While no one food will reverse the signs of aging, eating a whole foods diet, high in fruits and veggies, whole grains, and good fats can all help to reduce inflammation in our body, increase blood flow, and brighten our skin.
Purple & Blue Foods:
Purple and blue fruits and veggies like blueberries, eggplant, purple grapes, and purple cabbage, are all high in something called “anthocyanins .” Anthocyanins are antioxidants that give these fruits and veggies their beautiful colour (they’re technically pigments). The reason these purple and blue foods are excellent for anti-aging, is because anthocyanins are potent anti-inflammatories—meaning they neutralize inflammation in the body, and chronic inflammation is associated with faster aging.
Foods high in beta-carotene like carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and spinach contain antioxidants that prevent free radicals from breaking down collagen in our skin. They also lessen our sensitivity to the sun. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body, and both beta-carotene and vitamin A are important for cell and tissue growth, which helps to keep our skin firm and healthy.
Broccoli, pomegranate, lemons, limes, and watermelon all contain vitamin C. Vitamin C helps our body make collagen and reduces inflammation. Collagen is the glue that holds everything together—it helps build the matrix that holds our skin together. Pomegranates, in particular, contain a compound called “punicalagins (pronounced: pewnacaligins),” which help to keep collagen in the skin, slowing the signs of aging.
Leafy greens are loaded with nutrients, but watercress in particular increases circulation to the skin because it contains 2 compounds—vitamin C and ITC, that help to STOP and prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin. You can toss it into salads, eat it on its own or sautee it with other greens.
Keeping our blood sugar balanced is important for many things like weight management and brain health. But it’s also important for preventing premature aging. Studies show high-glycemic foods, like white bread and refined carbs, can trigger acne and cause wrinkles . Eating a diet that includes low GI foods like oats, chickpeas, lentils, apples and broccoli, won’t spike your blood sugar like the white stuff will. So you want to aim to eat more foods that have a glycemic index of 1-55. To put this number into perspective, white bread has a GI of 100 and broccoli has a GI of 10.
We’ve heard good fats are important for our heart and brain, but they’re also good for our skin because they hydrate us from the inside out. Some experts believe that starving our skin of fat is the fastest way to losing our youthful glow. Our cell membranes are mostly made of fat, so when we don’t eat enough good fats, they become weak and they can’t stay plump and hydrated. Good fats like olive oil, sunflower seeds, and coconut oil are good choices, as well as avocado, salmon, and chia seeds are great too because they contain omega 3’s. Palm oil has high concentration of tocopherols and tocotrienols (which are types of vitamin E) and carotenoids that help repair skin tissue and protect the skin from UV damage. There was just a big study with 577 people that showed that palm oil can help balance blood sugar levels when eaten with low GI foods, which makes it an anti-aging food ingredient.
The bottom line:
You want to stay away from foods that are pro-inflammatory, meaning they cause inflammation in the body like: refined carbohydrates, sugar, and trans fats all increase inflammation, and ultimately make us age faster.
Join the conversation