17 Anti-Aging Superfoods for Glowing Skin, Reduced Inflammation, and Overall Health (Recipes + Videos)

17 Anti-Aging Superfoods for Glowing Skin, Reduced Inflammation, and Overall Health (Recipes + Videos)
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As time passes, our skin changes. It loses elasticity or volume, wrinkles appear, and our complexions just aren’t what they used to be. Sadly, no one has found the fountain of eternal youth yet, but the world of anti-aging superfoods comes close to making it seem as if we have. 
Numerous factors influence your age—genetics, photodamage, environmental exposure, lifestyle, smoking, and diet. There's not much you can do about your genes, but you have some control over premature aging, the kind caused by lifestyle choices and the environment.
Here are 17 superfoods that will help you age well. Stock up on these bites next time you're looking to fill the grocery cart.

Top 17 Superfoods to Age Well 

  1. Goji berries
Did you know goji berries' anti-aging powers were recorded in China's first herbal encyclopedia, "Shen Nong's Materia Medica," written in the 1st century B.C.E.?
Goji berries are one of the best foods around for anti-aging and longevity. They have a distinct sweet-sour flavor. More importantly, they are filled with healthy fats, fiber, iron, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, xanthophyll, and many bioactive micronutrients to help your body live longer and work better. Goji berries protect against cancer, diabetes, inflammation, obesity, and neurodegenerative diseases.
While this prized superfood tastes delicious on its own, goji berries are the perfect balance of sweet and sour with a herbal hint to add to trail mixes, orange cakes, or this flavorful coconut chicken soup
  1. Watercress 
This leafy green definitely has a bite and a mustardy flavor but, in this case, that's not a bad thing. Watercress contains a good amount of glucosinolates, the biologically active sulfur compound found in Brassicaceae family. When you eat watercress, glucosinolates metabolize into indoles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates. Studies show that isothiocyanates offer anticarcinogenic, antioxidant, cardioprotective, and anti-aging effects. Watercress also packs twice as much vitamin C as an orange. Add to that Vitamin A, Vitamin K, nitrates, calcium, iron, and magnesium, and you have one longevity food. Try this easy watercress salad by Dr Fuhrman.
  1. Chia seeds 
A real multitasker when it comes to aging well, chia seeds may seem like a modern fad, but they were a staple in the ancient Aztec and Mayan diets. These tiny seeds are nutrient dynamos with 3x the antioxidants of blueberries, 6x the calcium of milk, more iron than spinach, and more niacin than soybeans. You’ll also find plenty of healthful omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds. Chia seeds are beneficial to your skin in many ways, including combating dryness and decreasing age spots.
Sprinkle some chia seeds in your morning oatmeal or smoothie, or make the easy 4-ingredients chia pudding
  1. Turmeric
Turmeric is not just for curries. You'll find it in tea, smoothies, lattes, golden milk, energy bars, and immunity shots - thanks to its hardworking primary active component, curcumin. Research demonstrates that curcumin helps prevent the shortening of the telomere (protective end cap of our DNA), which is believed to be a leading cause of aging and neurodegenerative disorders. Curcumin can insert itself into our cell membranes, which may boost cells' resistance to inflammation or oxidative stress. 
Sip on this turmeric ginger tea to boost your immunity and lower your risk of age-related illnesses. 
  1. Wild salmon 
"It's all about DHA or docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fat", says Elizabeth Somer, a registered dietitian, and author of several books including Age-Proof Your Body. DHA protects against cardiovascular disease, age-related decline in muscle mass, and skin barrier function - a big win for your skin. Salmon also contains astaxanthin, a carotenoid antioxidant that gives salmon its distinct color. Comparative studies have shown that astaxanthin possesses greater antioxidant activity than many other carotenoids. A 100g serving of wild salmon also provides 70–111% of the DV of Vitamin D, which stimulates skin cell growth and repair and prevents premature aging. 
Add pan-roasted sesame salmon into your dinner rotation to improve overall health and combat aging.
Not a fish fan? Not a problem. Just try avocados.
  1. Avocado
This rich, creamy, satisfying fruit (yes, fruit) is a powerhouse superfood. Just like wild salmon, avocados are packed with good fats (specifically alpha-linolenic acid) that are good for your skin and heart. They’ve got more potassium than a banana, are rich in fiber, and jam-packed with nearly twenty different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help your body fight diseases and make repairs. Avocados not only reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and obesity but also improve cognitive function and gut microbes.
To get all these benefits, add avocado to salads, make avocado toast, or try this dark chocolate avocado mousse.
  1. Blueberries
Blueberries have the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score of all berries, so they are good at preventing cell damage. A single serving of blueberries contains more antioxidants than a serving of plums, strawberries, or cranberries. Anthocyanins, the age-defying antioxidants in blueberries, have been shown to curb inflammation, protect skin from oxidative stress as we age, and improve weight-maintenance. 
For a healthy anti-aging treat, have a blueberry bowl or have a pick-me-up of berry protein smoothie.
  1. Olive Oil 
For years, nutritionists have recommended swapping out butter and dairy fat for olive oil for a healthy heart. And now, new research finds that Oleuropein, the most abundant polyphenol in olive, can protect DNA and slow down aging. And that's not all: findings from a 2019 study showed that olive oil increases collagen production and attenuates stress-induced signs of aging. 
Just be sure to get the extra virgin ones, as the processing may strip the olive of vital nutrients that you're after. 
  1. Ginseng 
No list would be complete without this legendary superfood. The knobby root has been used for centuries in Eastern Asia for its seemingly miraculous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Mounting evidence shows that ginseng may be good for your skin, too. A study from Danbook University, Korea reported the anti-wrinkle effects of black fermented ginseng, and a review from the same year suggested ginseng may slow skin aging though its anti-photodamaging, anti-inflammation, and antioxidation effects. 
A steaming bowl of ginseng chicken soup may be just what the doctor ordered.
  1. Beets
As far as anti-aging superfoods go, beets are one of the best around. They are rich in Vitamin C, fiber, and anthocyanins, the same compounds that give blueberries their antioxidant properties. Beets get their distinctive color from betalains, which are antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiviral. They are also rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitric oxide - a compound that keeps blood vessels healthier and the brain functional, both of which are important aspects of healthy aging and longevity. 
Increase your antioxidant and nitrate intake with this delicious strawberry beet salad.
  1. Mixed nuts 
No matter which nut you choose - cashew, walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, chestnuts - they're all anti-aging superheroes. They give you plenty of Vitamin E, omega-3s, minerals, micronutrients, phytosterols, selenium, and a generous amount of fiber to age well. Brazil nuts have glutathione that improves elasticity, prevents wrinkles, and boosts skin regeneration. Pistachios are also a great anti-aging food because of the number of polyphenols and flavonoids in just a handful. Make them part of your diet every day. 
This fruity-nutty salad is a welcome addition in your daily salad repertoire.
  1. Papaya 
This tropical favorite can help you get dewy, radiant skin no matter your skin type. Papayas are incredibly nutritious, with lots of antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, and fiber. In fact, one small papaya contains more than 100 percent of the daily vitamin C requirement. They’re a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant known to prevent photodamage and augment the skin's natural healing process. Papain, the proteolytic enzyme in papaya, helps to exfoliate, hydrate, and repair the skin, making it a healthy addition to your anti-aging diet.
The Healthiest Smoothies (4 recipes) are a great way to add more papaya to your diet.
  1. Broccoli
A medium stalk of broccoli provides 200% of the daily target for vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production. Collagen is the protein that gives skin its strength and elasticity. Broccoli, and cruciferous vegetables, contain glucoraphanin, a compound that the body converts into sulforaphane. Sulforaphane activates the NRF2 pathway, a stress response pathway, that helps slow DNA damage and aging. These compounds also enhance your body’s natural detoxification system and help eliminate carcinogens that we are exposed to. 
Besides adding to stir-fries, salads, and casseroles, try broccoli in this flavorful broccoli fennel soup.
  1. Maca root 
Hormonal imbalance is a functional biomarker of aging. A few studies have shown the hormone-balancing effect of maca. The plant sterols in maca stimulate the endocrine system and help to balance and normalize the steroid hormones. Also known as "Peruvian ginseng," maca is caffeine-free and adaptogenic. 
  1. Flax Seeds 
These ancient super seeds (yes, their history dates back to the 8th century C.E.) are more nutritious than many modern crops. Flaxseeds are one of the richest plant sources of alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based version of omega-3s. Also, they have 800 times more lignans than beans and other fiber-rich veggies. Lignan-rich foods may protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease. Flax is fabulous longevity food, helpful in reducing skin sensitivity and improving skin barrier function.  
  1. Pomegranates 
One cup of pomegranate juice serves up 3x the antioxidants of green tea and red wine. High in vitamin C, pomegranate seeds can protect the cells from damage. The pomegranate arils also contain the antioxidant punicalagin, which may help preserve collagen in the skin, slowing aging. Additionally, a University of Washington study found that urolithin A, a polyphenolic precursor in pomegranates, could be used in anti-aging treatments to strengthen muscles. 
For a tangy, tasty antioxidant boost, drink some Schizandra pomegranate kefir.
  1. Chlorella 
Chlorella, a green algae, has the ability to detox our body of free radicals, which if left unchecked can damage cells and cause chronic diseases and premature aging. Chlorella is naturally rich in chlorophyll, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, carotenoids, and bioactive compounds—all important for combating oxidative stress. Chlorella is also an unusual source of Vitamins B12 and D. 
Sip on this immune boosting Chlorella lemon ginger tonic for a refreshing change.

Do Anti-Aging Superfoods Provide Health Benefits? 

Of course, they do! The superfoods like the ones that made our list are full of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, and satiating dietary fiber. Here are a few of the benefits you can expect when you follow a nutrient-dense anti-aging diet.
  • Hydrated, glowing skin.
  • Lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.
  • Better circulation
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved gut health
  • Healthy bones 
  • A strong immune system

The Age-Old Pursuit of Anti-Aging Remedies

Since the dawn of time, humans have tried to reverse the aging clock.
Donkey's milk was Cleopatra's choice of elixir to preserve her legendary beauty. The Greeks used a mixture of water, olive oil, and beeswax to remove oil, dirt, and dead cells on the skin's surface. Excrement from the Japanese bush warbler (nightingale) has been used in facials throughout Japanese history. Ancient Egyptians regarded beauty as a holy symbol and used concoctions made of flowers, plants, fruits, gut, and wine for cosmetic and medicinal purposes.
During the Middle Ages, the women at the French court used aged wine on their faces to rejuvenate skin, a process that is now recognized to have exfoliating effects. Elizabethan women used thin slices of raw meat to minimize wrinkles.

Proceed With Caution If...

If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications, or are unaware of your allergies, do not consume these superfoods without a medical opinion. 
People on blood pressure medication should check their beet intake, as it lowers blood pressure. 
Turmeric may interfere with blood thinners such as aspirin and warfarin. 
Maca may not be appropriate for patients with fibroids, prostate cancer, or endometriosis. 
We are what we eat. While it's true that no single food will give you 20-something skin at 60, the anti-aging superfoods will help you eat your way to a healthy, long life.  
For further anti-aging benefits, avoid foods (for example, sugary, salty, spicy, and processed foods) that do the opposite, and speed up biological aging. Consume them in moderation. 
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