1 – Green Tea
Okay, so this technically isn’t a food product but it’s still a worthy addition to this list. Green tea has been popular in the East in places such as Japan and China for centuries but in the last few decades it’s started to grow in popularity here in the West too and for good reason! Green tea is a rich source of polyphenols, and in particular, a specific group of polyphenols called catechins. Catechins are capable of destroying the free-radical molecules that are often responsible for premature ageing, so sipping on a cup of green tea could do your skin the world of good!
2 – Pineapple
It’s just coming into summer here in the UK and this exotic fruit is in high demand. Pineapples are favoured for their sweet and slightly tart flavour but they also pack a real punch against premature ageing, as they’re extremely rich in antioxidants to combat free radical damage, not to mention they also contain bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme. Capable of reducing inflammation, particularly in the gut, I’d definitely get round to adding this to your fruit salads and smoothies this summer – I’ve already listed a few of my favourite pineapple recipes below to get you started!
Pineapple & Avocado Smoothie
Pineapple Ice Lollies
3 – Pomegranates
From one amazing super fruit to another, pomegranate seeds are really making a name for themselves when it comes to ageing, often being present in anti-ageing creams and lotions. Similar to pineapples, pomegranates are rich in antioxidants which can help to prevent free radical damage but they also offer an additional benefit. In fact, in 2016, it was found that a molecule produced by pomegranates may help muscle cells protect themselves against a big cause of ageing.1
The molecule, dubbed Urolithin A, is believed to promote mitophagy, a process that allows the defective part of cells to be cleared away. The downside is that not everyone will be able to benefit from this molecule – you need the right sort of bacteria in your gut to convert this this molecule into Urolithin A2, which brings me on to my next super-food….
4 – Kefir
Recently there’s been a lot of fuss about probiotics and how they can help everything from your gut to your immune system and yes, your skin. This is because your gut is extremely important for all areas of your body – after all, it isn’t known as your second brain for nothing!
The health of your gut depends on a balance of unfriendly and friendly bacteria – too many unfriendly bacteria and you may struggle to digest your food properly and absorb the nutrients your skin needs to function properly. This is when you may exhibit digestive symptoms such as constipation and bloating, which can cause toxins and waste products to build up in your body, ultimately weakening your skin and causing widespread inflammation.
That’s why probiotic foods and supplements have become so popular as probiotics help to top up your levels of friendly bacteria. Kefir is a lightly fermented milk that is naturally rich in probiotics, helping to support your gut and the natural balance of your skin – in fact one study found that kefiran, a carbohydrate found in kefir, could help to protect your connective tissues and promote wound healing!3
5 – Oats
The health benefits of oats are extremely well-known and by now most us are aware of the benefits of a bowl of oatmeal or porridge. Oats are low GI carbohydrate which means they can have a stabilising effect on your blood sugar levels. They also contain plenty of fibre, which can help to support your digestive system and offset hunger cravings, keeping you fuller for longer. Surprisingly, oats also contain plenty of antioxidants too, including avenathramides, which have a natural anti-inflammatory effect. A winner all round, these recipes are some creative options if you’re getting tired of the same old bowl of porridge.
Chocolate & Coconut Overnight Oats
Almond & Strawberry Jam Flapjacks
6 – Blueberries and raspberries
A slight cheat but so much has been said already about blueberries and their high content of antioxidants that I thought I’d speak a little bit about raspberries too! Similar to blueberries, raspberries are packed full of antioxidants, especially anthocyanins, which can help to support your skin and collagen-boosting vitamin C! Both of these fruits are extremely popular, especially during summer, so I’d recommend getting more them into your diet using these delicious recipes!
Raspberry & Blueberry Smoothie with Coconut Milk
7 – Soybeans
There’s a huge market these days for dairy-free products such as soy milk, tofu and tempeh which are all derived from soybeans. When it comes to ageing skin, soybeans contain a compound known as isoflavones. Isoflavones are counted as a phytoestrogen, making them quite popular with menopausal women. However according to studies this compound may also help to improve the appearance of ageing skin.
One study in particular, conducted in Japan and published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Viaminology, found that a daily 40mg dose of soy agylcones over a period of 12 weeks visibly improved the skin of 26 female volunteers, ranging in age from late 30s to early 40s.4 Given the small scale of this study though, more investigation is still needed. However, it couldn’t hurt to go about improving your intake, especially if you are menopausal! As I mentioned earlier, soybeans are used in a wide variety of food products but here are just a few of my favourite soy-based recipes.
Tasty Tofu Kebabs
Marinated Tofu Stir Fry
8 – Turmeric
Turmeric is definitely on trend at the moment, with everything from turmeric face masks to supplements now being sold in health food stores up and down the country. This antioxidant-rich spice owes the majority of its success to a crucial compound, curcumin, which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, helping to ease inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis.
When it comes to ageing skin, it’s thought that turmeric may have a positive impact on collagen, a key structural protein for our skin that can start to diminish with age. Turmeric is also believed to help boost your micro-circulation, ensuring that plenty of oxygenated blood and nutrients can make it to your skin, improving its overall radiance.
Of course, while I’m all for natural, organic skin masks, it’s still important that you consider increasing your internal intake of turmeric. You can do this by including this spice in recipes such as curries and stews or even by enjoying a soothing turmeric latte. If you seriously want to up your intake though it may be worth considering a natural turmeric supplement that’s readily absorbed by your digestive system, such as BetterYou’s award winning Turmeric Oral Spray.
9 – Salmon
When it comes to ageing skin, the importance of omega 3 fatty acids really cannot be undersold. You may have already heard of this particular essential fatty acid before as it’s often mentioned in conjunction with cognitive function and behaviour. However, omega 3 can also help your cells to retain water5, which is why it’s often popular with sufferers of dry skin conditions such as eczema. Since dehydrated skin is a major cause of wrinkles and sagginess, I’m sure you can see the perks of this particular nutrient already!
Oily fish are an excellent dietary source of omega 3 and salmon is ranked amongst the best, with half a fillet believed to contain around 4023mg!6 But what if you’re vegan or vegetarian and salmon is off the menu? Well, thankfully there are vegan sources of omega 3 too, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds and soybeans.
10 – Avocados
The buzz around avocados has been raging for a couple of years now, with many praising this fruit for its content of healthy fats and nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C and fibre. It’s rich in antioxidants so already I’m sure you can see the benefits for warding off free-radical damage, however, avocados also contain oleic acid, imbuing them with anti-inflammatory qualities too! You can involve avocados in your skincare routine – avocado oil is hugely popular and regularly incorporated into moisturisers – but it can also help to increase your dietary intake too. Below I’ve listed just a few of my favourite avocado recipes for you to try.
Spicy Guacamole Dip
Quinoa Stuffed Avocados
Cucumber & Avocado Smoothie