Aging is a natural part of life that can’t be avoided. However, there are foods that can help you look younger, inside and out. While we all feel the same dread of looking in the mirror on an important day to see an oldie glaring right back at us, there is a difference between the people who know how to fix this problem and those who just let it slide. The secret fix? Adjusting your diet.
“A diet focused on high-quality lean proteins, fiber, healthy oils, raw fruits and vegetables, and spices is best for supporting healthy skin and looking younger,” Paula Simpson, nutritionist, and cofounder of ZSS tell Allure. “These foods tend to contain high-quality amino acids—the building blocks for firm skin—plus anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich ingredients that promote optimal skin metabolism and defense against environmental stressors.”
So, here are the 11 best foods that will make you look younger which should be complemented or supplemented by a healthy and balanced diet;
1. Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the healthiest fats on earth.
Among cooking oils, olive oil may be the most healthful choice for the skin. When it’s part of a regular diet, olive oil is known to help curb inflammation. This may be because of the antioxidants in olive oil, some of which are being studied for use in products to curb eczema and psoriasis.
Research has shown that it may help prevent many common diseases associated with aging. Additionally, two studies that looked at food records and questionnaires completed by middle-aged and older adults reported that those with the highest intake of monounsaturated fat from olive oil were least likely to have severe sun damage.
2. Green Tea
For smoother skin, try swapping a cup of coffee for green tea. Green tea is packed with polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in tea leaves. Polyphenols help to lower the amount of sebum (oil) your body makes, and some evidence shows this makes green tea a good option to treat acne.
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.
3. Fatty Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to help keep skin thick, supple, and moisturized. Authors of a study from 2016 found “considerable evidence rested Source” that omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers, especially in people who have the highest risks.
4. Dark Chocolate
The antioxidant profile of dark chocolate is second to none. It is even more powerful than acai berries, blueberries, and cranberries . Chocolate contains antioxidants called flavanols, which protect the skin from sun damage.
Authors of a review trusted Source from 2014 note that cacao which is found in chocolate is rich in antioxidants and minerals that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. They also explored the use of chocolate in the prevention and treatment of skin issues, including acne and psoriasis.
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.
Remember, the higher the cocoa content, the higher the flavanol content. So, make sure to choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids.
READ ALSO: 37 Foods That Will Make Your Skin Glow
Vegetables are extremely nutrient-dense and very low in calories. They contain antioxidants that help reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts, and cancer. 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.
Additionally, some of the best sources of beta carotene are carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes. Vegetables like leafy greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli are rich in vitamin C, which is important for collagen production and has 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.
They can also lessen wrinkles in your skin and improve dry skin. Flaxseed oil, which is made from pressed flaxseeds, is known to make skin smoother and to appear less scaly. Grinding fresh flaxseeds into a smoothie or onto a salad can be a simple way to add more omega-3 fats to the diet and keep the skin looking young.
Pomegranates are one of the healthiest fruits. They decrease inflammation, help to prevent damage from high blood sugar levels, and may improve outcomes in patients with colon cancer.
Pomegranate seeds also have a decent amount of fiber, making them a satiating way to sprinkle some color onto your salads and side dishes. More so, researchers suggest that different parts of the pomegranate may work together to repair damaged skin and increase collagen production.
Avocados are rich in heart-healthy fat, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals that are essential for health. They also taste delicious and are extremely versatile. Their high content of monounsaturated fat provides additional skin and DNA protection
They are good sources of vitamins C and E, which are two of the many antioxidants that help protect cells from damage. Preliminary evidence also shows that avocados also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help improve skin tone and protect the skin from both UV and visible radiation damage. More so, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, which helps your body absorb certain vitamins, including A, D, E, and K.
Furthermore, avocados contain unique compounds called polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols. These can fight inflammation, protect your skin from the sun, and help repair damaged DNA.
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.
Tomatoes are also a great source of vitamin C and contain all of the other major carotenoids which makes them an excellent food for maintaining healthy skin. So, consider pairing carotenoid-rich foods like tomatoes with a source of fat, such as cheese or olive oil. Fat increases your absorption of carotenoids.
Cooking tomatoes with healthy fats, such as olive oil, significantly boosts the absorption of lycopene into the body.
Spices do more than just add flavor to your food. They also contain various plant compounds that may have beneficial effects on your health.
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.
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.
Additionally, research suggests that capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers, may reduce some of the age-related changes that occur in skin cells.
Furthermore, ginger contains gingerol. This compound has anti-inflammatory effects that may help prevent the age spots that develop due to sun exposure.
Water supports the functioning of every system in the body, and it benefits the body in many ways. For example, staying hydrated protects skin cells from damage, including that caused by environmental factors. Also, hydration makes it easier for skin cells to absorb nutrients and release toxins.
Drinking more water is the simplest and speediest way to boost your glow and keep your skin functioning at its best. Try adding fresh citrus or berries to liven up plain sparkling or still water. How much you need to drink varies depending on the person, but I’d make two liters (about eight cups) your minimum. You’ll need more if you exercise vigorously or generally sweat a lot!
Good nutrition helps take care of the body from the inside out. But there’s more to great skin than what you eat. Make sure you also get a full night’s sleep, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, stay physically active, manage stress, avoid harmful substances like strong soaps, tanning beds, harsh chemicals through creams, and finally, don’t smoke. These healthy lifestyle habits will get, and keep, your skin glowing. And if you have a specific skin problem or concern, see a dermatologist.