Sadly, subtle signs of aging can show up as early as your late 20s, but there are easy ways to keep your skin soft, radiant, and wrinkle free (no needles required). Me? I like to add skin-boosting foods to my diet because a) it's cheaper than loading up on a zillion products, b) there are loads of other health benefits, and c) you gotta eat anyway, why not give your skin a boost in the process? Here's what to do:
1. Eat Colorful Produce Every 4 to 5 Hours
As you age, your skin's natural antioxidant protection drops; eating a diet rich in colorful fruits and veggies can help protect against wrinkles. There are hundreds of antioxidant nutrients, but the most important include vitamins C (found in tomatoes, citrus fruits, and bell peppers) and E (nuts and avocado), polyphenols (natural cocoa powder and berries), quercetin (onions and broccoli), and carotenoids (leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and other bright orange vegetables).
2. Drink More Fluids
One of the first side effects of dehydration is a loss of skin elasticity, a major contributor to fine lines. Eight glasses of water a day is a good goal. If you're not a fan of water, sip green tea, fat-free or low-fat milk, and the occasional cup of coffee, and look beyond the glass. Fruits and vegetables are naturally packed with fluid -- it's what gives them crispness. Boost their anti-aging potential by serving broth-based soups at lunch or dinner. At breakfast, whip up a fruit smoothie, made with almond, soy, or low-fat milk and unsweetened fruit juice.
3. Get 30% of Calories from Protein
After age 30, your muscle mass dwindles by approximately 3 to 8% per decade, causing you to lose strength, not to mention calorie-burning power. The antidote is a regular strength-training regimen -- and protein. Higher intakes of animal protein in particular help preserve muscle in women over age 50, suggest several studies. Protein is also key to warding off fatigue, maintaining a steady blood sugar level, and promoting cellular repair and growth. Try getting 30% of your daily calories from healthy protein sources such as lean meats, poultry, seafood, legumes, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and traditional soy foods.
4. Make Every Grain Count
Stock your pantry with a variety of antioxidant-packed whole grains. Wild and brown rices, bulgur, farro, millet, quinoa, and oats are all good options. Whether you're serving a simple side dish or preparing something more complicated, don't automatically reach for white rice or plain breadcrumbs. Think whole grain, and you'll be rewarded with better flavor, additional fiber, and more anti-aging nutrients.
More tips on eating to stay young and healthy from Prevention:
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