No matter how potent they may be, luxe moisturizers and anti-aging serums can only do so much. Youthful skin begins within, and the lifestyle choices we make—including what foods we eat (and don’t eat), how much exercise and sleep we commit to, and the extent to which we embrace sunscreen—have tremendous impact on the way that we age. Diet is especially key, says wellness expert, and author of Glow 15 and High Fiber Keto, Naomi Whittel. “It’s so important to consider food as part of our anti-aging arsenal because food nourishes every cell in our body. When your body is nourished, it can do exactly what it is capable of. It can anti-age itself, it just needs to be activated. Science shows us that food does this.” Proper nutrition can support collagen synthesis to fight wrinkles and keep the complexion plump, promote hydration retention for a dewy glow, and encourage elasticity, in addition to promoting overall vitality and mental acuity. Here, five of the best powerhouse anti-aging foods to add to your menu.
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A spiky artichoke may not be the first snack you think to reach for when seeking a health boost, but these thistle-family wonders offer a host of whole-body benefits. “They’re rich in soluble fiber, specifically inulin, a powerful prebiotic that is the absolute favorite food of your gut microbiome,” says Whittel. “Eighty percent of our immune system lives in our gut, so eating artichokes can boost your immunity, metabolism and mood. They are also a good source of key nutrients, including ‘electrolyte’ minerals (sodium, potassium, magnesium) and they are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, supporting collagen development and overall anti-aging.”
Avocado toast is a health food. “Rich in the antioxidant vitamin E, avocados have been shown to reduce damage from UV rays and make skin more resilient,” says Whittel. “This high-fat fruit lowers LDL, raises HDL, and reduces triglycerides. In fact, regular avocado consumption may make you 50 percent less likely to develop metabolic syndrome.” Drizzling avocado oil on salads—or swapping it in occasionally in place of olive oil—is another smart strategy: “It’s revered for improving cardiovascular health, weight management, and blood glucose control, and it’s overflowing in oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid shown to reduce inflammation and lower your risk of breast cancer,” says Whittel.
3 Wild Alaskan Salmon
Nicholas Perricone, MD, first published his famous anti-inflammatory diet, which recommended eating salmon twice a day, back in the 1990s. It remains sage advice. “Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation, prevent dry skin, and ward off skin cancer,” says Whittel. “It also contains plenty of vitamin E, which may act as a protectant against photoaging, the premature aging of skin caused by UV rays.” The benefits of incorporating salmon into your diet will go beyond radiant skin. “With negligible carbs and an abundance of B vitamins, potassium, and selenium, this strong swimmer contains astaxanthin, a compound shown to reduce joint pain and improve muscle recovery, which are both very important in the anti-aging process,” says Whittel.
“Besides being one of the best foods to eat for reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, this water-rich cruciferous vegetable is loaded with sulforaphane, a potent phytochemical that activates your detox process, cleaning up old cells and helping your body to behave like it did when it was younger,” says Whittel. Broccoli also contains significant levels of lutein, a carotenoid that protects the eyes and enhances brain function.
The more colorful your fruit bowl, the better. “All berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) offer plenty of fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants to help regenerate your youth,” says Whittel. “Each type of berry features different polyphenols, such as anthocyanins in blueberries, which may improve cardiovascular health, and ellagic acid in raspberries, a phenol that may bind to certain chemicals responsible for cancer.” Plus, berries are bountiful with Vitamin C, which has been proven to promote and preserve collagen in skin.
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