When we pack our diet with vibrant foods loaded with antioxidants, healthy fats, water, and essential nutrients, our body will show its appreciation through its largest organ: our skin. After all, the skin is often the first part of our body to show internal trouble, and there’s only so much that lotions, creams, masks, and serums can do before we need to take a closer look at what’s fueling us.
Researchers have even concluded that eating fruits and veggies is the safest and healthiest way to combat dull complexions and fine lines. Ready to glow? Here are 10 of the best anti-aging foods to nourish your body for a glow that comes from within.
The health benefits of watercress don’t disappoint! This nutrient-dense hydrating leafy green is a great source of:
- vitamins A, C, K, B-1, and B-2
Watercress acts as an internal skin antiseptic and increases the circulation and delivery of minerals to all cells of the body, resulting in enhanced oxygenation of the skin. Packed with vitamins A and C, the antioxidants in watercress may neutralize harmful free radicals, helping to keep fine lines and wrinkles away.
To try: Add a handful of this flavorful green to your salad today for glowing skin and overall improved health!
Other youthful benefits This delicious green may also boost immunity (as seen in trouts), aid digestion (in one cell study), and provide thyroid support due to its iodine content.
2. Red bell pepper
Red bell peppers are loaded with antioxidants which reign supreme when it comes to anti-aging. In addition to their high content of vitamin C — which is good for collagen production — red bell peppers contain powerful antioxidants called carotenoids.
Carotenoids are plant pigments responsible for the bright red, yellow, and orange colors you see in many fruits and vegetables. They have a variety of anti-inflammatory properties and may help protect skin from sun damage, pollution, and environmental toxins.
To try: Slice bell peppers and dip them in hummus as a snack, add them into a raw salad, or cook them up in a stir-fry.
This delicious superfood is rich in a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that may help to improve skin elasticity and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. These include:
- vitamins A, C, K, and E
- B vitamins
The wide range of antioxidants in papaya helps to fight free radical damage and may delay signs of aging. Papaya also contains an enzyme called papain, which provides additional anti-aging benefits by working as one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory agents. It’s also found in many exfoliating products.
So yes, eating papaya (or using products containing papain) may help your body shed dead skin cells, leaving you with glowing, vibrant skin!
To try: Drizzle fresh lime juice over a big plate of papaya as part of your breakfast or make a papaya mask at home for your next night in!
Blueberries are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as an age-defying antioxidant called anthocyanin. This is what gives blueberries their deep, beautiful blue color.
To try: Throw this delicious, low-sugar fruit into a morning smoothie or fruit bowl, and let it provide a beautifying punch!
Broccoli is an anti-inflammatory, anti-aging powerhouse packed with:
- vitamins C and K
- a variety of antioxidants
Your body needs vitamin C for the production of collagen, the main protein in skin that gives it strength and elasticity.
To try: You can eat broccoli raw for a quick snack, but if you have the time, gently steam before eating. From charred bites to pesto sauces, cooking broccoli actually helps release more health benefits for your body.
Other youthful benefits The nutrient lutein, has been linked to the preservation of the brain’s memory function, as well as vitamin K and calcium (which are essential for bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis). Is there anything this anti-aging cruciferous veggie can’t do?
Spinach is super hydrating and packed with antioxidants that help to oxygenate and replenish the entire body. It’s also rich in:
- vitamins A, C, E, and K
- plant-based heme iron
This versatile leafy green’s high vitamin C content enhances collagen production to keep skin firm and smooth. But that’s not all. The vitamin A it provides may promote strong, shiny hair, while vitamin K has been shown to help reduce inflammation in cells.
To try: Add handfuls of spinach to a smoothie, salad, or sauté. More ideas? Check out our favorite spinach recipes, including spinach chips and cheesy burgers.
Many nuts (especially almonds) are a great source of vitamin E, which may help repair skin tissue, retain skin moisture, and protect skin from damaging UV rays. Walnuts even contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids that may help:
- strengthen skin cell membranes
- protect against sun damage
- give skin a beautiful glow by preserving its natural oil barrier
To try: Sprinkle a mix of nuts on top of your salads, or eat a handful as a snack. Don’t remove the skin, either, as studies show that 50 percent or more of the antioxidants are lost without the skin.
Eating nuts is linked to: • reduced risk for heart disease (walnuts) and type 2 diabetes (pistachios)
•potential prevention of cognitive decline in older adults (almonds)
- vitamins K, C, E, and A
- B vitamins
The high content of vitamin A in avocados can help us shed dead skin cells, leaving us with gorgeous, glowing skin. Their carotenoid content may also assist in blocking toxins and damage from the sun’s rays and also help to protect against skin cancers.
To try: Throw some avocado into a salad, smoothie, or just eat it with a spoon. Just when you thought you’ve tried all the ways to eat an avocado, we’ve got 23 more. You can also try it topically as an incredible moisturizing mask to fight inflammation, reduce redness, and help prevent wrinkles!
9. Sweet potatoes
The orange color of the sweet potato comes from an antioxidant called beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A may help restore skin elasticity, promote skin cell turnover, and ultimately contribute to soft, youthful-looking skin.
This delicious root vegetable is also a great source of vitamins C and E — both of which may protect our skin from harmful free radicals and keep our complexion radiant.
To try: Whip up one of these sweet potato toast recipes that will up your breakfast or snack game like no other. Thanksgiving isn’t the only time to add this veggie to your diet!
10. Pomegranate seeds
Pomegranates have been used for centuries as a healing medicinal fruit. High in vitamin C and a variety of potent antioxidants, pomegranates may protect our body from free radical damage and reduce levels of inflammation in our system.
These healthy fruits also contain a compound called punicalagins, which may help to preserve collagen in the skin, slowing signs of aging.
To try: Sprinkle these sweet little jewels onto a baby spinach walnut salad for an anti-aging treat!
Other youthful benefits Research has also shown that a compound called urolithin A, which is produced when pomegranates interact with gut bacteria, may rejuvenate mitochondria. It was even seen to reverse muscle aging in rat studies.
Flood your body with powerful nutrients
By nourishing ourselves with these anti-aging foods, we can gain fuel to look and feel our best.
If you’re looking for more delicious plants to try, choose fruits and vegetables deep in color. The rich shades are usually a sign of stronger radical fighting abilities to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. The more colors you can fit on your plate, the better.
It’s time to slow down signs of aging and truly glow from within!
Nathalie is a registered dietitian and functional medicine nutritionist with a BA in Psychology from Cornell University and a MS in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She’s the founder of Nutrition by Nathalie LLC, a private nutrition practice in New York City focusing on health and wellness using an integrative approach, and All Good Eats, a social media health and wellness brand. When she isn’t working with her clients or on media projects, you can find her traveling with her husband and mini-Aussie, Brady.