Everyone is looking for that magical fountain of youth. But until we find it, exercise and a healthy diet are the best (non-surgical) ways to keep you looking years -- or decades -- younger. Eating certain foods will improve the look and feel your skin, boost your energy and even fight off disease. Add these 20 options to your diet, suggested by Chris Mohr, Ph.D., owner of MohrResults.com, and experience their multiple health and anti-aging benefits.
These colorful little berries are high in fiber, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and a great source of antioxidants that may help protect the brain and skin. "Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries are all loaded with antioxidants, which save cells from premature aging," dermatologist Nicholas V. Perricone, M.D., a clinical professor of medicine at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., tells WebMD.
2. Wild Salmon
As we age, it's common for brain function to decline. Omega-3 fats, like those found in wild salmon, however, can protect the skin, brain, eyes, heart and joints. The American Heart Association suggests up to 12 ounces of fatty fish per week. That includes salmon, yes, but also mackerel, herring, lake trout (see #20), sardines and albacore tuna.
These little green nuts are super high in anti-aging nutrients (like proteins, healthy dietary fats, copper, phosphorous, vitamin E, vitamin B6, lutein and manganese, plus antioxidants). And they have a major one up on other nuts -- they come in a shell. According to a study published in the journal Appetite, subjects consumed 41 percent fewer calories when in-shell nuts are offered compared to those already shelled. So get crackin'!
4. Whey Protein
As we age, muscle mass begins to decline about one percent per year. This loss becomes a vicious cycle -- loss of muscle means lower metabolism, loss of coordination and balance and the list goes on. Fortunately, combining strength training with a little "magical" by-product of milk (whey protein isolate) can do wonders. Try adding it to a smoothie, mix in some blueberries, and you have a winner! You can find whey protein powder in most grocery or health food stores.
5. Greek Yogurt
When it comes to your yogurt, go Greek! This type of yogurt has double the protein and half the sugar of regular yogurt. Search for a Greek yogurt that has probiotics -- special cultures that are great for gut health. Greek yogurt also has less lactose than regular yogurt, which makes it easier to digest. As an added bonus, applying Greek yogurt to your face can help keep you skin healthy, soft and smooth. It helps fight the visible signs of aging and combats skin conditions like acne, rosacea and eczema.
Read more: Which Type of Yogurt Is Best?
Coffee gets a bad rap, but it's not as bad as you might think. The problem is what you put in your coffee -- cream and sugar. Some data suggests coffee drinkers have less of a chance of dying from heart disease. Need another reason to enjoy a cup of joe? It may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's disease. Plus, the caffeine and antioxidants found in coffee help your body repair damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Say what? This fish (also called Asian Seabass) is making an appearance on restaurant menus, and it's really making waves. With half the calories of salmon, yet equal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, it's a great nutrient-dense option. Find it in the frozen section of many natural food stores.
Most American's don't eat enough fiber. Oats are one easy way to load up on this essential nutrient. Since fiber also helps fill you up, it may reduce the risk of middle-age weight gain when combined with other smart nutrition choices. And skincare products that include oats will help soothe irritated skin and smooth rough skin, helping you look younger.
9. Red Wine
No, that's not a typo -- red wine contains a potent antioxidant called resveratrol. Animal research suggests high amounts of resveratrol may prevent cell death in the heart and brain. Now that's a reason to drink up! Women should stick to one drink per day, while men can have two. Not drinking alcohol? Try foods with polyphenols and antioxidants, like pomegranates, blueberries (see #1) and dark chocolate (see #14), Richard Baxter, M.D., tells WebMD.
This leafy green is a true nutrient powerhouse -- and it's easy to add to foods like scrambled eggs, pasta, as the base of a salad, or even smoothies. Spinach is rich in lutein, which has been shown to have anti-aging properties. Eating spinach (or including it in your morning green juice) will keep your skin healthy and hydrated. And hydrated skin looks younger.
Who knew that corn did so much more than taste good on the cob? A University of Maryland study found that a component of the fiber found in corn might prevent the growth of cancer. The researchers speculate the compound, IP6, which is found in corn, causes cancerous cells to stop dividing. Just make sure you're sticking strictly to corn from the cob and not any of its sugary derivatives.
Read more: 13 Powerful Grains and Seeds
12. Whole Grains
There's a lot of controversy about whether grains are actually good from your body, but most of this debate revolves around how carbohydrates impact your body fat levels. The truth: Whole grains have been associated in many studies with preventing cholesterol buildup in your arteries. And like most things in life, moderation is the key.
Don't overlook this common spice! Research shows that cinnamon may decrease the post-meal insulin spike. And the more controlled the spike, the less likely you are to store body fat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon on your favorite foods daily -- yogurt, oats, cottage cheese, or in a smoothie -- it not only tastes great, but may help slim your waistline. And, it's a powerful antioxidant to boot. Combine two anti-aging ingredients by putting some in your morning coffee.
Read more: 10 Herbs and Spices to Help You Lose Weight
14. Dark Chocolate
Let your sweet tooth rejoice -- dark chocolate is healthy! (In moderation, of course.) Research has shown that dark chocolate -- not milk or white -- has heart-healthy properties. In fact, eating one ounce of dark chocolate a day has been associated with lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher HDL (good) cholesterol. Aim for dark chocolate that's at least 70 percent cacao. Who knew your chocolate habit could help you look, feel and stay young?
Here's a new reason to experiment with Indian food. Louisiana State University researchers found that curcumin -- the active ingredients in turmeric, the yellow spice that gives curry its color -- may have cancer destroying abilities. The reason: Curcumin restricts blood vessels in cancerous cells and inhibits movement. You don't need to eat out at an Indian restaurant for the benefit. Just add one to two tablespoons to chicken, veggies or rice. Feeling adventurous? Try honey with turmeric.
16. Sweet Potatoes
Nutrient-packed sweet potatoes do more than taste good at Thanksgiving. They contain lycopene, which protects your skin from UV damage, and are loaded with vitamin C, which produces collagen for healthier skin. They also contain beta carotene (the antioxidant carrots are famous for), so not only will your skin look good, but your eyesight will improve, too.
17. Green Tea
Whether you drink it hot or cold or use it as a refreshing base for soups or stews, green tea might help you look younger. In fact, Chinese researchers found that people who drank three cups of green tea per day slowed down the aging process. The reason: Green tea (also called matcha tea) might improve your DNA structure and slow the shortening of cells that results during aging.
Read more: Why Everyone Is Drinking Matcha Tea
18. Bone Broth
This anti-aging secret weapon isn't so secret anymore. Bone broth has become a trendy cure-all for everything from obesity to wrinkles. "The act of extensively cooking bones pulls out an array of minerals, amino acids, gelatin, collagen, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid that become part of the broth," says nutritionist Ariane Resnick. Collagen helps build strong skin, while the glycine helps your liver get rid of toxins that cause inflammation and signs of aging. Just throw five pounds of leftover bones into five quarts of water and add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one to two tablespoons of salt. Simmer for 12 to 24 hours on the stove top (or 24 to 48 hours in a slow cooker).
This delicious summertime treat not only helps you feel like a kid again by indulging in a bit of nostalgia, but it also helps keep your skin looking young. Just like tomatoes, watermelon is rich in lycopene. And just like carrots, it's also filled with beta-carotene. Both of these vitamins help protect your skin and repair cells that are damaged by sunlight.
Read more: The 12 Best "Clean" Dark Chocolate Bars
Most people know that salmon is an amazing source of omega-3s (see #2), but so is hemp. Hemp seeds and oils are a natural emollient, which helps your skin retain moisture and counteract the effects of aging. Eat the seeds raw or add the oil to your favorite smoothie.
21. Rainbow Trout
Earlier on the list (slide #2), salmon was presented as a great option to fight aging, and trout is no different. Your body needs healthy fats because they protect your cells and promote longevity. But the reason trout is great because it's high in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) -- a fatty acid that fights cortisol (the stress hormone). Try cooking trout in a pan with two tablespoons of olive oil (which also has heart-healthy benefits). Cook on each side for five minutes or until you achieve your desired level of flakiness.
Read more: The 9 Safest Seafood Options
What Do YOU Think?
How many of these foods do you eat on a regular basis? Did you know they have anti-aging properties? Which ones did you already know about? Which ones were surprising to you? Are there any other foods you've heard about with anti-aging benefits? Share your thoughts, suggestions and questions in the comments below!
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