Age may just be a number, but it's not one we like to give out willingly. Knock a few years off by tweaking your diet with these foods proven to be full of anti-aging properties. Plus, they'll help you reap the benefits of a smaller waist, too.
Guacamole, anyone? According to Paula Simpson, BASc, RNCP, the oil found in avocados works to toughen your skin while also hydrating it. Another perk? "Avocados are full of monounsaturated fatty acids," says Robyn Flipse, MS, RD. "This is the healthiest type of fat for the cardiovascular system because it doesn't promote inflammation."
Stocked with antioxidants, these yummy snacks neutralize damaging free radicals, says Simpson. They also help the body manufacture collagen, leaving your skin firm and smooth.
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#3. Low-Fat Yogurt
You already know it's full of protein and calcium, but yogurt contains other vital nutrients as well, according to Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, author of The Beauty Diet. "The vitamin B in yogurt is essential for multiple body functions, including cell growth and division." Just one cup of yogurt has 450 milligrams of calcium, more than a cup of fat-free milk.
#4. Water-Rich Foods
Foods high in water content, such as cucumbers, watermelon, apples, peaches, melons, and celery, are some of the best hydrating solutions for your skin, says Simpson. They keep away wrinkles and therefore keep you looking fresh-faced. Flipse also recommends hydrating fluids, like green tea or sparkling beverages, to keep the skin moist.
#5. Wild Salmon
This fish is an anti-aging remedy for your mental health. The omega-3 fatty acids improve your memory and brain function while reducing inflammation, says Flipse. Drayer suggests choosing wild salmon over farmed to avoid the higher fat levels and chlorinated pesticides that farmed salmon often contain.
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#6. Zinc, Copper, and Selenium
These minerals are required for collagen production, says Simpson. To stock up, choose foods like chicken, lean beef, walnuts, chickpeas, and dried fruits. "Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system, and selenium helps your skin retain its natural elasticity," says Drayer.
Not only are oysters full of zinc and selenium, according to Drayer, the high levels of these minerals serve as an antioxidant and help protect you against eye-related disease.
#8. Carrots and Tomatoes
The more colorful the better, says Flipse. These bright veggies are stocked with phytonutrients and antioxidants, both of which protect against damaging free radicals. The beta carotene and lycopene
found in them also protect your skin from sun damage and repair skin cells, says Simpson.
#9. Tofu, Soymilk, and Edamame
These nibbles favored by vegetarians contain natural phytoestrogens that help keep skin resilient and may even actually slow down the aging process, Simpson says.
#10. Broccoli, Beets, and Red Cabbage
These veggies are all natural detoxifiers, says Simpson. They minimize toxicities that build up in our bloodstream and, eventually, dull our complexion.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.