Many of us invest a lot of time and effort to help keep us looking younger for longer. Some even invest hundreds of dollars in creams, serums and treatments that slow down skin ageing. However, let’s not forget the importance of keeping our bodies young on the inside as well. What we put into our mouths is just as important as what we put on our skin, so here are eight foods that can help protect against the effects of ageing and keep us looking and feeling young.
Lychees contain a polyphenolic compound called Oligonol. This compound has been shown to slow down cellular ageing, thereby extending the lifespan of our cells. Since our bodies are made up of a countless number of cells, this is a great start in keeping our bodies younger and healthier for longer.
Good news for chocolate lovers, Cacao actually has some great anti-ageing benefits, and not just because eating chocolate makes you feel good. Cacao has been found to have higher levels of the antioxidant compounds known as phenolics and flavonoids than black or even green tea. Not only this, but they seem to be stronger in cacao too. Antioxidants are important in protecting our cells from free-radical damage, and the flavonols in cacao seem to help protect the skin against UV damage too , while improving the overall appearance and health of the skin. Several other studies also show that the epicatechin and catechin (the flavonois in cacao) may help to keep the brain healthy as well. ⁵
3. Red Onions
Red Onions contain a compound called Quercetin, which has an abundance of health properties. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and it can help to regulate the genes responsible for the skin, to help keep it looking younger. Quercetin also helps your body get rid of any proteins that are old or damaged, keeping you younger and healthier on the inside too.
This Chinese fruit is often overlooked in Western diets, but they contain oligomeric proanthocyanidins, which have some great health benefits. One study showed great promise with its results in testing the anti-ageing benefits of this compound, showing that it may help to protect the brain from the effects of ageing and help us live longer.⁷ Another study indicated that Persimmons also have antioxidant benefits, helping to protect our cells from free radical damage. ⁸
Chia seeds have become increasingly popular as a superfood over the last few years and they do have some great health benefits. They are packed full of antioxidants, such as quercetin, which, as mentioned earlier, protects our cells from oxidative stress and helps skin appear younger. Chia seeds are also an excellent source of fibre, omega 3 fatty acids and they are very mineral dense, making it a great source of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. So why not try making chia pudding or adding some Chia seeds to your muesli or smoothie for a great health kick.
This sweet, delicious fruit is great on its own or added to a salad, and it’s packed full of nutrition. Not only do pomegranates have antioxidant levels that are up to three times higher than those found in green tea, studies have also shown that the polyphenols in pomegranates can help to protect the skin against ultraviolet damage.¹⁰ That’s a great reason to enjoy this tasty fruit.
Flaxseeds contain essential fatty acids which can provide benefits to heart health and reduce inflammation. A selection of studies have also found flaxseeds to have some antioxidant benefit and it has even been used to manage symptoms of menopause.⁵ A study involving women also shows that taking flaxseed oil may help to improve skin hydration and appearance,¹⁰ helping us to not only age slower on the inside, but look younger as well.
8. Oily Fish
Oily fish has long been known as an excellent source of essential fatty acids, or good fats. These are beneficial in maintaining a healthy heart, supporting brain function and reducing inflammation, all very important factors when we consider anti-ageing nutrition. However, did you know, that the essential fatty acids in oily fish can also help to protect your body from the damage caused by UV rays? In a small clinical study it was found that people who added poly-unsaturated fatty acids to their diet had reduced amounts of sun damage evident in their skin. ¹⁰
Looking after our bodies is an important part of managing the ageing process. A healthy balanced diet incorporating some good anti-ageing foods, combined with a healthy amount of exercise and plenty of pure water are paramount to keeping us looking and feeling younger for longer.
5. Braun, L. & Cohen, M. 2015, Herbs and Natural Supplements Volume 2, Churchill Livingstone, Chatswood NSW Australia.
7. Yokozawa, T. et al. 2011, “Anti-ageing effects of oligomeric proanthocyanidins isolated from persimmon fruits”, Drug Discovery Therapy, Vol. 5(3) pp. 109-118.
8. Hosotani, K. et al. 2005, “Effects of administration of beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, persimmons, and pods on antioxidative ability in UV-irradiated ODS rats”, Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, Vol. 75, pp. 227-234.
10. Git, M. 2000; Park, HM 2010; De Spirit, S. 2009 & Boelsma, E. et al. 2001 in Spritzler, F. 2016, “11 Foods That can Help You Look Younger”, www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-foods-to-look-younger#section1.