We’re all looking for ways to stay young – especially if it means having youthful, well-toned skin. Unfortunately, modern life is full of factors that contribute to dry skin and premature wrinkles – from excess sun exposure to unhealthy foods. And everywhere we look there are companies trying to sell us products that will make you look and feel younger. But do they work? Most are just giant placebos designed to make us feel better about getting older. External aids such as creams and moisturisers help superficially, but it’s more effective long term to work from the inside out. No single food will erase laughter lines or make you feel 21 again, but a healthy diet full of anti-aging foods can do wonders for skin quality, improve immunity and much more.
Include these nutrient-dense foods in your daily diet to automatically ensure your skin gets all the nutrients it needs to maximize your beauty potential and get you really glowing this Spring!
Avocados are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps quench inflammation and protect your cells from premature aging. Vitamin E is also essential for glowing skin and hair. Plus it’s an alkalizing food – perfect to counteract today’s highly acidic diets.
Clever Tip: Rich in monounsaturated fats, avocados help you absorb fat-soluble antioxidants from other foods too. Combine with other healthy foods for maximum effect!
An excellent source of Omega 3 fatty Acids, melatonin and Vitamin E, all of which have potent anti–aging and antioxidant properties. Research shows that walnuts destroy harmful free radical chemicals implicated in dementia, preserve mental skills and may help delay or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Clever Tip: Take care not to exaggerate, as they are high in calories. Just four walnuts, three times a week, is enough to reap their protective benefits.
Broccoli, especially young sprouts, is one of the best sources of a chemical called “sulforaphane,” a compound that prevents free radicals from breaking down the body and causing premature aging. Sulforaphane stimulates a wide range of antioxidant defenses and may also help prevent age-related decline in immune function, helping protect against age-related conditions like cardiovascular disease, arthritis and cancer.
Clever Tip: Eat 3 cups a day of sulphur-rich vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, Brussels sprouts, turnips, radishes, collards, kale, garlic, leeks, chives and asparagus
Famous for being one of the top “anti-aging foods”, blueberries are packed with anthocyanins – compounds that help to keep all our bodies cells from aging. They also have strong anti-inflammatory properties – and inflammation is the major cause of skin aging and wrinkles. Loaded with vitamin C needed to make collagen to give your skin structure and keep it firm. Need a memory boost? Blueberries have been shown to help stimulate neural regeneration in our brains and enhance mental health.
Clever Tip: Blueberries are low on the glycemic scale and won’t affect your blood sugar levels like many other fruits. Eat lots!
Spices have tremendous health and skin benefits. They increase blood flow and circulation, are packed with vitamins and minerals, fight inflammation, improve your body’s ability to fight free radicals and promote the production of collagen. Recent studies have found that cinnamon extract promotes collagen synthesis in skin, rejuvenating cells and activating growth hormone. Cinnamon stimulates your cells to function better!
Clever Tip: Add to porridge, smoothies, yogurt and cookies. Baked apples with cinnamon make a delicious low calorie treat.
- Dark Chocolate
Cocoa, the major ingredient of dark chocolate, contains the flavonoid “epicatechin,” which has nearly twice the antioxidant content of red wine and up to three times that of green tea. It helps your skin glow by promoting healthy blood flow and protecting against damaging UV rays. Studies have also found that dark chocolate helps protect heart health, regulate blood pressure and help prevent age-related dementia.
Clever Tip: In commercial chocolate, cocoa is almost always combined with refined sugar and saturated fat. Make sure your chocolate is made from raw cacao, cacao butter and unrefined sweeteners.
- Kidney Beans
High in protein, fibre, folate, magnesium, potassium, and much more. Kidney beans (and most beans), have been called a “superfood” because they are full of antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which are known to have anti-aging properties. Just one cup of cooked red kidney beans provides a third of the daily recommended intake for folate, effective in improving the firmness of the human skin and helping reduce the signs of skin aging. Folic acid works with other antioxidants in the body to remove toxins from our body. Reducing toxins in the body will result in reduction of acne from the face.
Clever Tip: Add to salads and soups or make vegetarian chili. Kidney beans can be used to make wonderful brownies too!
- Red Cabbage
The rich red color of red cabbage reflects it concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, which means that red cabbage contains significantly more protective phytonutrients than green cabbage. Interest in anthocyanin pigments continues to intensify because of their antiaging, anti-inflammatory and skin protective benefits.
Clever Tip: Shred and add to salads or make your own dazzling red cabbage coleslaw with carrots and tahini dressing.
This nutrient dense, antioxidant rich fruit has been revered throughout history in many cultures as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life. Pomegranate seeds are bursting with flavor and are a veritable powerhouse of anthocyanins and ellagitannins, both of which are powerful antioxidants. Pomegranate seed oil has also been found to help promote regeneration of skin cells, reducing the visible effects of aging on the skin.
Clever Tip: Adding the seeds to smoothies and salads is a delicious way to improve your skin health.
The antioxidant properties of garlic protect the skin from the effects of free radicals and slow down the depletion of collagen which leads to loss of elasticity in aging skin.
Clever Tip: Garlic can lose much of its nutritional value when heated. Adding fresh garlic to salad dressings is a healthy alternative.
With Spring just around the corner, The Clever Kitchen’s next series of workshops are dedicated to eating your way to a phenomenal skin and saying goodbye to dry skin – one of the top causes of premature aging.