Shhh! 7 Secrets of Anti-Aging
You've been taking good care of yourself, exercising, eating well, incorporating more plant-based foods and feeling pretty good. Then you catch a glimpse in the mirror and see some wrinkles you didn't notice before and gasp in horror — like all of us do. Whole, plant-based foods are nutritional powerhouses, but are they powerful enough to slow the hands of time? Keep father time off your back and get your glow on with these 7 anti-aging foods for your skin.
Good nutrition is the foundation for health, including the health of your skin. The natural ingredients found in whole foods can help with everything from protecting your skin from damage caused by UV rays to increasing cell turnover. The recipe for healthy skin starts with a little protein, stir in some heart healthy fats, add a whole heap of fruits and vegetables with a pinch of super powered super foods, and your skin won't be the only thing singing your diet's praises. These foods do double (and triple) duty fighting disease and improving overall wellness. Now get glowing and add these anti-aging foods to your shopping list:
Just one cup of these lush red berries has 130% of your daily needs for vitamin C, the skin powerhouse that supports the production (and protection) of collagen fibers that help keep skin firm and smooth. This is probably why, according to research, women with lower vitamin C intake were found more likely to have wrinkled, dry skin1. As an added bonus, strawberries are a rich source of the antioxidant ellagic acid, which helps protect the fibers that keep skin from sagging2.
- Romaine lettuce
Just six leaves of romaine lettuce will give you your daily dose of Vitamin A, which helps increase cell turnover, rejuvenating skin3. Other dark leafy greens like spinach and kale can also provide antioxidants and vitamin A.
Inside the peels of a few varieties of apples lies an abundance of quercitin — an antioxidant that helps protect skin from the burning UV rays of the sun that contribute to skin cancer4. Quercitin-rich apple varieties include Golden Delicious, Cortland, and Monroe.
Not only do tomatoes help protect skin from sunburn thanks to the antioxidant lycopene, researchers have found that higher concentrations of lycopene found in the skin are correlated to fewer fine lines5
Warehouses of alpha-linoleic acid and plant-based protein, walnuts provide the omega-3 fatty acid that's a critical component of your skin's lubricating layer responsible for keeping skin supple and moist6.
Dark chocolate not only helps protect your skin from UV exposure, but can also increase circulation in the skin and improve its ability to retain moisture7.
One of the oldest forms of plant life on earth, chlorella is a unicellular, microscopic, fresh-water green algae, power-packed with nutrition. Chlorella is 68% complete protein, and contains rich stores of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF). Chlorella is rich in Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and lutein, all of which support healthy skin.
One more anti-aging super hero you should know about is Green Tea. Although not a food, green tea has remained popular in research for its many health benefits. Studies have found that green tea may slow the aging process both inside and out by protecting DNA strands8.
1Cogrove, Maeve, Franco, Oscar H, Granger, Stewart P, Murray, Peter G, Mayes, Andrew E. "Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. October 2007 vol. 86 no. 4 1225-1231
2Ji-Young Bae, et al. " Dietary compound ellagic acid alleviates skin wrinkle and inflammation induced by UV-B irradiation." Experimental Dermatology. 2010; 19: e182–e190.
3Shils, Maurice Edwards. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10e. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. P 351.
4Solovchenko A and Schmitz-Eiberger M. Significance of skin flavonoids for UV-B-protection in apple fruits. J. Exp. Bot., Aug 2003; 54: 1977 - 1984. 2003
5M. Darvin et al., "Cutaneous concentration of lycopene correlates significantly." European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. (2008), doi:10.1016/j.ejpb.2008.01.034
6Boelsma E, Hendriks HF. Roza L. Nutritional skin care: health effects of micronutrients and fatty acids. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2001;73(5):853-864.
7Williams, S., Tamburic, S. and Lally, C. (2009), Eating chocolate can significantly protect the skin from UV light. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 8: 169–173. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2009.00448.x
8. Chan R, Woo J, Suen E, Leung J, Tang N. Chinese tea consumption is associated with longer telomere length in elderly Chinese men. Journal of Nutrition, May 2001. 131(5):1449-1451.Br J Nutr. 2010 Jan;103(1):107-13. Epub 2009 Aug 12