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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow 30 Best Anti-aging Foods to Keep You Forever Young

30 Best Anti-aging Foods to Keep You Forever Young

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: September 25, 2023
14 min read 532 Views 0 Comments
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We explore which anti-aging foods you should be eating and why.

anti aging foods

As you age, it’s normal to look for ways to keep your joints moving, maintain a healthy brain, and prevent wrinkles. Some people invest thousands of dollars in finding the magic formula for glowing skin, but did you know there’s a much cheaper, more natural solution?

By adding a selection of antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, you can begin to feel healthier, younger, and more energized throughout the day. 

Find out what these foods are and how they can help slow down the aging process for you.

Anti-aging Foods: Top 30 Options for Radiant Skin

Along with an increased risk of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and osteoarthritis, several studies have linked nutrition to declining health in terms of skin aging

Read on to discover some delicious food options that provide proper nutrition and set you up for better health as you mature.

Fruits

#1 Blueberries

Blueberries are known for being packed full of antioxidants that help delay the aging process. These are known as anthocyanins, an antioxidant commonly found in fruits and vegetables that limits cell damage, delays aging, and relieves a variety of age-related diseases.

This fruit also has many benefits for your cognitive health and protects regions in the brain that maintain long-term and spatial memory

#2 Strawberries

Another delicious type of antioxidant-rich berry is strawberries. Specifically, they contain an antioxidant called ellagic acid, which protects the skin against UV damage and prevents wrinkle formation.

Their high vitamin C content also reduces the appearance of dark spots while brightening up dull skin to give it that fresh, radiant, and youthful look.

#3 Pomegranate

As a medicinal fruit and healing agent, pomegranate is commonly used due to its high antioxidant content. 

Studies show that these phytonutrients may reduce oxidative stress on the brain, which boosts memory retention. They also help maintain brain health, protecting against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Pomegranates contain punicalagin, a compound that slows signs of skin aging and protects against wrinkles by preventing collagen breakdown.

#4 Watermelon

There’s nothing better than a big slice of watermelon on a hot summer’s day. This fruit helps you feel refreshed as it is made up of 92% water, which keeps you hydrated while also being essential for maintaining bright and nourished skin. 

Like many of the other anti-aging foods on our list, watermelons are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C. This helps to neutralize age-related oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

One of the most powerful antioxidants it contains is lycopene, which can reduce skin reddening caused by exposure to UV light. Another antioxidant called glutathione fights hyperpigmentation by preventing the production of melanin, which causes dark spots on the skin.

#5 Figs

Rich in essential minerals and plant compounds like polyphenols and flavonoids, figs are another good source of antioxidant compounds found mainly in the skin of the fruit.

As well as the skin, fig seeds provide several anti-aging benefits. They contain healthy omega-3 fats, which reduce inflammation and age-related mental decline. Omega-3s may also improve eye health, which tends to suffer as we age.

Figs are packed full of vitamin K, which contributes to building proteins that are needed to keep your bones healthy. Lack of vitamin K can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and is often developed with age.

#6 Lemon

Lemons and other citrus fruits contain large amounts of vitamin C, an essential nutrient for skin health. A study found that those who got plenty of vitamin C were less likely to have wrinkles and dry skin.

Another study conducted on mice found that those subjects who consumed lemon polyphenols lived for approximately 3 weeks longer than those who didn’t. Their gut microbiomes were also significantly healthier, and levels of bacteria associated with obesity were lower.

These factors are all indications that lemons may have great anti-aging effects.

#7 Avocado

Avocado has gained a strong spot on many brunch menus worldwide, and for good reason. Its natural oils, antioxidants, and fatty acids help nourish and hydrate the skin while fighting the free radicals that cause wrinkles.

The superfood is a great source of vitamin A, which increases sebum production to combat dry, flaky skin. Avocado also boosts the production of collagen, a protein that supports the structure of the skin to improve its elasticity and firmness.

#8 Apples

Apples are rich in antioxidant compounds that protect the skin against the harsh anti-aging effects of harmful free radicals and UV rays. Eating this fruit can also help to repair any skin damage you may have. 

In a 2018 study, researchers tested a variety of flavonoids, compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, to find which was the most effective. 

They found that fisetin, which can be found naturally in fruits such as apples, reduces the levels of damaged cells in mice, helping prolong their lifespan and improve their health.

#9 Pumpkin

Loaded with vitamin C, pumpkins can boost our immune system, which often declines with age. This helps protect against autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammation in the joints, and various types of cancer.

This vibrant orange fruit is loaded with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A for softer, more youthful skin. Vitamin A, or retinol, is the first vitamin to be approved as an anti-wrinkle agent by the Food and Drug Administration.

Vegetables

#10 Beets

High in vitamin C, beets are a great anti-aging treatment for the skin, helping to brighten, protect against wrinkles and prevent dryness.

Beetroot and its juice are also rich in nitrates, which lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to the skin. This ensures that your skin receives all of the vital nutrients it needs to stay looking youthful.

#11 Sweet potatoes

Like pumpkins, the signature orange color of the sweet potato comes from the antioxidant beta-carotene, which prevents wrinkles and leaves skin feeling nourished.

It does this by removing damaged elastin fibers within the skin, promoting the formation of new blood vessels, and improving skin elasticity.

#12 Broccoli

Broccoli contains high amounts of vitamin C, which, like the nutrients within an avocado, help produce the skin-boosting protein collagen. This helps heal tissues that often become damaged with age.

It is also packed with the pigment lutein that helps preserve eye health and the brain’s memory function

#13 Carrots

It’s common knowledge that carrots are great for maintaining sight, but did you know that they can also help prevent wrinkles? This is because they contain carotenoids, an orange pigment that protects against pollutants that damage skin from the outside in. 

In a similar way to pumpkins and sweet potatoes, this pigment also gets converted to vitamin A within the body, which prevents skin damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

#14 Cucumber

Whether eaten in salads, added to a drink, or used as a puffy eye treatment, cucumbers are highly beneficial as an anti-aging vegetable. Like watermelon, cucumbers are made up of mainly water, which helps to keep your skin cool and hydrated.

The vegetable is also packed with silica, a natural substance similar to collagen that helps to fill in fine lines and wrinkles. This helps to maintain the elastin within your skin, which keeps it looking supple and youthful. Cucumbers slow down the breakdown of elastin which happens naturally as we age.

#15 Cabbage

Cabbage is rich in indole-3-carbinol, a plant hormone found in several other vegetables that is effective in reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and high blood pressure

It also helps regulate the production of estrogen, a hormone that can increase the risk of breast, endometrial, and cervical cancers for older women when levels are not balanced.

#16 Spinach

Spinach is a versatile leafy green that helps to reduce inflammation in the body, thanks to its high vitamin K content. It is also a great source of fiber, which is vital for maintaining good heart and gut health as we get older.

Like broccoli, spinach is packed full of the pigment lutein that boosts eye health, along with folic acid. Having a deficiency of this vitamin has been shown to cause symptoms such as depression, cognitive decline, and even Alzheimer’s disease in older people.

#17 Brussels sprouts

Cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts contain an organic compound called sulforaphane, which has some incredible anti-aging effects. 

As well as decreasing inflammation, sulforaphane has also been shown to prevent neurodegeneration, lower blood pressure, and fight cancer.

Like other cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and cabbage, sprouts are loaded with vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and fiber to keep your body working effectively as you age.

Herbs and spices

#18 Cinnamon

Not only is cinnamon a delicious flavor enhancer, but it is also a great natural source of antioxidants that fight age-related inflammation.

These antioxidants are polyphenols, plant compounds such as cinnamic acid and cinnamaldehyde that may prevent diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

#19 Turmeric

Known as the golden spice, turmeric is effective in suppressing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals that lead to cellular damage and age-related decline.

Turmeric is often used to combat skin conditions like acne, alopecia, and psoriasis, as well as being used in anti-aging cosmetics to prevent wrinkles and provide a glow to dull skin. 

The source may also protect against aging of the brain and joints and the development of neurodegenerative diseases caused by oxidative stress.

#20 Garlic

Garlic contains sulfur, an element that helps the body produce collagen to keep your skin supple and smooth. This also helps prevent wrinkles.

Similarly to many other herbs and spices, garlic has impressive antioxidant characteristics that studies show combat aging-associated ailments like heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and cataracts. 

The same study suggests that it can also boost energy levels, improve blood circulation, and help rejuvenate your skin.

#21 Parsley

If you’re looking to increase your vitamin C intake, you may want to start adding parsley to your favorite dishes. Parsley contains more than 4 times the amount of vitamin C than what is present in oranges, which helps slow down the signs of aging by fighting free radicals.

This reduces wrinkles and fine lines while helping repair the cells and stimulate collagen production. Eating parsley, therefore, ensures that your skin stays supple, elastic, and youthful for many years to come.

Drinks

#22 Coconut water

Coconut water contains electrolytes that ensure you remain hydrated after sweating. When your skin is dehydrated, it can appear dry, flaky, and dull.

A 2015 study found that drinking coconut water may boost antioxidant systems, helping to neutralize free radicals and promote anti-aging. The beverage also contains large amounts of vitamin C and a range of B vitamins that can increase collagen production, reduce wrinkles, and give your skin a youthful glow.

#23 Green tea

Whether consumed naturally or with matcha powder, green tea is known for being rich in catechins, a plant compound that serves as an antioxidant. 

As well as fighting damage from UV rays, catechins help to reduce the inflammation that can lead to the decline of collagen production in the skin, therefore helping to tackle common signs of aging.

The polyphenols within green tea also fight free radical damage that develops in the skin due to pollution, smoking, or consuming an unhealthy diet, all of which can accelerate the aging process.

#24 Cocoa

Not only is hot cocoa a comforting pre-bed beverage, but it also contains more phenolic antioxidants than most other foods. Consuming cocoa may help reduce your risk of diabetes, improve your immune response, and protect the skin from oxidative damage.

Research shows that it can also help increase blood flow to the brain and promote cell growth, which helps to keep your memory working effectively.

Other foods

#25 Olive oil

If you’re looking for an anti-aging oil to drizzle over a salad or cook your favorite meals with, try olive oil. This delicious type of oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining good heart health

Powerful antioxidants protect against oxidative stress that leads to aging, while vitamin E reduces the appearance of fine lines and improves the elasticity of the skin.

Interestingly, olive oil can also be directly applied to your face as an anti-aging moisturizer, which is particularly effective after being out in the sun for long periods.

#26 Walnuts

Walnuts are a great anti-aging food as they contain both mono and polyunsaturated healthy fats, which may help reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cancer.

They are also rich in linoleic acids, an omega-6 fatty acid with anti-inflammatory effects that keep your blood vessels healthy. This helps to protect against heart disease, and research shows that walnuts also play an important role in preventing cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and other brain disorders.

#27 Beans

Whether you prefer the black, pinto, kidney, or haricot variety, beans are great for your physical and mental health. They are packed full of vitamin B9, or folate, which protects the brain against a compound called homocysteine which can destroy your memory.

Beans are also known for being high in fiber, which helps to maintain your cardiovascular health by actively lowering your cholesterol.

#28 Spirulina

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that has several benefits for anti-aging. For instance, a 2017 study found that spirulina can help to preserve healthy gut bacteria during the aging process.

As the main ingredient within the algae, phycocyanin activates antioxidant activity in the cells, which eliminates the free radicals that cause wrinkles. Spirulina also contains amino acids like proline and glycine, which boost collagen production for healthy-looking and feeling skin.

#29 Reishi mushrooms

Reishi mushrooms are often used in Asian traditional medicine and may extend your lifespan. This type of fungus boosts the immune system, protecting your body against infections and even cancer.

Research also indicates that reishi mushrooms may help increase levels of good HDL cholesterol, decrease triglycerides, and improve blood sugar levels, all of which contribute to a healthy heart.

#30 Chaga mushrooms

Although you may not have heard of chaga mushrooms, they are a food that you should start including in your diet. Used for centuries in Siberia and parts of Asia, the fungus has antioxidant effects that help to boost immunity and reduce the signs of aging.

Although inflammation is a natural immune response, inflammation that persists for a long time can lead to conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease. This is because chaga helps to form special proteins called cytokines.

Cytokines stimulate white blood cells to fight inflammation, bacteria, and viruses and combat these diseases.

What Are Essential Nutrients That Keep You Young?

All of the best anti-aging foods contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients that help to protect against age-related decline. Some of the most important nutrients to include in your diet that will help you to continue looking and feeling young include:

  • Vitamin A – Boosts collagen production to prevent wrinkles while also promoting better vision and a stronger immune system.
  • B vitamins – Provides important protection for cognitive functioning.
  • Vitamin C – Has powerful antioxidant effects that protect against inflammation and boost immune function.
  • Vitamin D – Prevents premature aging by protecting the skin from UV rays.
  • Vitamin E – Improves skin texture by reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – Manage inflammation and benefit brain function.
  • L-theanine – An amino acid that can improve brain function in middle-aged adults.
  • Sulforaphane – A sulfur compound that reduces inflammation.

FAQs 

Which foods make you look younger?

There are a range of foods that can keep you looking and feeling young. Leafy greens, brightly colored fruits, nuts, mushrooms, and green tea are just a small selection of the best anti-aging foods.

What can I drink for anti-aging?

Water is essential for keeping your skin hydrated and your brain functioning properly. Try mixing it up by drinking coconut water and swapping your usual tea or coffee out for green tea. In the evenings, drink hot cocoa as an anti-aging sweet treat.

Are bananas anti-aging?

Yes, bananas are a great anti-aging fruit as they’re packed full of magnesium and other nutrients that help keep your heart healthy. They also keep your cells hydrated to ensure that your skin remains plump and firm.

How to reduce progerin naturally?

Progerin is an abnormal protein that can cause cells to age prematurely. An organic compound called sulforaphane, which can naturally be consumed by eating vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, can break progerin down.

A Word From a Dermatologist

There are a variety of foods that have anti-aging properties, which help to protect against heart disease, boost brain health, strengthen your bones, and provide you with glowy skin.

As you grow older, your body is likely to suffer from more inflammation due to age-related oxidative stress. Sugary foods, red meat such as beef, and refined carbs can increase inflammation and cause damage to your skin, so try to reduce the amount of these foods that you include in your diet.

When it comes to anti-aging fruits and vegetables, choose those that have a deep, rich color. These plants are usually full of antioxidants that fight free radicals and keep your skin healthy and youthful.

Be sure to look after your skin in other ways, too, by quitting smoking, wearing sunscreen outdoors, using the right skincare products for your skin type, and reducing stress.

Conclusion

There is a wide variety of foods, beverages, herbs, and spices that you can consume to help you look and feel young at any age. 

Try to choose fruits and vegetables that are naturally bright in color, as they contain the highest levels of antioxidants that protect against skin and cell damage. Leafy greens are another great option for a variety of anti-aging nutrients.

Also, be sure to include plenty of healthy fats in your diet through foods such as nuts, olive oil, and avocado to continue to take care of your body later in life.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: September 25, 2023
14 min read 532 Views 0 Comments
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