Eating nutritious foods remains one of the best ways to help you age better, both internally and externally. Proper nutrition can help your skin cells regenerate, retain moisture, provide sun protection and reduce the amount and severity of wrinkles. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are sources of crucial anti-aging vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. On the veggie side of the produce aisle, you’ll find several wrinkle-fighting products, from cooking greens to colorful vegetables.
Vitamin C Vegetables
Taking adequate amounts of vitamin C seems to be directly linked to fewer wrinkles, notes a 2007 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” or AJCN. Vitamin C helps build collagen, provides protection from the sun and acts as an antioxidant, which seems to lower the incidence of wrinkles according to the study. Citrus fruits are an obvious choice, but you have veggie options, too. Vegetables high in vitamin C include red peppers, green peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Vitamin E Vegetables
Vitamin E protects the skin from the sun while fighting free radicals and helping skin combat dryness according to the book, “Prevention’s Healing with Vitamins.” Olives contain high amounts of vitamin E, as do many of the classic cooking greens—spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens and collard greens.
Like vitamin E, the mineral selenium helps fight the skin damage wrought by UV rays according to the “Prevention" book. Vegetables rich in selenium include broccoli, garlic and onions. Some parts of the country contain selenium-depleted soils. Ask your local extension service if the region's soil is low in selenium should you grow your own vegetables or buy them from local suppliers. If local soil has low levels of selenium, consider boosting your intake with other selenium-rich foods, such as canned tuna fish.
Monounsaturated Fat Vegetables
Monounsaturated fat, the so-called “good fat,” is high in skin-protecting vitamin E and has additional cell-regenerating properties according to the American Heart Association. A 2010 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed that a study group of Japanese women who a high amount of fat in their diet, including monounsaturated fat, had “greater skin elasticity.”
Vegetables that come packed in olive oil, such as sundried tomatoes, represent a good skin- and heart-healthy source of monounsaturated fat. Although avocados and olives aren’t veggies botanically speaking, many people treat the savory plants as such. However you classify them, olives and avocados are also good sources of monounsaturated fats. Also noteworthy was the fact that the women who had high fat intake coupled with vitamin-rich yellow and green vegetables had measurably fewer wrinkles.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Dietary nutrient Intakes and Skin-Aging Appearance Among Middle-aged American Women
- Mothernature.com: Prevention's Healing with Vitamins: Wrinkles
- PubMed: Association of Dietary Fat, Vegetables and Antioxidant Micronutrients with Skin Ageing in Japanese Women
- American Heart Association: Monosaturated Fats