Guacamole, anyone? According to Paula Simpson, BASc, RNCP, the oil found in avocados works to toughen your skin while also hydrating it. Another perk? "Avocados are full of monounsaturated fatty acids," says Robyn Flipse, MS, RD. "This is the healthiest type of fat for the cardiovascular system because it doesn't promote inflammation."
Stocked with antioxidants, these yummy snacks neutralize damaging free radicals, says Simpson. They also help the body manufacture collagen, leaving your skin firm and smooth.
You already know it's full of protein and calcium, but yogurt contains other vital nutrients as well, according to Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, author of The Beauty Diet. "The vitamin B in yogurt is essential for multiple body functions, including cell growth and division." Just one cup of yogurt has 450 milligrams of calcium, more than a cup of fat-free milk.
Foods high in water content, such as cucumbers, watermelon, apples, peaches, melons, and celery, are some of the best hydrating solutions for your skin, says Simpson. They keep away wrinkles and therefore keep you looking fresh-faced. Flipse also recommends hydrating fluids, like green tea or sparkling beverages, to keep the skin moist.
Pair these foods with these products that ward off wrinkles.
This fish is an anti-aging remedy for your mental health. The omega-3 fatty acids improve your memory and brain function while reducing inflammation, says Flipse. Drayer suggests choosing wild salmon over farmed to avoid the higher fat levels and chlorinated pesticides that farmed salmon often contain.
Zinc, Copper, and Selenium
These minerals are required for collagen production, says Simpson. To stock up, choose foods like chicken, lean beef, walnuts, chickpeas, and dried fruits. "Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system, and selenium helps your skin retain its natural elasticity," says Drayer.
Not only are oysters full of zinc and selenium, according to Drayer, the high levels of these minerals serve as an antioxidant and help protect you against eye-related disease.
Carrots and Tomatoes
The more colorful the better, says Flipse. These bright veggies are stocked with phytonutrients and antioxidants, both of which protect against damaging free radicals. The beta carotene and lycopene found in them also protect your skin from sun damage and repair skin cells, says Simpson.
Tofu, Soymilk, and Edamame
These nibbles favored by vegetarians contain natural phytoestrogens that help keep skin resilient and may even actually slow down the aging process, Simpson says.
All berries have some anti-aging perks, but blueberries are soaring in popularity because of the amount of vitamin C and E they contain, says Drayer. These vitamins fight aging by ridding the body of harmful chemicals that have long-term, damaging effects on our organs. We'll be making a blueberry pie this weekend, stat.
Broccoli, Beets, and Red Cabbage
These veggies are all natural detoxifiers, says Simpson. They minimize toxicities that build up in our bloodstream and, eventually, dull our complexion.
Eating kiwifruit will not only help maintain clear skin, it will also promote healthy bones. Drayer says one cup peeled kiwifruit contains more vitamin C than the equivalent amount of oranges. Plus, it neutralizes free radicals that could lead to things like cancer and heart disease.
"Rosemary is rich in phytochemicals," says Simpson. "This increases levels of ceramide in the skin, which helps to retain moisture and elasticity."
Some say, "Too good to be true," but Flipse says, "Resveratorol and flavanols." These two compounds are the good stuff in dark chocolate that promote circulation and can even protect against moderate sun damage. Just make sure to choose dark chocolate over milk, as the dark chocolate is more beneficial to your health.
Want to nosh? Check out the best anti-aging snacks.
Another great (and affordable) vegetable choice. "Spinach has an exceptional lutein content," says Drayer, "which helps keep our eyes healthy and bright." Spinach also has tons of vitamins, including folate (vitamin B9), which aids in the production and maintenance of new cells, including red blood cells.
Ginger, Turmeric, Cocoa, Cayenne, and Cinnamon
These spices have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body, says Simpson. They also help balance blood sugar and can be easily incorporated into beverages or even food.
The beta-carotene in this Thanksgiving favorite is a powerful antioxidant and is fat-soluble. Drayer says you might notice smoother skin after munching on sweet potatoes regularly, as our bodies turn beta-carotene into vitamin A, which helps smooth skin and ward off wrinkles.
Whole Grains and Fibers
Fiber is essential for normal skin functioning and the regrowth of new cells. Plus, the complex carbohydrates in the whole grains maintain blood glucose levels and reduce glycation, which makes our skin less elastic, Flipse says.
"Walnuts are one of the only nuts that contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids," says Drayer. "This has been shown to protect against high blood pressure and heart disease, and increase bone strength." Their anti-inflammatory perks also relieve skin diseases such as eczema and even asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.