Your skin is your largest organ – and the organ with the largest contact area between you and the outside world. It protects your internal organs from the elements, pollution, toxins, chemicals, and injuries over your lifetime. As such, it’s no wonder that our skin is where we start to see the signs of aging first.
But it’s not just the outside environment and what we put on our skin that leads to aging – it’s also about what we put inside our bodies.
The truth is, what’s on your plate affects what you see in the mirror. Not only do certain foods prevent your body from maintaining a healthy skin tone, but they could even cause cells throughout your body to age faster.
The good news is that eating the right foods can help fight (and even reverse) the signs of aging.
The Link Between Diet and Aging
Are you worried about wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, or dry skin? While there is no shortage of “miracle” creams and serums on the market to slow aging, the real preventative magic comes from two habits: avoiding harmful sun exposure and reducing advanced glycation end products (AGEs) through proper diet.
AGEs are toxic compounds that form when protein or fat combine with sugar in the blood, a process called glycation. AGEs can also be formed in your food itself, usually when exposed to high temperatures (like grilling or frying).
So, what’s the problem with AGEs? When these compounds build up in the body, they lead to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. Not only do these issues lead to faster breakdown of your skin’s cell walls, but they also damage tissues throughout the body and are root causes of many chronic diseases. The older you get, the more difficult it is for the body to eliminate AGEs and the faster we age.
Aside from creating AGEs, certain foods diminish the skin’s overall health by increasing inflammation or reducing hydration (like fatty, salty snacks). One of the biggest culprits? Refined carbohydrates. Refined carbs like white bread, white rice, and white sugar are high-glycemic foods associated with not just wrinkles and lines, but chronic age-related diseases.
To protect your skin against early signs of aging, make these healthy food swaps whenever possible:
- Grilled meats → braised or slow-cooked lean meat
- French fries → baked oven fries
- White bread → sprouted grain bread, quinoa, or wild rice
- White sugar → Raw honey, dates, or fruit
- Butter, margarine, and shortening → olive oil or avocado oil
- Processed meats (hot dogs, sausages, pepperoni) → Poached chicken or baked salmon
- Dairy products → plant-based alternatives made from seeds or nuts
- Soda and coffee → herbal tea and water
- Crackers and chips → hummus and veggies, olives, or almond butter and apples
5 Nutrition Tips to Look and Feel Younger
If eating certain foods can speed up the aging process, then eating the right foods can slow it down. Here are a few simple ways to use nutrition to your anti-aging advantage:
#1 - Drink water throughout the day.
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and youthful. Water helps maintain the integrity of your skin and increases elasticity. Hydrated skin is also less likely to show fine lines, wrinkles, and scars.
Drinking pure water is always a good choice. But, you can add different flavors or ingredients to give your water even better health benefits:
Lemon or lime
Both lemon and lime water can improve your body’s detoxification process. This reduces the wear and tear on your skin cells and provides helpful vitamins (like vitamin C) to improve skin repair and enhance collagen production.
Fresh mint leaves
Mint not only makes your water taste refreshing, but it also offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that improve your skin’s balance.
Chia seeds are a powerful superfood that contains fiber, protein, unsaturated fats, antioxidants, and several vitamins and minerals. Add them to your water for extra hydration, reduced skin irritation, and healthier digestion.
#2 - Aim to eat the rainbow.
Eating a wide range of colorful foods helps ensure you get a healthy balance of different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed to protect and nourish your skin (as well as your brain, joints, heart, and other areas that need more support as we age). Shop for these colorful foods (or whatever local produce is available in your area):
Red: high in antioxidants
Raspberries, cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, red bell peppers, radicchio, red chili peppers, salmon.
Orange: high in carotenoids
Carrots, oranges, mangoes, persimmons, sweet potatoes, pumpkin.
Yellow: high in carotenoids
Lemons, grapefruit, yellow bell peppers, Swiss chard, spaghetti squash, ginger, turmeric, egg yolk.
Green: high in antioxidants and chlorophyll
Dark leafy greens, green beans, green bell peppers, jalapenos, sweet peas, limes, asparagus, zucchini, broccoli, Brussels sprouts.
Blue / Purple: high in anthocyanins
Blueberries, blackberries, plums, beets, red cabbage, eggplant, blackcurrants, elderberries, blue-green algae.
Black: high in minerals and antioxidants
Black beans, black rice, black sesame seeds, nigella, black cumin, black garlic.
White: high in anthoxanthins
Turnips, cauliflower, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, jicama, onions, mushrooms, leeks, garlic.
#3 - Cook low, slow, and moist.
Low and slow cooking methods that use water (such as braising, steaming, simmering, soups, or sous vide) are the best cooking methods to avoid AGEs. Avoid grilled, fried, or seared foods, especially when they are high in fat and sugar.
Soups, stews, and porridges can be a particularly good way to eat for your skin health. They offer an easy way to enjoy many different vegetables and spices (and all their antioxidant power) while getting a hydrating boost through the broth.
But when it comes to broth, don’t just reach for the bouillon cubes. These are highly processed and often contain high levels of sodium which can rob your skin of moisture. Instead, consider using bone broth or homemade stock to make your water-based dishes. Bone broth is rich in collagen, giving your skin and joints the elasticity and strength they need. Some studies also suggest it can help repair the intestinal lining for a healthier gut, too.
#4 - Take a probiotic.
As we’ve seen, what you eat matters when it comes to preventing the signs of aging. But you won’t get the benefits of these skin-boosting foods if you aren’t digesting them properly. That’s where probiotics come in.
Probiotics are helpful microbes that help restore healthy balance to your gut microbiome. When your gut microbiome has many diverse “good” bacteria, you are best equipped to fully digest and assimilate the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from these healing foods.
Studies show that probiotics also have anti-aging benefits; they have been shown to improve the skin’s pH, reduce oxidative stress, reduce photoaging, improve the skin’s barrier, and even boost hair quality.
While you can find probiotics in many fermented foods, it can be hard to get enough probiotics to make a difference in your gut and skin health through diet alone. That’s why Dr. Danielle created the Spore-Based Probiotic blend. This probiotic supplement offers an effective blend of Bacillus spores for a healthier gut flora that supports your digestive system, immune system, and skin.
#5 - Prevent with supplements for graceful aging.
Eating the right foods for healthy aging is step one. Step two is supplementing with high-quality products to help you achieve your goals faster and smarter.
For most people, aging first impacts skin, hair, and joints. You’ll start to notice changes in your skin’s texture, you may start to lose your hair, and your body doesn’t seem to move as easily as it once did. To slow these signs of aging (or start preventing them early), these supplements can help:
Hair, Skin, & Nails
This formula uses biotin, a powerful compound that strengthens hair and nails and keeps skin supple. Other ingredients like rice phytoceramides and coconut water moisturize the skin from within.
Royal jelly is a densely-nutritious jelly secreted by honey bees to feed their treasured queen bee. Studies show that royal jelly contains powerful anti-aging compounds that could help slow the skin’s aging process.
No matter how nutritious your diet is, you won’t win the fight against wrinkles if you are chronically stressed. Not only does stress lead to wrinkles from frowning and pursed lips, but it also increases inflammation which leads to poor skin quality and faster aging. With Stress Lift, you can help your mind, body, and skin bounce back from the negative effects of stress.
Stay Young, Inside and Out
Graceful aging is more than just looking young – it’s about maintaining your body’s natural state of health and vitality no matter how many birthdays you’ve celebrated. A healthy diet and supplements can protect and rejuvenate your skin. But the best part is that they also help improve your overall health so you can live a long and healthy life.