While there’s currently no way to defy physics and turn back time, dialing back the clock on your looks is totally feasible. If you believe the cliche, “you are what you eat,” then the fact that your diet reflects on your face must also ring true.
In fact, nixing certain grub and steering your diet towards cleaner, whole foods can work wonders on your youthfulness—from erasing pesky fine lines to giving you a healthy glow instantaneously. Find out how changing your diet can slash a decade off your age, and then don’t miss our exclusive report 20 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism as You Age.
You’ll Prevent Sun Damage
If you’re one to sit out too long worshipping the summer sun, you may want to add foods rich in lycopene—think: tomatoes, papaya, and grapefruit—to your diet. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that the potent antioxidant found in tomato paste protected the skin against severe photodamage, which can translate to an uneven skin texture and age spots.
You’ll Improve Skin Elasticity
Tossing a handful of crushed walnuts over your morning oats or mid-afternoon salad does more than just quell tummy grumbles, it can also help ramp up production of collagen—the most abundant protein in our bodies that helps keep skin plump, resilient, and youthful—thanks to the high omega-3 content. For more ways to incorporate this essential macro into your diet, read up on these 35 Collagen Recipes That Turn Back The Clock.
You’ll Bypass Premature Aging
“About 75 percent of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids, which may play a role in the youth boost,” Marie Jhin, M.D., certified board dermatologist and author of Asian Beauty Secrets tells us in 22 Foods Dermatologists Say to Eat for Better Skin. “The antioxidant polyphenols in olive oil could also quench damaging free radicals.” Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for keeping skin dewy and hydrated from within, so be sure to keep wild-caught salmon, herring, and sardines on your weekly rotation.
Your Zits Will Zap Away
Loading up on vitamin A (the same ingredient found in topical treatment Retin-A) with foods such as kale and carrots is a great way to promote skin cell turnover, which is key to preventing wrinkles and fighting acne. Want to double your zit-zapping efforts? Start by stocking up on these 18 Best Probiotic Products For Gut Health. According to a study in the journal Beneficial Microbes, the specific probiotic strain Lactobacilicus rhamnosus has been found to improve the appearance of adult acne.
You’ll Decrease Inflammation
When you suffer from chronic inflammation, sneaky symptoms can also show up on your skin. Inflammation-related issues such as redness, eczema, and psoriasis flare-ups can be significantly alleviated by simply eliminating insulin-spiking processed carbs such as white bread, white rice, and sugary cereals. Another helpful hint: “There is no topical product that can reduce inflammation in the dermis, but diet demonstrated to reduced inflammation especially if supplemented with fish oil and polyphenols can accomplish these goals,” says Dr. Barry Sears, founder of The Zone Diet, in 50 Doctor’s Own Tips for Better Skin.
You’ll Smoothen Out Wrinkles
It’s no secret that crow’s feet and laugh lines add years to your visage. However, there’s a surefire way to combat unsightly wrinkles that doesn’t involve a pricey visit to a plastic surgeon. “Focus on a balanced diet with plenty of lean protein and vegetables and avoid sugar,” suggests Dr. Fred Pescatore, a natural health physician, in 50 Doctor’s Own Anti-Aging Tips. “Poor diets that are high in sugar have been linked to advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which cause wrinkles and loss of collagen and elastin.”
It’ll Keep Your Skin Flake-Free
Cold winter months can take a seriously unappealing toll on your skin in the form of awkward flakes and scales. An easy way to fight the flakes is by loading up on vitamin C. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who incorporate vitamin C-rich foods into their diet have fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin than those who don’t. Not to mention, vitamin C helps build skin-loving collagen. Next time you’re in need of an afternoon pick-me-up, peel back an orange or brighten up your usual salad by tossing in strawberries, red peppers, and grapefruit.
You’ll Glow From Within
We all know that harmful ultraviolet rays can wreak havoc on our skin. But, there is a sunny lining: You can get the glow without the damage by eating beta-carotene-rich foods such as carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes. “They give you a healthy, warm glow and it helps counteract a sallow complexion from being ill, colds and flu, or winter doldrums,” says Dr. Cynthia Bailey, a dermatologist and founder of DrBaileySkinCare.com in 50 Doctor’s Own Tips for Better Skin.