It’s inevitable: we all get older. And as we age, our skin becomes more prone to wrinkles and sagging. It’s a sad truth, we know. Yet, you can slow the progression of wrinkles and fight aging by eating a diet that’s rich in whole foods that promote skin tautness and collagen production and fight free radical damage, too.
“I think as with all things with aging, a lot of it is about what you don’t want to eat rather than what you do,” says Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, Celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist in New York City. “Most importantly, you want to minimize and avoid foods that will age you quickly, such as sugar, dairy, white flour, alcohol, and foods with gluten, which are inflammatory.”
But if you’re looking to prevent wrinkles, Dr. Frank recommends following a Mediterranean diet, and one that is extra high in fruits and vegetables, as these brightly colored foods are packed with antioxidants and will promote collagen healing, he explains. To help you load up on the foods to best keep you wrinkle-free, here are a couple of staples that will satisfy your belly, add color to your plate, and of course, keep your skin dewy and youthful. And be sure to add any of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now to your diet, too.
This cruciferous veggie is not only great for adding fiber and plant-based protein to your diet, but it can also fight off an invasion of wrinkles.
“Broccoli is my favorite green vegetable to prevent wrinkles as it has a huge anti-inflammatory and anti-aging component,” Dr. Frank says. Enjoy it sautéed with garlic and olive oil as an easy side dish. (And just you know, here is your guide to the anti-inflammatory diet that heals your gut, slows the signs of aging, and helps you lose weight.)
Maybe this veggie was the key to the legendary Popeye’s skincare routine.
“Spinach is super hydrating and has a bunch of antioxidant vitamins including A, C, E, and K, and it is rich in iron and magnesium for muscle building,” Dr. Frank says. Use it in salads or stuff some into an omelet for a protein-dense breakfast to start the day right.
“Nuts, especially almonds, are great because they have the type of fats that are good for cell membranes and that protect against sun damage,” Dr. Frank says. This will keep your skin more youthful, taut, and overall just healthy long-term. Enjoy as a nut butter spread or by the handful!
This green machine is trendy for a reason.
“Avocados are great because they are full of healthy fats, contain antioxidant vitamins, and have inflammation-fighting fatty acids,” Dr. Frank says. Enjoy as a dip or chop or slice to use in salads, egg dishes, tacos, and more.
These small berries are high in antioxidants to promote heart health and to fight free radical damage that can wreak havoc on the skin.
“One of my favorite fruits is blueberries, which are rich in vitamins A and C and prevent collagen loss,” Dr. Frank says. Go ahead and enjoy some in a bowl of Greek yogurt or oatmeal.
In addition to monounsaturated lipids, olive oil contains antioxidants such as vitamin E and polyphenol.
“Vitamin E can prevent collagen breakdown in the skin, which results in wrinkles, and polyphenols have been shown to work well with sunscreen to prevent UV from damaging the skin and may prevent skin cancer,” says Erum N. Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD, dermatologist and CEO and founder of AmberNoon.
Fish, such as halibut, mackerel, salmon, and tuna, contains omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation caused by UV rays.
“It is thought that fish lowers prostaglandin E2 levels to prevent collagen breakdown and some studies have shown that in combination with vitamin E and C, omega-3 fatty acids can promote collagen synthesis,” Dr. Ilyas says.
Lentils, as well as all legumes, are high in folate, potassium, iron, and magnesium, all of which are essential nutrients for skin health that work in conjunction with other antioxidants to prevent premature aging of the skin.
“Folate applied topically to the skin has been shown to increase the firmness and elasticity of the skin,” adds Dr. Ilyas.
Lycopene is a carotenoid, which is another powerful antioxidant with photoprotective qualities, and it may aid in the prevention of wrinkle formation, says Dr. Ilyas. It gives red berries and fruits their distinctive color, so enjoy all those raspberries, strawberries, watermelon.
Eggs are high in protein, which is needed for skin elasticity and to fight the aging process. So, enjoy eggs hard-boiled as a snack or for breakfast in a frittata, along with those leafy greens and broccoli inside!