The foods we consume can have a significant impact on our health, appearance, quality of life, and risk of disease as we age.
To support our bodies’ natural ageing, we rely on a variety of nutrients. Some nutrients can help to slow down the signs of ageing by promoting healthy, youthful skin.
Nutrition is just one part of ageing well.
You can still feel and look your best by adding foods that are rich in nutrients to your diet as you age. Try to eat the following foods:
- Healthy Sources of Protein
- Healthy fats
- Antioxidants-rich foods
Green Tea contains antioxidants that can fight free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecule by-products of normal cellular functioning. These molecules can also be formed in response to external stressors, like ultraviolet (UV), tobacco smoke or other environmental stresses. If they are present in high concentrations, free radicals can cause damage to your cells.
Antioxidants can help. These molecules prevent free radicals from causing damage by stabilizing them. Antioxidants are usually obtained through food, such as green tea.
Green tea contains a high amount of antioxidants known as polyphenols. It’s exceptionally high in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), catechins, as well as gallic acid.
You may be able to reduce your risk by:
- Heart disease
- neurological decline
- premature aging
- Other chronic diseases
Green tea polyphenols may reduce the external skin ageing caused by environmental stressors like pollution and the sun, as they scavenge free radicals.
Many skin care products include green tea extract because of its antiaging and antioxidant properties. Green tea is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. However, further research is required before it can be recommended as a skin-rejuvenating product.
A diet rich in antioxidants can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote healthier skin. Green tea is an excellent way to add antioxidants to your diet.
Extra virgin olive oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is among the healthiest oils on earth. Rich in antioxidants, it helps reduce inflammation caused by a buildup of free radicals.
Diets rich in olive oils have been associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease, such as:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Certain types of cancer
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are found in about 73% of olive oil. Some studies show that a diet high in MUFAs can help to reduce skin ageing due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Extra virgin olive oils are also rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene and tocopherols. They also contain phenolic compounds, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
One study from 2012 found that those who consumed a diet high in MUFAs (from olive oil) had a reduced risk of skin ageing.
According to the authors, this effect is most likely due to the anti-inflammatory properties found in both MUFAs as well as antioxidants found within olive oil.
Choose cold-pressed extra virgin oil as it is higher in antioxidants and less processed. Add it to salads or dips.
FattyFishh can be a very nutritious food and promotes healthy skin.
Omega-3 fatty acids in long-chain form can help to fight heart disease and inflammation.
Research has also shown that omega-3 fats are associated with a strong barrier on the skin and can help reduce inflammation.
Salmon is a popular type of fatty fish that has many additional benefits for your skin.
It contains an antioxidant carotenoid called astaxanthin that is responsible for salmon’s pink colour.
In a study, sun-damaged people consumed a combination of astaxanthin/collagen for 12 weeks.
They experienced significant improvements in the elasticity and moisture of the skin. Although the results are positive, it is not known if they were caused by astaxanthin or collagen.
Salmon and other fatty seafood are rich in proteins. This is essential to consume so that your body can produce collagen. These molecules are responsible for the skin’s strength and plumpness. Consuming protein can also help to heal wounds.
Fish is also high in selenium. This antioxidant and mineral plays a crucial role in DNA repair and synthesis. It also helps to reduce and prevent UV-induced skin damage. Adequate levels of vitamin D in the body can reduce the severity and frequency of skin conditions like psoriasis.
The majority of vegetables are low in calories and high in nutrients.
These antioxidants help to reduce the risk of heart diseases, cataracts and cancers.
Carotenoids are found in many vegetables, including lycopene and beta-carotene. According to some research, a diet rich in carotenoids can protect skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. These rays are the primary cause of premature ageing.
The best sources of beta-carotene include:
- sweet potatoes
Many vegetables contain vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. Vitamin C is also essential for collagen production. Collagen, a major component of skin, begins to diminish after age 25.
Leafy greens and bell peppers are among the vegetables with the highest levels of vitamin C.
Each colour of vegetable represents a different antioxidant that is beneficial to your skin and can improve overall health.
Always use sunscreen to protect your skin and eat at least 2 vegetables per meal.
Dark Chocolate or cocoa
Dark Chocolate contains polyphenols that act as antioxidants.
It contains flavanols, which have been linked to a number of health benefits such as:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- cognitive decline
A diet high in flavanols and other antioxidants is thought to help protect skin from sun damage as well as slow down skin ageing.
Participants in a high-quality 24-week study who consumed flavanol-rich cocoa beverages experienced significant improvements in their skin’s elasticity and wrinkles when compared to those in the control groups.
Other studies have not found that dark Chocolate has any benefits for skin or ageing.
The higher the cocoa, the more flavanols. If you are looking to add dark Chocolate to your diet, look for a product with at least 70% cacao solids and minimal sugar.
Pomegranates, like most fruits, are packed with nutrients.
High in potassium, fibre and vitamin K, they help maintain a healthy heart. These fruits are also rich in antioxidants such as tannins, flavonols and phenolic acid.
The antioxidants in pomegranates have been shown to reduce UV damage and brown spots on the skin caused by exposure to sunlight.
These antioxidants help to protect and stimulate the production of new collagen in the skin.
Although more research is required, pomegranate juice and seeds can be a fast, healthy source of antioxidants.
Flax seeds offer impressive health benefits.
These contain lignans, which are polyphenols with antioxidant properties and can lower your risk for chronic diseases such as breast cancer and heart disease.
These are a good source of alpha-linolenic (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids helps to maintain a healthy membrane on your skin by keeping it hydrated and plump.
Women who consumed flax seed or flax oil over 12 weeks showed improved skin hydration. Newer research, however, is required.
Avocados contain heart-healthy fats and fibre as well as vitamins and minerals essential to health.
Monounsaturated fatty acids may promote healthy skin by supporting the healthy skin membrane. Their antioxidant content can also fight free radicals, which damage and age skin.
One study, for example, showed that a diet high in plant-based oils was associated with better skin health among older adults.
Avocados are a great way to add extra nutrition to your diet for healthy skin.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It’s especially abundant in the skin and joints.
As we age, the body produces less collagen. This can cause skin signs such as wrinkles or sagging.
This is a normal part of ageing. However, foods that promote collagen synthesis will help you maintain healthy skin for longer. Included in this list are foods high in protein and vitamin C
You can also avoid activities that cause collagen breakdown. Sun tanning, cigarette smoking and other activities that accelerate collagen breakdown can be avoided.
Human studies have also shown that hydrolyzed collapeptides, a minor collagen form that your body can absorb much more effectively, may improve skin elasticity and moisture while reducing wrinkles.
Many studies do not take into consideration other lifestyle factors, including smoking, protein intake, or overall diet. The body can use collagen protein wherever it is needed. This does not guarantee that it will be used for the skin.
Eating a diet high in protein will help you achieve healthy skin. If you want to increase your collagen intake, take a supplement.
Regularly eating healthy foods rich in protein includes:
The high content of lycopene in tomatoes is responsible for many health benefits.
Lycopene, a carotenoid, is what gives tomatoes their colour. It is also an antioxidant that helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Human skin samples have shown that lycopene can also offer a trim level of protection against the sun’s damaging rays. This protection is much lower than that of sunscreen.
Women who consumed an antioxidant-rich drink containing lycopene and soy isoflavones every day, along with fish oil and vitamins C and D, saw a reduction in wrinkle depth within 15 weeks.
The study could not directly link lycopene with these skin benefits because the beverage also contained other ingredients.
When you combine tomatoes with healthy oils such as avocado or olive oil, the absorption of lycopene is significantly increased.
The Bottom Line
The foods you eat may affect the health of the skin and how it changes with age.
Skin benefits are attributed to foods high in antioxidants, healthy fats and protein.
Consider protecting your skin by adopting other habits such as using sunscreen, avoiding tobacco, being physically active and using skin care products.