The desire to stay young— or at least look young— forever is nothing new. Beginning as early as the fifth century, the restorative powers of the Fountain of Youth have been mythicized. Although no such thing exists, it hasn’t stopped humanity from trying to find a “cure” to aging — especially aging skin.
Alas, getting old is a part of life and, consequently, so are those dreaded wrinkles and sagging skin. Skin aging is also exacerbated by a multitude of factors such as UV ray exposure, free-radicals, dryness and, you guessed it, diet.
However, there are four main food nutrients that can contribute to more youthful-looking skin through food: vitamin C, amino acids, antioxidants, and hydration. A diet rich in these four things is proven to prevent the cell structure damage that can lead to loss of firmness, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Let’s break down these key anti-aging components:
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is actually found naturally in our skin, but as we age the natural levels of vitamin C decline. Vitamin C is vital to maintain strong skin cell structure, that is to say it boosts collagen and can reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Amino Acids: Amino acids are found in proteins and also play a role in strengthening cells and fighting against wrinkles.
Antioxidants: We’ve heard for a while now how important antioxidants are for our health and to prevent premature aging, but did you know that in order to be effective, they must be ingested? In a study published this year, scientists found that “food supplements yielded enhanced antioxidant values in the skin.” This is because antioxidants are released through sweat and natural skin oils onto the skin surface. (Carotenoids: Nutrition, Analysis and Technology, Batanska, Kaczor, 2016)
Hydration: Hydrated skin is happy skin! Hydration is important to maintain skin elasticity. In addition to simply drinking water, eating foods with high water content is also beneficial.
So eat up to maintain youth with these anti-aging foods.
Rachael Pack is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Instagram @rachael_pack