By Karina Heinrich
International Certified Integrative Nutritionist & Founder of The Karina Method
There is no way to turn back the clock. However, the food we choose to nourish ourselves with has a significant effect on the aging of our skin, metabolism, weight, organs and overall health. Yes, you read that right: healthy foods can help us age better and feel younger!
Here are nine top foods that helps you feel good inside and out:
1. Fabulous Fatty Fishes
Fatty fish are amazing for anti-aging. Loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, they are important for maintaining supple and moisturised skin. Omega-3s also reduces inflammation and helps the skin fight against UV rays. Gain a beautiful complexion from its source of high quality protein, vitamin E and zinc. Salmon gets a gold star when it comes to keping your skin looking younger! It contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin that helps with skin elasticity and hydration. Other great fatty fishes high in Omega-3s are: herring, mackerel, cod, sardines, mahi mahi, tuna, and striped bass.
2. Gorgeous Green Tea
The health benefits of green tea are plentiful. Green tea is high in antioxidants called polyphenols, which can fight inflammation, diabetes and insulin resistance. Polyphenols also help protect collagen, which is the main protein in your skin that can reduce and even reverse signs of aging. Green tea is full of powerful compounds called catechins that can help protect and improve the moisture, roughness, thickness and elasticity of your skin while protecting it against sun damage. It’s optimal to drink three to five cups of green tea per day!
3. Very Vitamin-Filled Veggies
Vegetables are an absolute must for healthy skin. Low in calories, but high in nutrients, they are full of antioxidants and high in carotenoids like beta carotene that reduces the risk of sun radiation, free radicals, heart disease and some cancers. Some examples are potatoes, carrots, spinach, red and yellow bell peppers and pumpkin. Many vegetables are also high in vitamin C, which is great for collagen production and has strong antioxidant effects. Veggies with the highest vitamin C content include all leafy greens, bell peppers and broccoli. Broccoli is a top favourite because it’s chalked full minerals and vitamins important for skin health like vitamin C, Vitamin A, zinc, lutein and sulforaphane. Aim for five servings of vegetables per day!
4. Nuts and Super Seeds
Nuts and seeds are awesome sources of nutrients. A few great examples are walnuts, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds. Walnuts provide a source of essential fatty acids that your body cannot make by itself. They’re rich in Omega-3 fats that help reduce inflammation in the body and skin. Walnuts also contain small amounts of antioxidants like vitamin C & vitamin E, protein and selenium. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of linoleic acid and vitamin E that keeps your skin flexible and moisturised. Flaxseeds contain lignans which can reduce blood sugar, insulin levels and cholesterol. They are also a great source of an Omega-3 fatty acid called ALA that protects the skin from sun damage. One-fourth (1/4) cup is a perfect daily serving of nuts and seeds.
5. Dark Chocolate? Yes, Please
As if you needed an arm-twisting to eat chocolate, the amazing effects of cocoa’s high antioxidants on the skin are impressive. It helps reduce wrinkles, increase skin thickness, hydration, blood flow and skin texture as well as reduce blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity and improve elasticity. The antioxidant profile of dark chocolate is even more powerful than blueberries, cranberries or acai berries. Cocoa may be a powerful tool for keeping your skin young but make sure to choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. Have around 20 grams so you can maximise the health benefits.
6. Fantastic Fruits
Fruits are antioxidant superstars. Berries, pomegranates, tomatoes and avocados (avocados get their own shout-out below) stand out when it comes to earning an A for being the healthiest fruits. Pomegranates may even have more antioxidants than that of green tea, helping decrease inflammation, prevent high blood sugar levels, protect the skin from sun damage and increase collagen production. Tomatoes also provide impressive health benefits due to their high lycopene content that reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Cooking tomatoes with olive oil helps boost the absorption of lycopene into the body!
7. Awesome Avocados
Avocados are a delicious powerhouse food. They are high in healthy fats that benefit your body and are essential for supple, springy and flexible skin. Adding avocados to your diet provides important antioxidants and vitamin C that protects the skin from oxidative and sun damage while protecting the DNA in your skin cells. About ½ an avocado provides 10% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin E and 17% of the RDI for vitamin C.
8. All Over Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats and has been shown to prevent many common diseases such as high blood pressure. 75% of olive oil is made up of monounsaturated fat which increases skin elasticity and firmness. It also has awesome anti-inflammatory effects on the skin.
9. Be Bold With Bone Broth
Bone broth has become a popular diet “must-have” in the health scene. It’s made by cooking bones from fish, poultry and meat in water for an extended time to create a broth filled with healthy minerals. Bone broth is high in collagen. When cooked, collagen breaks down into gelatin, which is high in the amino acids that your body can absorb to form new collagen in your skin. Its high collagen content improves skin elasticity and reduces wrinkles.
I don’t know about you but I’m going to cook up a big pot of bone broth, sip a mug filled with green tea, bake some salmon with broccoli (olive oil drizzled on top, of course) and end my meal with a square of extra dark chocolate. I can feel my skin firming up just thinking about it!