Eat these foods to look younger (and feel great!)

This might seem strange, but an unhealthy diet could be the culprit behind signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles on the face.

The skin relies on two proteins, namely collagen and elastin, to maintain its firmness and elasticity. As people grow older, the body produces less collagen and elastin, causing the signs of skin aging.

The body’s natural antioxidant-fighting capabilities may be overpowered by free radical molecules which are produced naturally as people age. These free radicals contain oxygen, and the former damage collagen and elastin. This damage also changes the function and structure of the skin cells.

The skin is also damaged by factors like exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, an unhealthy diet, and smoking. These three factors create more free radical molecules.

When the skin sustains enough damage over time, it will look dry and frail. Skin damage can also magnify the fine lines and wrinkles on the face.

Nutricosmetics for younger looking skin

To address this concern, experts are working on natural solutions via nutricosmetics, an “emerging area in dermatology referring to the use of nutrition and nutritional supplements for skin health.”

Dermatologist Dr. Patricia Farris, clinical assistant professor at Tulane University School of Medicine and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology, said that according to research, following a healthy diet that utilizes certain nutrients can help manage the signs of aging.

Maye Musk, a 70-year-old registered dietitian and nutritionist, is also an in-demand supermodel. She credits a “daily sensible plant-based eating plan,” which is similar to the Mediterranean diet, for her incredibly young-looking skin and boundless energy.

Musk shared, “My healthy diet has served me well over the years.”

Check out these research-proven diet changes for youthful skin:

Eat more collagen-rich foods for smoother skin. Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is found in meat and poultry. When people consume protein, it is broken down to amino acids which the body absorbs to meet all its protein needs. They are turned into hormones, enzymes, and the collagen in the bones, tendons, and skin.

Research on the use of nutritional supplements with hydrolyzed collagen shows promise as an additional anti-aging and collagen-booster. Based on study results, this type of hydrolyzed collagen is not broken down into amino acids but instead, is absorbed intact. Because of this, the hydrolyzed collagen helps trigger cells that generate more collagen and elastin in the skin.

These foods can help boost and repair collagen:

  • Beans (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
  • Berries
  • Bone broth
  • Garlic
  • Lean fish
  • Lean, grass-fed meat
  • Lean poultry
  • Vegetables (dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach)

Follow a diet rich in linoleic acid. According to research, the most abundant fatty acid in the skin, linoleic acid, is linked to a lower chance of having thinning skin. The thinning of the skin can magnify the appearance of wrinkles on the face. In a study involving about 4,000 women, older participants who had lower dietary intakes of both linoleic acid and vitamin C also had drier skin.

Foods that contain linoleic acid include:

  • Almonds
  • Canola oil
  • Edamame
  • Soybean oil
  • Walnuts

Consume more vitamin C. Dr. Farris noted that aside from being an antioxidant that can fight free radicals, vitamin C is required so enzymes can produce collagen. Foods rich in vitamin C can help protect the skin from ultraviolet aging when exposed to sunlight, reduce wrinkles, and regenerate skin cells.

Based on research, diets that include lots of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C are linked to healthier skin among women. (Related: Look younger and lose weight naturally.)

These foods are rich in vitamin C:

  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruits
  • Kiwi
  • Papaya
  • Red and green peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

Avoid eating sugary foods. Dr. Farris warns that “a high-sugar diet can damage collagen and elastin fibers, causing them to lose their elasticity, leading to more wrinkles and sagging skin.” Meanwhile, following a diet with little to no added sugars and refined carbohydrates can make the skin look smoother.

When craving sweets, eat these naturally sweet, antioxidant-rich foods that fight free radicals instead:

  • Cantaloupes
  • Grapes
  • Pineapples
  • Watermelon

While it’s impossible to turn back the clock, nutricosmetics and these four diet changes can help nourish the skin.

Read more articles about foods that can make you look younger and feel healthier at

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