Top 10 Anti-Aging Foods for Skin, Brain, Muscle, and Gut Health

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Beautiful, glowing skin starts with how we eat, but these foods and different ingredients can also help your skin as you grow older.

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Bowls of avocado and healthy foods on the table. Nadine Greeff/Stocksy United

Eating foods that are high in antioxidants, healthy fats, and essential nutrients can help support the body’s largest organ: Your 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.

No food can reverse wrinkles or other signs of aging. But certain foods do support skin health and help protect against oxidative stress, one of the main causes of skin aging. Others can also impact your overall health and mental well-being.

This article discusses 10 of the best foods that may help nourish your body and mind as you grow older.

Broccoli

Broccoli is an anti-inflammatory, aging-support powerhouse packed with:

  • vitamins C and K
  • a variety of antioxidants
  • fiber
  • folate
  • lutein
  • calcium

Your body needs vitamin C for the production of collagen, the main protein in skin that gives it strength and elasticity.

This vegetable is also packed full of the nutrient lutein, which is linked to improved memory and brain function.

Broccoli contains vitamin K and calcium, which are essential for bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis, so eating this veggie may help your bones as you get older.

Is there anything this cruciferous veggie can’t do to help your body and mind as you age?

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 does help increase the level of certain nutrients for your body.

Red bell pepper

Red bell peppers are loaded with antioxidants which reign supreme when it comes to aging well. 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, which can benefit your health overall and your skin health in particular.

To try: Slice bell peppers and dip them in hummus as a snack, add them to a raw salad, or cook them up in a stir-fry.

Spinach

Spinach is super hydrating and packed with antioxidants, and it’s considered a superfood that has a whole host of health benefits that include oxidative stress, eye health, and even cancer prevention.

It’s also rich in:

This versatile leafy green’s high vitamin C content supports collagen production to keep skin firm and smooth. But that’s not all. The vitamin A it provides may play a role in hair health, while vitamin K has been shown to have health benefits.

To try: Add handfuls of spinach to a smoothie, salad, or sauté.

Sweet potatoes

The orange color of the sweet potato comes from an antioxidant called beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A, which may help restore skin elasticity and promote skin cell turnover.

Though it’s considered a starchy vegetable, this delicious root vegetable is also a source of vitamins C and E — both of which may protect our skin.

Watercress

This delicious green may also help support the immune system and aid digestion, along with other health benefits such as eye and heart health that may become more important as you get older.

This nutrient-dense hydrating leafy green is a source of:

Packed with vitamins A and C, the antioxidants in watercress may help promote skin health.

To try: Add a handful of this flavorful green to your salad today for glowing skin and overall improved health!

Avocado

Avocados are high in inflammation-fighting fatty acids that are good for your health.

This 2022 study even notes in particular for women, daily avocado consumption may help promote enhanced skin health.

They also contain a variety of essential nutrients that may help your health overall and can be beneficial as you get older, including:

  • vitamins K, C, E, and A
  • B vitamins
  • potassium

To try: Throw some avocado into a salad, a smoothie, or just eat it with a spoon.

Blueberries

Blueberries are rich in vitamins A and C, and other nutrients.

Blueberries may help protect skin from sun damage by lowering inflammation and reducing collagen loss. But more research is needed.

To try: Throw this delicious, low sugar fruit into a morning smoothie or fruit bowl, and let it provide a beautifying punch!

Papaya

This delicious superfood is rich in a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can benefit your overall health, and heart function as you age — it may even help prevent certain diseases and conditions.

While the papaya pulp is the only part consumed, both the peel and seeds contain phytochemical value that can support your immune system, help your eyes and heart, and even provide anti-tumor effects that researchers in this 2022 study dub as “noteworthy.”

In general, the nutrients in papaya include:

  • vitamins A, C, K, and E
  • calcium
  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • B vitamins

The wide range of antioxidants in fermented papaya, in particular, helps reduce age-related effects on your body that you might experience as you get older. Papaya also contains an enzyme called papain, which provides additional benefits like improving digestion.

So yes, eating papaya (or using products containing papain) may be great for your body and health and even help prevent certain age-related diseases and conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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!

Nuts

Many nuts (especially almonds) are a good source of vitamin E, which has numerous health benefits such as helping repair skin tissue, retain skin moisture, and protect skin from damaging UV rays.

You can find different health benefits for all kinds of nuts. Just one of those is pistachios, which research shows may not only help your skin but also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Walnuts offer benefits such as helping to reduce your risk for heart disease. They contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to your health and can help your skin’s cell membranes.

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% or more of the antioxidants are lost without the skin.

Pomegranate seeds

Pomegranates have been used for centuries as a healing medicinal fruit. They’re a good source of vitamin C and have a variety of potent antioxidants. Research shows pomegranates may protect our body from free radical damage and reduce levels of inflammation in our system.

The extracts and peels of these healthy fruits also contain a compound called punicalagin, which has anti-inflammatory benefits and may help your skin.

Research has also shown that a compound called urolithin A — produced when pomegranates interact with gut bacteria — may promote mitochondrial health.

In a nonhuman study, it showed a possible reversal in muscle function related to aging. Yet, that research didn’t look at humans, and more research would be needed to confirm those findings in people.

To try: Sprinkle these sweet little jewels onto a baby spinach walnut salad for a treat that supports graceful aging!

By nourishing ourselves with these foods, we can gain fuel to look and feel our best as we age.

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.

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