There's a lot of conflicting advice online about which foods have antiaging properties. Before shelling out for various supplements, "miracle" foods and other hyped-up potions and tinctures, we decided to consult some experts on which foods can actually be considered to have antiaging properties and what the science behind their claims is. It turns out, some of the best antiaging foods are things you probably already have in your fridge. Get ready to eat your way to that youthful glow.
A lot has been said about turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties, which apparently does wonders for the skin too. "The skin is one of the first things that we want to protect from aging because it can lose it's elasticity and texture," Lahana Vigliano, CEO and owner of Thrival Nutrition, tells SheKnows. To this end, turmeric "has an amazing antioxidant count. Antioxidants help reduce free radicals in the body that cause damage to cells such as [in] the skin."
But that's not all. "The curcumin in turmeric was shown in a study by Neuroscience to reduce mitochondrial dysfunction and damage. This reduces risk of chronic fatigue and degenerative diseases that increase with aging."
Luckily, it's easy to incorporate turmeric into your diet. Try sipping on golden milk, adding it to your favorite stews and curries, using it to make your rice a lovely yellow color or sprinkling it over roasted potatoes.
2. Collagen peptides
Collagen seems to be increasing in popularity as a functional food. Just as the collagen in bone broth is thought to be good for skin and hair, so too are collagen peptides.
Why are they so helpful? "Collagen is the primary structural component of the skin. Collagen is necessary in order to have healthy, firm and supple-looking skin," licensed integrative clinical nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner Jennie Miremadi tells SheKnows. "Studies of individuals supplementing with collagen showed an increase in collagen density and skin firmness and a reduction in dryness and wrinkles."
The benefit of buying powdered collagen peptides is that you can add them to coffee, smoothies and other foods without even tasting them.
Protein isn't just important if you're a bodybuilder, Dr. Venus Ramos tells SheKnows. "Protein foods are a major factor in 'prolonging youth,' especially once you hit your 40s, when your muscle mass begins to decline by up to 1 percent every year," she explained. "As you get older, you may more easily lose your balance and set yourself up for a bad fall. And your body is less likely to recover well from such an accident."
For ideal sources of protein, Ramos recommends fish, skinless pasture-raised chicken and turkey breast and lean grass-fed beef and pork or tempeh if you're vegetarian.
That blueberry smoothie you drink in the morning is better for you than you might think. According to Ramos, blueberries have tons of antiaging benefits. Among them? They boost memory function and have a high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that attacks "skin-damaging free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can cause extensive cell damage and are associated with chronic inflammation."
Eat them plain, with yogurt, with granola or in your favorite smoothie.
5. Fatty fish
Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish, have antiaging properties. Ramos says, "Omega-3 fatty acids are great for reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol, improving digestion and enhancing skin circulation. Recent studies also suggest that omega-3s can act on the brain to improve mood and attitude."
Ramos recommends getting your fatty acids from fish — like tuna, salmon and herring — or walnuts, pecans and flaxseed if you don't like seafood.
6. Green veggies
Everyone knows that veggies are healthy, but they can also contribute to your vitality. Why? Dr. Stephen Schimpff, author of Longevity Decoded — The 7 Keys to Healthy Aging, tells SheKnows, "Veggies have a wealth of antioxidants, which counter free radicals produced in the mitochondria and which in turn damage cell products and often the cell DNA. Veggies also contain other vitamins, like B12 and B6 and folate, all important for brain stability."
That's not all — they're good for your gut too. "Vegetables and fruits contain fiber, which is the preferred food for the 'good' bacteria" in your gut, "the microbiome which is critical for intestinal stability and which, if dysfunctional, produces inflammatory compounds that speed the aging process."
To ensure you get enough veggies in your diet, Schimpff recommends you make sure your plate is comprised of two-thirds vegetables and one-third protein.
Bergamot is a type of citrus, and it's what gives Earl Grey tea its signature flavor. Functional medicine nutritionist Morgan Mellas Kandell tells SheKnows that because it's rich in polyphenols, bergamot "is one of the most potent food tools to promote autophagy." Autophagy "refers to the body's mechanism of cleaning up cellular waste and repairing damage that results from oxidation. This naturally occurring process declines as we age. Increasing autophagy improves mental focus, skin radiance, inflammation and neurological health."
Kandell recommends drinking several cups of bergamot tea a day to reap the benefits.
Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, a dermatologist in Los Angeles, tells SheKnows cherries are where it's at if you want younger-looking skin.
"Anthocyanins are antioxidants found in red and purple fruits and vegetables and are helpful in reducing the inflammation and free-radical damage in the skin due to UV and everyday air pollution. It is found in strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, but cherries have the highest levels of all."
Head to the farmers market and pick up some cherries to get that youthful glow.
9. Vitamin D-containing foods
Vitamin D can help prevent the shortening of telomeres, the caps of genetic material on the free ends of DNA strands, says Shainhouse. "These telomeres shorten with age, rendering the DNA more and more unstable until the cell dies," which can affect skin health. "A study demonstrated that telomeres were significantly longer in patients with the highest serum vitamin D levels compared to those with the lowest," an equivalent of five years of aging. Taking a vitamin D supplement that contains calcium can also reduce the risk of developing melanoma for women who have a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer.
To get enough vitamin D, Shainhouse recommends drinking milk, fortified orange juice and eating fatty fish, cod liver oil, egg yolks, beef and cheese — and taking a vitamin D supplement daily.
Add these foods to your diet, and you could slow down the aging process by years.