Updated: May 28
It’s really true that you are what you eat: Food is the most natural anti-wrinkle treatment. It has the power to defend your complexion against aging, improving your skin tone and texture, and reduce dryness and wrinkling. Granted, other lifestyle factors, like sun protection and your skincare regimen, are also key, but the foods you eat can improve the look of your skin from the inside out. Of course, the reverse is true, too. Too many foods with added sugars and refined grains (think: white pasta or rice) can accelerate skin aging. For anyone who wants to look and feel their best, it’s a good idea to eat anti-wrinkle foods regularly and limit how often you eat these skin wreckers. This advice will not only lead to more radiant, youthful skin, but also a healthier body and mind. Here are 7 powerful foods that should be part of your natural anti-wrinkle treatment arsenal!
Broccoli is a surprising and notable source of vitamin C, an anti-wrinkle antioxidant. As we age, we start to produce less collagen, which is your skin’s support system. This is why your skin begins to wrinkle and sag. But our diets can also impact this process. Your body needs vitamin C to stimulate collagen syntheses, and taking in enough may help slow down this process. Be sure to eat plenty of vitamin C-rich foods and pay close attention to this nutrient if you’re under stress or participate tough workouts since both may lead to higher-than-average vitamin C needs. Roast a batch of fresh broccoli to serve as a simple side dish, add frozen, heated broccoli to canned veggie soups, or serve broccoli as part of a veggie-centric stir-fry.
Nuts vary widely in the amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they supply. Almonds happen to be especially rich in vitamin E, another antioxidant that’s part of your skin’s natural defense system. Vitamin E-rich foods are part of a natural anti-wrinkle treatment plan because these foods may help calm the internal inflammatory process that can play a role in skin damage, and getting insufficient vitamin E has been linked to skin dryness. In addition to snacking on almonds, try adding slivered, toasted almonds to yogurt or oatmeal, use them as an alternative to croutons in salads, or stir them into soups for a little crunch.
Orange-hued foods, like sweet potatoes, are rich in beta-carotene, an anti-wrinkling carotenoid that’s a derivative of vitamin A. In food, beta-carotene can help boost your skin’s natural sun protection and defend it from sun-induced damage that can cause age-related changes to your skin. On top of that, eating sweet potatoes and other foods rich in this nutrient can also give you a lovely glow that’s rated in research as more attractive than a tan. Talk about a natural anti-aging treatment! Sweet potatoes can be cut lengthwise and roasted, and then swapped for toast as a vehicle for anything from avocados to nut butters.
The key carotenoid in tomatoes, lycopene, can mount an internal defense against sun damage. Certainly, nothing replaces your sunscreen routine, but enjoying cooked tomatoes, like canned tomatoes and lower-sugar tomato sauces, may offer some protection against skin cancer. An easy weeknight meal: Shakshuka made with lower-sugar jarred marinara sauce, a handful of baby spinach, and a some eggs. I like to add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to finish it off.
Your microbiome (the term for the trillions of good bacteria that live in your gut) is not only host to your immune system, but a healthy microbiome helps manage your body’s inflammatory response. Nourishing the bacteria in your gut may help improve skin conditions, like acne and eczema, promoting more healthier-looking skin. Plus, Greek yogurt is rich in protein—the nutrient that supplies the raw materials your body needs to produce collagen. That makes it another winning food in the fight against wrinkles.
This oily fish supplies the essential omega-3 fats that are in short supply in our diets. These fats are crucial to lowering inflammation, and studies suggest that people who eat more omega-3s experience beauty benefits, like more youthful looking skin with less dryness and wrinkling. It’s a good idea to mix up your seafood (say, salmon one night, tuna another) and to eat fish twice a week. Walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds are plant-based sources of omega-3s, and while your body doesn’t absorb them as efficiently, it’s still a good idea to add them to your meals and snacks.
Your favorite health food contains polyphenols known as cocoa flavanols, which are potent antioxidants that nourish your skin and offset damage. In theory, these compounds may protect your skin in a couple of ways: by enhancing blood flow, which helps nourish your skin and has been shown to improve skin moisture, as well as buffering some of the damage caused by the sun. In one study among women over 40, those who consumed a beverage rich in these cocoa compounds experienced reductions in wrinkling and improvements in elasticity, compared to those whose beverage didn’t contain these nutrients.
I hate to be a buzz kill, but dark chocolate is also a source of added sugar, and as noted, added sugars can damage your skin. It’s a great treat, but make sure to indulge in only a little bit each day (up to 1.5 oz) and vary your sources of polyphenols to get the range of protection they offer. Other polyphenol-rich foods include green tea, grapes, cherries, and culinary herbs and spices, such as turmeric and cinnamon.
Adding these seven powerful foods to your anti-wrinkle treatment plan can help you rejuvenate your skin, body, and mind by supplying the nutrients you need to optimize your health and thrive! If you want to learn more about what these powerful nutrients can do for you, check out my post on the Body Mind Benefits of Clean Eating.