Get Youthful Skin With These 5 Anti-Ageing Foods
5 minutes read
We consulted with two leading nutritionists on how to eat your way to healthy-looking skin and get their recommendations on the best anti-ageing foods, plus tips and recipes for a more youthful diet.
Which food group qualifies as anti-ageing?
While there isn’t one food group that contributes to anti-ageing, The British Dietetic Association (BDA) confirms that the most effective way to work against skin ageing is by eating a balanced nutritious diet.
“We can’t stop the natural process of ageing, but we can bear some things in mind with our diet to help us age well,” says Jemma Joel, Registered Nutritionist and NHS Health Coach.
Joel recommends including a range of nutrients in the diet, not just those that are high in antioxidants. “Opt for whole foods where possible, good sources of protein and healthy fats.”
She also cautions: “Be mindful of your intake of processed and high sugar food. Sugar can have an impact on breakouts due to blood sugar spikes increasing inflammation and sebum production.”
Research has shown that one of the negative effects of excess sugar intake is premature ageing. Sugar damages your skin through a natural process called glycation, therefore damaging collagen, and elastin (proteins responsible for skin’s bounciness and firmness) and adding years to it.
The good news is that you don’t have to make all the changes at once. Start by incorporating more healthy foods into your diet and swapping out processed foods for healthier options.
Consuming healthy food can help to prevent medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. In addition, it leads to a better mood and more energy. Look at making the changes as a form of self-care and investment in your health, not as a restriction.
Nutritionist-Approved 5 Anti-Ageing Foods
Nishtha Patel Clinical Nutritionist and Functional Medicine Practitioner shares her top 5 anti-ageing food recommendations.
“Eat the rainbow of different coloured plant-based foods daily and rotate your food. This creates diversity in your gut microbiome and a healthy gut is a key to good health. They are also loaded with different antioxidants and other compounds which are crucial for hair, skin, eyes, nails, brain, heart health and of course ageing,” Patel recommends.
Evidence shows blueberries support the skin’s ability to fight inflammation related to acne, psoriasis, eczema, and premature ageing. When grocery shopping, opt for wild blueberries. It contains 33% more brain-healthy anthocyanins than ordinary blueberries.
“Wild blueberries are harder to get hold of, but they are richer in anthocyanin (than ordinary blueberries) which are chemicals that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
They are great for the skin, brain, and heart. If you can’t get the wild ones, try, and go for organic berries. Other berries are great sources too,” Patel explains.
Avocados are a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It is loaded with fibre, healthy fats, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate all of which play a key role in boosting skin health.
Not surprisingly, avocado is quite popular in the health and wellness world not only for its myriad of health benefits but as a versatile and delicious ingredient. You can add it to several recipes, both sweet and savoury.
3. Oily fish
Fish is anti-inflammatory and a rich source of essential fatty acids and omega 3, which are crucial for skin, hair, heart and brain health.
Patel says: “While wild Alaskan salmon is considered the best, you can eat any oily fish to reap the skin benefits. Remember the acronym S.M.A.S.H.: Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sandine, Herring.”
4. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is one of the best age-defying foods your skin will love because it’s packed with beta-carotene which prevents premature ageing.
A study published by the American Journal of Public Health found that people who eat more fruit and vegetables have a healthy glow. It is all down to carotenoids, the orangey-red pigments found in fruits and vegetables.
Carotenoids are pigments responsible for bright red, yellow and orange colours in many fruits and vegetables so load up on them if you want radiant skin.
“The orange colour comes from beta-carotene which is converted to Vitamin A. This is crucial for healthy elasticity for the skin and for cell turnover. It can help keep you looking young,” says Patel.
Several studies report that beetroot, especially in the form of a juice supplement, protects against oxidative damage to DNA, lipid and protein structures. It is great for the blood, heart, and brain too.
Pro tip: “Whenever I cook, I try to add as many vegetables and spices into my meals as possible,” Patel says.
She adds: “Herbs and spices account for plant-based ingredients in your diet. The more plants and plant-based food you eat, the more you feed your gut microbes.
These are the tiny bacteria in the gut that produce prebiotics which are fuel for the healthy bacteria (probiotics) living in the digestive tract. Furthermore, vegetables are high in fibre, so they also act as a giant brush gently sweeping out the colon.”
Nutrition coach Joel says her favourite nutrient-dense, delicious recipe recommendation would be “a balanced colourful bowl of goodness.”
“When making one of my bowls I like to add avocado, diced sweet potato, edamame beans, shredded radish, and a couple of tablespoons of plain hummus. The beauty of making these bowls is that they are so versatile, and you can amend them to fit in with your preferences.”