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Anti-Aging Diet

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
fish and vegetables meal

If you're like many Americans, age is just a number and looking younger is always on your radar. Certain lifestyle behaviors -- like sun protection and healthy weight management -- do affect how old you look. Even eating certain foods keeps you looking younger. An anti-aging diet helps fight wrinkles and can take years off your appearance.

10 Foods to Fight Aging

Regularly eating the following ten foods may help you fight aging.

1. Carotenoid-Rich Fruits and Veggies

Carotenoids, powerful antioxidants found in certain fruits and vegetables, have anti-aging properties, according to a 2012 review published in Dermato Endocrinology. Examples of carotenoids include beta carotene, alpha carotene, lycopene, lutein, and astaxanthin.

Carotenoid-rich foods (often orange in color) include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Winter squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Papaya
  • Mangoes

Spinach is also a good source of carotenoids, and carotenoid supplements are available. Aim to eat at least one serving of carotenoid-rich foods daily.

2. Green Tea

Polyphenol-rich green tea may help prevent skin damage from the sun because it does so in animal studies, according to a 2014 review published in the Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. Furthermore, green tea appears to help improve skin elasticity, note authors of the 2012 review in Dermato Endocrinology. Add green tea to your daily meal plan or choose polyphenol supplements to help fight aging. Add one to two cups of green tea to your diet daily.

3. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is often found in beauty products, but did you know that ingesting this gel is also beneficial for a youthful appearance? A 2009 study published in the Annals of Dermatology found study subjects who ingested 1,200 to 3,600 milligrams of aloe vera gel supplements daily for 90 days showed improvements in skin elasticity and the appearance of wrinkles.

4. Berries

Because berries are rich in antioxidants, which help prevent free radical damage to your skin, these tasty fruits make excellent additions to anti-aging meal plans. Eat berries several time per week to reap health and beauty benefits.

Mayo Clinic notes that the best fruit sources of antioxidants include the following:

  • Cranberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries

5. Grapes

Grapes, especially the skin of the grapes, contain polyphenols, which are beneficial when you want to maintain a youthful appearance. Grape polyphenols are powerful antioxidants with anti-aging properties, according to 2010 review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Authors of this review point out that polyphenols in grapes also help protect against heart disease and cancer. Eat grapes several times weekly.

6. Nuts

Nuts are also rich in anti-aging antioxidants. According to Mayo Clinic, the best sources include:

  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts

Nuts are also rich in heart-healthy fats, which are a must for healthy, hydrated, younger-looking skin. Eat nuts most days of the week for best results.

7. Vitamin D

Many U.S. adults get too little vitamin D, and deficiencies in this essential nutrient can accelerate the aging process, according to a 2010 study published in Cancer Causes and Control. Results of the study indicate that getting too little vitamin D is associated with wrinkling and other age-associated skin damage. So, stock up on vitamin D supplements or vitamin D-rich foods to stay young. Foods containing vitamin D include:

  • Fish
  • Low-fat milk
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Egg yolks
  • Vitamin D fortified plant-based milks

The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 15 micrograms daily for adults, and 20 micrograms per day for older adults over age 70.

8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You may know that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for a healthy heart and brain development in children, but these essential fatty acids also have anti-aging effects. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of omega-3s for protecting the brain -- and slowing cognitive decline associated with aging, like dementia. So add omega-3s to your anti-aging meal plan. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in:

  • Fatty fish
  • Purified fish oil supplements
  • Walnuts
  • Walnut oil
  • Flax seeds
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pumpkin seed oil
  • Soybean oil

According to Mayo Clinic, adults need 300 to 500 milligrams of omega-3s DHA plus EPA, and 800 to 1,100 milligrams of ALA (another type of omega-3) daily.

9. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10), a powerful antioxidant, has also been shown to impact aging positively. A 2009 study published in Biofactors found that Co Q10 has anti-aging properties and helps reduce wrinkles. Good dietary sources of CoQ10 include:

  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Soybean oil
  • Canola oil
  • Nuts

Add Co Q10-rich foods to your meal plan several times weekly. Co Q10 supplements are also available.

10. Soy Isoflavones

Isoflavones found in soy products are known anti-aging agents that help fight wrinkles, according to the 2014 review published in the Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. A 2009 study in Food and Chemical Toxicology found that in mice, soy isoflavones reduced signs of aging and Alzheimer's disease. To get your daily dose of soy isoflavones, consider the following foods:

  • Tofu
  • Soymilk
  • Soy yogurt

You can also try soy isoflavone supplements but ask your doctor first. Incorporate soy into your diet several times weekly.

Anti-Aging Diets

In addition to choosing anti-aging foods, controlling your calorie intake is a must to maintain a youthful appearance. In fact, calorie restriction is the most effective dietary strategy for anti-aging in numerous animal studies, according to a 2016 review published in F1000 Research. Authors of this review note that lower protein intakes are also effective for healthy aging and increasing your lifespan.

The Beauty Detox Solution is one diet that claims to help you look and feel younger. This diet is packed with fruits, veggies, nuts, and healthy oils -- and limits gluten, dairy, meat, and salt. This and other anti-aging diets are essentially basic healthy eating plans. If you're not used to eating clean, following this type of diet is beneficial for a youthful appearance and healthy weight management.

Bottom Line

The most important dietary anti-aging strategies are to include foods and supplements with known anti-aging effects in your meal plan and reduce your overall calorie intake if you're overweight.

Anti-Aging Diet