Woman holding a smoothie

 

If you're looking for protection from free radicals, here are some foods that can help you fight the signs of aging in a healthy manner.

 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil can be counted among the healthiest fats in existence.  It combats aging by lowering blood pressure, preventing metabolic syndrome, reducing the risk of heart disease, and may even be effective in fighting cancer.

Olive oil can also help your skin look younger.  73% of olive oil is made up of mono saturated fat which increases skin firmness and elasticity, and studies suggest that its anti-inflammatory properties can protect against sun damage.

 

Green Tea

The high levels of antioxidants in green tea make it effective in protecting against free radicals. Green tea is high in polyphenols, antioxidants that can prevent insulin resistance, diabetes, inflammation and heart disease. They may also boost collagen levels in your skin, reducing, and even reversing, signs of aging. 

 

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish contain long-chain omega -3 fats that help fight inflammation, heart disease and ulcerate colitis, among others. According to studies, they can also protect against sun damage and inflammation.

Salmon may be especially beneficial to youthful skin, because it contains a carotenoid antioxidant called astaxanthin, which gives it its pink cold.  Individuals in a study on sun-damaged skin showed significant improvements on skin elasticity and hydration after having been given a combination of astaxanthin and collagen for a 12-week period.

 

Dark Chocolate

This sinful treat has an antioxidant profile second to none. Research suggests dark chocolate can increase sensitivity to insulin, reduce blood pressure, and boost arterial elasticity and function.  The power behind chocolate comes from flavanols, which protect skin against sun damage, with the amount of flavanols being highest in dark chocolate. One study revealed that people who ate dark chocolate with high amounts of flavanol were able to double their time in the sun before burning, as opposed to people who ate lower flavanol chocolate. High flavanol cocoa also proved to yield better blood flow in individuals and lead to improvements in skin hydration, thickness, and smoothness. Choose the dark chocolate with a 70% cocoa solid content for best results.

 

Vegetables

Veggies contain antioxidants that can help lower the risk of cataracts, cancer, and heart disease. Vegetables rich in carotenoids, like beta carotene, can also protect against free radicals and radiation from the sun. The best beta-carotene sources are pumpkins, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin C is another common component of vegetables important for the production of collagen. Results of one study showed that people given a dose of 180 mgs of vitamin C per day for 4 weeks showed a 37% increase in skin's antioxidant activity. Veggies with the most vitamin C include bell peppers, leafy greens, tomatoes and broccoli.

 

What do you eat to keep you young? We'd love to know your secrets!