You might not be aware of it, but the foods you eat could be aging you prematurely—on the inside and out. Your biology is highly sensitive to your diet. And with the typical American diet full of high-sugar, high-fat, and high-calorie foods, it’s important to make the best dietary choices to help keep your body biologically young. In order to do this, you need to eat a well-balanced diet that includes anti-aging foods to give you the best chance at staying more youthful in your appearance and in your health and vitality.
10 Best Anti-aging Foods
Some foods are particularly beneficial when it comes to guarding against the effects of aging. Here are 10 of the best anti-aging foods that you should incorporate into your diet plan as often as possible:
- Berries: All types of berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and strawberries, are some of the best anti-aging foods because they are rich in amazing antioxidants such as flavonols and anthocyanins, which promote cellular health and offer protection against illnesses. Dark blueberries and blackberries have the highest concentrations of antioxidants and generally provide the best anti-aging benefits. Berries are also an excellent source of vitamins, especially vitamin C, which is good for the skin and for repairing damaged body tissues.
- Dark Chocolate: Your skin shows the most visible signs of aging, and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes the skin to age more quickly. If you are a chocolate lover, you’ll be glad to know that consuming dark chocolate has been shown to help protect the skin against the harmful effects of UV exposure. The cocoa beans, which chocolate is made of, contain more antioxidants than any other food, and this high concentration of flavanols helps reduce skin inflammation that is caused by UV exposure. Plus, eating dark chocolate can increase circulation in the skin and improve its ability to retain moisture, which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and help you look younger. But you can’t just eat any kind of chocolate. Dark chocolate offers the most health benefits because the refining process for dark chocolate doesn’t strip away the antioxidants like the processing methods of other types of chocolates.
- Beans: Beans are a terrific source of low-fat protein, especially for those who don’t eat meat. Beans also contain fiber, which is great for lowering cholesterol, plus they are rich in antioxidants and abundant in vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin B and potassium.
- Fish: Eating fish, or taking fish oil supplements, provides your body with essential omega-3 fatty acids that help protect against ailments, reduce inflammation, lower the risk of arrhythmia and lower blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish, including salmon, herring, tuna and sardines. Fish is a great source of protein and is low in saturated fat, which is unlike other meats. The American Heart Association recommends eating omega-3-rich fish at least two times per week.
- Vegetables: Vegetables are one of the best sources of antioxidants, which are important to help fight free radical damage and slow the effects of aging. The best vegetables to eat are green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Plus, vegetables are full of natural vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, K and E, which supports a healthy immune system. Studies have shown that a diet full of vegetables can help prevent cardiovascular conditions, lower high blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and unclog arteries.
- Nuts: Nuts are a great source of protein and unsaturated fats. Like cold water fish, nuts contain essential omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health. They’re also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including potassium that helps lower blood pressure; vitamin E, which helps prevent cellular damage; and calcium to help maintain strong bones. Another great benefit of eating nuts is that they can fill you up without packing on extra pounds because up to 20% of the calories in nuts don’t get absorbed by the body.
- Red Wine: You may have heard that drinking one to two glasses of red wine per day is good for your heart. It’s true because the antioxidants and nutrients in red wine can help protect the arteries and blood vessels. One of the most well-known anti-aging components in red wine is an antioxidant called resveratrol.
- Unrefined Whole Grains: You probably know that whole grains are good for you and that fiber helps keep your digestive system regular. Fiber also helps control your appetite and supports healthy blood sugar levels. Plus, a diet rich in whole grains, such as oats, whole wheat and brown rice, has other anti-aging benefits because whole grains are rich in vitamins and minerals. The key is to eat unrefined whole grains because it’s the refining process that strips away many of the essential vitamins and minerals that make the grains good for you.
- Garlic: Eating garlic helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduces inflammation, and helps protect and maintain cellular health. Eating garlic also helps support the immune system. Garlic has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and scientific studies have confirmed that it’s beneficial as an anti-viral and anti-bacterial food.
- Avocados: The avocado has long been recognized as one of the best anti-aging foods in nature. Avocados are a great source of vitamin E and potassium, as well as monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. The vitamins and minerals in avocados have been shown to reduce cholesterol, improve skin health and lower blood pressure. Avocados are also rich in folates, also known as folic acid or vitamin B. Folates have been linked to heart health and bone health. Avocados also contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol and protect against blood clots.
Be sure to include these anti-aging foods as part of your well-balanced diet so you can stay vibrant and more youthful in your appearance and your health for many years to come.