In this article I am going to talk about something that people often want to know and that is what sort of foods are there or what kind of diet is there that would potentially be anti-aging or good for preventing wrinkles.
List of Anti Aging Foods
Top 32 Super Foods That Support Anti-Aging
If you want to look and feel younger, if you want to have healthier skin, hair and nails then you need to consume these foods and herbs:
- Sweet potato
- Spinach and kale
- Bell peppers
- Sesame seeds
- Green Tea
- Raw cacao
- Yogurt and kefir
- Fermented foods (sauerkraut, pickles, miso)
- Fish (salmon, tuna, sardines)
- Olive oil
- Bone Broth
- Flax seed
I’m not going to talk about supplements because they are not regulated and therefore there’s a lot of variability from supplement to supplement. The data to support the use of different supplements is limited and so I am hesitant to recommend supplements.
But what about foods and diet?
We do have some evidence that certain dietary patterns, certain patterns of food and nutrient intake from foods can potentially (I emphasize potentially) impact skin aging.
Things that contribute to skin aging are just time going by.
Things like age-related decline of protein synthesis or our skin barrier becomes less rigorous as we get older, leading to dryness more readily, these are all age-related changes that occur and will occur. It’s just inevitable part of aging.
But you can slow the rate by which those accumulative changes occur by keeping in mind your sun exposure habits and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
The majority of aging to the skin is due to ultraviolet light that we’re exposed to. That really ages our skin quite a bit.
We have some evidence that a diet rich in antioxidant dense foods can potentially slow the rate of skin aging and put off some of the signs of skin aging, like wrinkling, discoloration, sagging and skin
Antioxidant rich foods include plants, vegetables, coffee and tea. We do have some evidence that a high consumption of green tea, which is rich in polyphenols, can help potentially slow the rate of skin aging and wrinkling.
There was a study looking at Celtic, Greek and Swedish people and people in those groups that consumed diets high in vegetables, legumes and olive oil, all foods rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, that those individuals had a lower amount of skin wrinkles.
In that same study, however, they also showed that individuals who consume diets rich in meats dairy and animal fat butter had more wrinkles, suggesting that a plant rich diet could be protective against wrinkling, whereas an animal fat rich diet could set the stage for worsening skin aging.
One of the things you have to bear in mind hearing studies like that and hearing findings like that, it’s actually really hard to do diet studies at all.
First of all how are you going to reasonably obtain some of these dietary history from their entire lifetime. It’s really difficult to do that in a rigorous way.
How do you know that early on in life they didn’t eat a certain diet that set them up for either benefit or failure later on down the road. You can’t control that.
Also diet can be one of those things that is guilty by association. For example, in the case of this study, one might think or one potential explanation is that it’s not necessarily the foods that made those individuals have less wrinkles, but maybe there is something about their lifestyle.
You can imagine that someone whose occupation is as a rancher and they are outside working in the sun, they have more sun exposure and perhaps as a result of their profession they consume a diet that leans more towards animal-based foods, meats, butter, etc., less on plants and perhaps that is why they have more aging.
Just because they’re out in the sun more, which we already know and it has nothing to do with their diet. Their diet is just guilty by association.
There was another study looking at the diets of 4,000 women and they found that of those women women who consumed diets that had foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium had less wrinkling than the women who had diets that had less of those nutrients.
These are all present in their food, not as supplements, I want to emphasize that. This study was just looking at specific vitamins within foods rather than as supplements.
It was also shown that a diet that was high in fats and carbs was associated with more wrinkles.
I already mentioned green tea, but what about coffee.
Studies on coffee are all over the place. There was one Japanese study that showed that coffee consumption was associated with less hyperpigmentation related to sun damage.
However, there were two other studies in different populations, I believe Europeans, not Japanese, that showed that coffee had no effect on wrinkles or photo damage or signs of skin aging.
We also have another study that showed that coffee drinkers seem to have a lower risk of melanoma and then we also have another study recently that coffee drinkers seem to have a lower incidence of rosacea.
So the jury is still out on coffee but I will not stop drinking coffee. I love it and I need it but obviously in moderation. Excessive caffeine consumption is not good on any body system, so limiting it to one to two cups a day is prudent, and if you’re sensitive to caffeine, avoid it.
It’s also worth noting that individuals who consume beta-carotene rich foods, like carrots, they can actually raise their minimal erythemal dose. It is a measure of the minimal amount of UV exposure required to begin to elicit damage in the skin.
That damage is subsequently going to set the stage for actinic damage and sun damage and aging of the skin. So by consuming diets rich in beta-carotene can lower the amount of damage from UV
Our skin has its own antioxidant system, but that becomes overwhelmed very quickly and very easily. Potentially replenishing them through food sources is another measure to further lessen the burden of sun damage that we are encountering on a day to day basis.
That in combination with sunscreens, sun protection measures, avoiding prolonged sun exposure are probably the most prudent things that you can do to protect the skin from aging.
Outside of antioxidants and their likely benefit for anti-aging effect, it’s definitely worthwhile to discuss the effect of high sugar diets.
Consuming too much sugar is assumed to accelerate skin aging by formation of something called advanced glycation end-products.
These are basically when sugar binds on to a protein or a lipid in our skin and makes kind of cement type substance that is very damaging and can impair and break up and disrupt our skin or deep skin matrix, and ultimately leads to wrinkle formation.
Furthermore, in the presence of ultraviolet light, advanced glycation end-products deposited in the deeper layers of the skin, their outcome and their negative consequence on skin aging are further augmented and it can be quite damaging to the skin.
A diet that promotes formation of advanced glycation end-products in combination with excessive sun exposure really sets the stage for accelerated photo aging and aging in the skin and wrinkles.
In the diet, advanced glycation end-products come from foods that are cooked at very high temperatures, sugary foods in particular that are cooked at high temperatures, smoking and frying also results in the formation of advanced glycation end-products.
Probably one of the most aging foods that you could eat as far as consuming advanced glycation end-products is a smoked meat.
The combination of the sugary barbecue sauce and the smoking of the meat that is a double-edged sword of advanced glycation products and then you’re eating that outside in the sun.
That is aging on a plate right there.
We have good we have good reason to believe that diets high in sugary based foods and smoked meats do contribute to wrinkling and aging of the skin as well as a host of other medical problems.
Many people want to know do I think a vegan diet is anti aging or is that something to consider for anti aging and there is no evidence to support a vegan diet for anything.
If you look at the world’s population, the percentage of individuals following a vegan diet is quite low, so you can imagine that we’re not going to really get a good sense of any established benefits of a vegan diet.
However, if you eat vegan diets that are rich in plant-based foods, you’re likely getting the benefit from that. That’s not to say that other diets, like the Mediterranean diet, which includes modest amounts of animal proteins, like fish, are somehow aging or bad.
In fact we have evidence to support the benefit of Mediterranean diet and it is rich in antioxidants, it’s rich in olive oil and has modest consumption of animal proteins.
In regard to a low-protein diet, many people have verbalized concerns can a low protein diet contribute to aging.
Low protein is pretty uncommon but protein deficient states can impair wound healing. We need protein to regenerate collagen in the skin and close up a wound. So it makes logical sense that protein deficient states would also accelerate the rate of skin aging and loss of collagen and suppleness in the skin.
There’s a lot of enthusiasm for taking collagen peptides to boost collagen production as we get older and our body makes less protein overall.
There is a small amount of evidence in support of collagen supplements and bioaktiv collagen peptides specifically in boosting skin suppleness, firmness, improving the appearance of wrinkles. The evidence to support its use is quite modest.
So consuming veggies and fruits seems to be helpful for skin health, for overall health, for lowering rates of cardiovascular disease.
There is good evidence for Mediterranean diet as far as longevity and cardiovascular health as well as skin health. There is evidence that limiting the consumption of meat and dairy and animal derived fats does have some potential benefit in reducing the rate of skin aging.