Aging is a natural part of life, but that doesn’t stop many of us from seeking out the best skincare products on the market to keep wrinkles at bay and reduce the appearance of sagging skin and fine lines. However, it has also been noted that certain foods may provide profound anti-aging benefits, particularly those which are rich in collagen, a protein that has been known to enhance elasticity in the skin and keep your complexion from falling.
Food can obviously make a major impact on your body, offering ample energy throughout the day and improving the longevity of your life, but is it true that it can keep you looking ageless as well? We checked in with board-certified dermatologist Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce and Dr. Orit Markowitz, New York City Board-Certified Dermatologist, Skin Cancer Expert and Founder of OptiSkin in NYC to determine if food can have any real bearing on your appearance, and which foods you should be prioritizing in an anti-aging diet. This is what they had to say.
These $20 leggings from Nordstrom Rack are The. Best.
Seeing as your skin is the largest organ in the body, it stands to reason that it too would be impacted by the nourishment you feed yourself, as are the rest of your organs. However, it’s the extent to which food can have anti-aging properties that should be debated, not whether or not it has them at all.
“What you eat absolutely influences your health, and in turn, your skin. However, you can’t expect to turn back the clock by altering your diet after a lifetime of poor choices,” explains Geddes-Bruce. “Good nutrition isn’t anti-aging, but good nutrition can help you age well and focusing on the right foods can improve your skin quality and appearance.”
If you’re expecting a dramatic transformation in your skin after eating collagen rich foods or other such nutrients, you may want to lower your expectations slightly, warns Geddes-Bruce. While eating nutrient dense foods will not turn back the clock on your complexion, it can prepare your body to age more gracefully and protect against outside factors that may take a toll on your body.
“Eating the right foods can make sure you have enough of the nutrients needed to heal properly when you are injured, and fight daily damage from the sun, pollution, infrared, stress and other factors that contribute to aging,” she notes, suggest that in order to reap the most benefit from you diet you should focus on consuming lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and an array of antioxidants to preserve your skin for a longer period of time.
As for exactly which food items will best serve your complexion, Dr. Markowitz notes that keeping an array of colorful and nutrient dense foods in your diet will be your best bet for reducing the speed at which you age. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are all fantastic for supporting a healthy body and younger looking skin, so it’s only natural to focus on these factors when crafting an eating plan which will provide ample anti-aging properties. Good news for those following a plant based diet, you’ll find significant benefit from consuming more veggies and natural ingredients in order to bolster your appearance.
A surprisingly useful anti-aging food, this dairy alternative is packed with antioxidants and vitamins to preserve and protect your skin from outside damage. “Almond milk is an excellent source of vitamin E, a known antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by free radicals,” explains Markowitz.
“Free radicals alter cell genetic code, resulting in mutated proteins. When mutation happens, cancer may develop. Free radicals often cause irreversible damage to the skin; it contributes to collagen and elastin depletion,” he concludes. In consuming a food which can prevent free radical damage, this will effectively sustain collagen production in your skin which is essential for preserving elasticity and anti-aging.
Rich in vitamin A, sweet potatoes are a great addition to your anti-aging diet as they promote the development of new skin cells for a younger looking complexion. “From one sweet potato, you’ll also get three grams of fiber which keeps your digestive tract healthy and a functioning digestive tract can help keep breakouts to a minimum,” notes Markowitz. All eyes on you, sweet potato fries.
Not only are carrots great for your eyesight, they can also help to bolster your complexion as well. “Carotenoids, found in carrots, are your protection from everyday pollutants and will prevent wrinkles,” says Markowitz. “The beta carotene in carrots is a skin-friendly nutrient that gets converted to vitamin A inside the body and can protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. It also helps repair skin tissues while protecting skin from harmful radiation.” Swap out your afternoon snack for carrots and hummus to reap the skin benefits of this versatile veggie.
Loaded with healthy fats to contribute to a balanced diet, olive oil also makes for a fantastic ingredient to include in your cooking to slow visible signs of aging. “Olive oil contains four major antioxidants–among these antioxidants are vitamins A and E,” explains Markowitz. “Vitamin E accounts for anti-aging benefits because it helps restore skin elasticity, therefore helping to reduce wrinkles.”