. They found that those who ate more green and yellow vegetables had fewer wrinkles (6).
BOTTOM LINE:Vegetables provide sun protection and may prevent free radical damage to skin. This is largely due to their strong antioxidant effects.
Flaxseeds have amazing health benefits.
They contain lignans, which can lower cholesterol, reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, while decreasing the risk of breast and prostate cancer (35, 36, 37, 38).
They are also a great source of an omega-3 fatty acid called ALA, which protects your skin from sun radiation and may reduce sun-related skin damage (39, 40).
In controlled studies, women who consumed flaxseeds or flax oil for 12 weeks showed improved hydration and smoother skin (41, 42).
BOTTOM LINE:Flaxseeds may protect skin from sun damage and improve smoothness, among other measures of skin quality.
Pomegranates are one of the healthiest fruits.
Their antioxidant activity appears to be even higher than that of green tea (43).
Pomegranates decrease inflammation, help prevent damage from high blood sugar levels and may improve outcomes in patients with colon cancer (44, 45, 46).
They also help protect the skin from sun damage (47, 48).
What’s more, researchers suggest that different parts of the pomegranate may work together to repair damaged skin and increase collagen production (49).
BOTTOM LINE:Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants that provide sun protection and may help repair existing skin damage.
Avocados are rich in heart-healthy fat, fiber and several vitamins and minerals that are essential for health (50).
They also taste delicious and are extremely versatile.
Furthermore, avocados contain unique compounds called polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols. These can fight inflammation, protect your skin from the sun and help repair damaged DNA (51).
Their high content of monounsaturated fat and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin provides additional skin and DNA protection (6, 52).
BOTTOM LINE:Avocados prevent sun-related skin damage and may also help protect the DNA in your skin cells.
Tomatoes provide many impressive health benefits, several of which can be attributed to their high lycopene content.
Lycopene is a type of carotenoid that reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke and prostate cancer (53, 54, 55).
Studies show that it may also protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun (56, 57, 58).
In one study, women who ate a mixture of foods high in lycopene and other plant antioxidants had a measurable decrease in wrinkle depth after 15 weeks (59).
Cooking tomatoes with healthy fats, such as olive oil, significantly boosts the absorption of lycopene into the body (60).
BOTTOM LINE:Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which protects skin from sun damage and may help reduce wrinkles.
Spices do more than just add flavor to your food. They also contain various plant compounds that may have beneficial effects on your health (61).
Interestingly, research suggests some spices may even help your skin look younger.
Cinnamon has been shown to increase collagen production, which may lead to increased skin firmness and elasticity (62).
It may also reduce the skin damage that occurs as a result of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which are formed when blood sugar levels are high (63).
Additionally, research suggests that capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers, may reduce some of the age-related changes that occur in skin cells (64).
Furthermore, ginger contains gingerol. This compound has anti-inflammatory effects that may help prevent the age spots that develop due to sun exposure (65).
BOTTOM LINE:Certain spices contain plant compounds that boost collagen production, protect cells from high blood sugar levels and help prevent sun damage.
11. Bone Broth
Bone broth has recently become very popular among health-conscious people.
It’s made by cooking bones from meat, poultry or fish for an extended period of time. This releases minerals and other beneficial components.
One of these components is collagen, which has been credited with beneficial effects on muscle and bone health (66, 67, 68).
Although there is no published research on bone broth itself, there’s evidence suggesting that the collagen in it may help reduce signs of aging.
When cooked, collagen breaks down into gelatin, which is rich in the amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Your body can absorb these amino acids and use them to form new collagen in your skin (69).
Controlled studies have shown that consuming collagen may improve skin elasticity, moisture and firmness, while reducing wrinkles (70, 71, 72).
In one study, wrinkle depth was significantly reduced in postmenopausal women who took a collagen supplement along with other skin-supporting nutrients like vitamins C and E for 12 weeks (72).
BOTTOM LINE:Bone broth’s high collagen content may improve skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Take Home Message
Unfortunately, there’s no way to actually turn back the clock.
However, the foods on this list can improve the function of your skin and help you look younger.
They will also help you remain healthier and younger looking as you age
10 Ways to Slow Aging Naturally
When it comes to aging, wrinkled, and sagging skin, we tend to think of slathering our skin with the latest beauty product to reduce lines and imperfections.
There’s a good chance we also spend money on expensive surgeries and treatments to take the years off our face.
Truth is, aging is more than just skin deep. From inflammation to stress to a diet lacking in nutrients, this can all affect aging and in turn, show up on our skin in the form of wrinkles, dullness, dryness and sagging skin.
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There are many elements that help to slow the aging process. From diet and exercise, to reducing stress and of course choosing the right beauty care products; you can take years off your skin naturally and without a hefty price tag. Below, are 10 ways to slow the aging process naturally.
1. Ditch The Sugar
We are well aware of the detrimental effect sugar can have on our health and in spiking our blood sugar levels, but it can also dramatically age our skin and steal away our youthfulness. Excess sugar, mainly glucose and fructose, like to team up with collagen and elastin, two skin protective proteins, and dehydrate them. This process is called advanced glycation end product, AGE for short. How fitting, right?
Due to glycation, your skin loses its elasticity and starts to look dull and less vibrant. Those individuals who have a history of high blood sugar levels or are pre-diabetic, tend to have far higher levels of sugar bound to protein in the skin and in turn, age faster.
2. Go Gluten-Free
This is really for the same reason as above. Unfortunately, due to the hybridization of modern wheat, 2 slices of whole wheat bread can spike blood sugar levels more than 2 tablespoons of pure sugar can.
So, you guessed it! Glycation occurs simply by eating glutinous grains and breads. Gluten has also been shown to affect mineral absorption and assimilation in the gut, leaching vital minerals and nutrients that help to support the health of our skin.
Going gluten free has its many benefits, however, the downfall lies in the many starches, fillers and added sugars in many gluten free brands. Be cautious when purchasing gluten free products and become a label detective. If you see potato starch, rice starch, cornstarch or tapioca starch making up the bulk of ingredients, all you’re really doing is replacing gluten with other starches. My suggestion is, opt for naturally gluten free foods, such as rice or quinoa or ditch the breads and pasta all together – and eat more veggies!
3. Drink More Water
Chronic dehydration is a common culprit of aging skin. From lubricating our joints to helping flush toxins from our body, water is important for so many reasons. Water helps to restore elasticity to the skin and hydrates us on a cellular level, which helps to plump up our skin and add a more youthful glow.
Based on activity levels and lifestyle, everyone’s water requirements are different. As a general rule, approximately 2L of water a day is sufficient to help keep your youthful glow, support bowel health and assist in daily detoxification.
4. Reduce Stress
Chronically high levels of cortisol, your stress hormone, leads to many harmful and potentially life-threatening diseases. From heart disease to asthma, diabetes, obesity and gastrointestinal problems, chronic stress is literally taking the years off your life and adding many wrinkles to your skin.
High cortisol levels robs your body of essential minerals, such as vitamin B5, B6 and vitamin C, which are all important for immune health, stress reduction and for healthy glowing skin.
Make it a point to reduce stress by practicing deep breathing exercises, meditating, attending a yoga class, taking a walk outside or enjoying a hot bath before bed. Even a quick 5-minute workout can give you that cathartic release you need. It is vital to take time in your day for yourself, which in turn will lead to greater mental and emotional health and a more youthful glow.
5. Load Up On Antioxidants
We are exposed to numerous toxins and chemicals on a daily basis, all of which create free radical damage in our cells. Our own metabolic process can create free radical damage as well. Add to this a poor diet, stress, inactivity and inflammation, and you’ve got a cascade of free radical damage scouring around your body, leaching vital minerals and causing premature aging.
In order to combat free radical damage, we need antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene. These work to fight free radical damage, repair cells and stop the free radical cascade from affecting more cells and creating more damage. ??Vitamin C is critical for maintaining healthy and resilient skin. As we age, our skin loses more and more vitamin C, which can contribute to age spots and more wrinkles. Vitamin C helps with the formation of collagen, which helps to give your skin more elasticity.
In order to combat free radical damage, we need antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene.
In fact, there are hundreds of antioxidants that help to prevent aging and cellular damage. In order to load up on these beautifying nutrients, it’s important to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet to ensure you are providing your body with an array of antioxidants and skin beauty nutrients.
6. Eat More Protein
Protein helps to slow insulin levels, which you want to keep in balance to avoid experiencing blood sugar highs and lows, weight gain and increase your risk of disease. Eating protein helps promotes stable blood sugar levels, which reduces stress on your body and keeps cortisol levels in check. Protein is also essential for helping to repair tissue as well as construct new tissue.
In fact, collagen, which is one of the most valuable proteins in our body, helps to strengthen our skin, hair and nails. With adequate protein intake, you will reduce sagging skin, prevent premature aging and support health overall.
If you’re looking for a tasty, protein-packed recipe, check out this Portbello Breakfast Bake (pictured above). You’re welcome.
7. Lift More Weights
From optimal hormonal balance, to strong and sexy lean muscles, weight lifting is essential for bone health and maintaining a healthy weight. For tighter and firmer skin, weight lifting is one of the best exercises I recommend. Plus, having lean muscle mass means you burn calories more efficiently, you support healthy blood glucose levels, manage blood pressure and reverse oxidative stress, all of which can lead to premature aging if mismanaged.
8. Use Natural Beauty Care
As with anything we put on our skin, we absorb it into our blood stream and in turn have to eliminate it. From parabens to preservatives and toxic chemicals found in many beauty care products, not only are we increasing our toxic load, but also aging our skin at a faster rate.
Make sure your beauty products contain natural, safe ingredients. Often, DIY skincare is cheaper and better for you.
Although many beauty products contain the promise of less wrinkles and a more youthful glow, they in turn damage our gentle skin causing it to be more susceptible to infection, dryness and inflammation, while increasing the risks of imbalanced skin (either oily or dry), wrinkles, acne, and other skin conditions. Unfortunately, many store-bought brands contain the very ingredients that ruin and destroy our skin in the first place, leading to premature aging and more wrinkles.
Make sure your beauty products contain natural, safe ingredients. Often, DIY skincare is cheaper and better for you, such as these homemade makeup removers made from jojoba carrot seed oil and cucumber.
9. Get More Sleep
We all know that feeling of not getting a good night’s sleep. Of course fatigue will set in, but what’s worse is the hormonal cascade and imbalance that results from less sleep. Just one hour less of sleep per night can increase cortisol levels ten-fold, which can lead to oxidative stress and imbalanced blood sugar levels, all of which will rob you of your youthful glow.
During sleep, our body works hard to repair and regenerate and rid itself of toxins, which we excrete upon our morning visit to the bathroom. Less sleep will result in less repair and also affect our body’s ability to produce human growth hormone, which is the king of all anti-aging hormones. Puffy eyes and wrinkles will also result from less sleep, so make it a point to get to bed at the same time every night and create a nighttime ritual to help your body unwind and de-stress.
10. Eat More Fat
Essential fatty acids such as omega 3s are important for heart health, hormone health and for combating inflammation. Having these 3 things in check will slow the aging process and prevent disease. Healthy fats, which you can obtain from avocadoes, fish, walnuts, coconut oil and olive oil, help to lubricate the skin internally, leading to more vibrant, radiant skin as well as protecting the skin from oxidative damage.
Following these simple and effective tips will not only prevent wrinkles and fine lines, but protect your health overall, while also adding years to your life.