Yes, collagen works wonders on preventing wrinkles. But having a well-rounded anti-aging diet is key. Here are 10 more wrinkle-fighting foods you’ll want to add to your plate.
Everyone ages at a different rate, and some more gracefully than others. The aging process can be sped up due to anything from genetics and diet to sun exposure and stress levels. The good news is that signs of aging (yes, wrinkles included) can be prevented and even reversed with the right foods and lifestyle.
Discover the biggest triggers of wrinkles that you should avoid, as well as the best foods that will help minimize the effects of aging on the body.
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How Wrinkles Happen
Skin aging manifests as more than wrinkles: discoloration, swelling, fibrosis, dullness, and roughness are all considered a result of aged skin. Wrinkling is perhaps the most common sign, marked by the loss of skin elasticity and a reduced production of collagen. (1)
Common causes of wrinkles include:
While the sun can provide us with a golden tan and abundant energy, too much can be a bad thing. Excessive sun exposure can lead to “photoaged skin”, which decreases the collagen content in the skin. Sun damage also lowers hyaluronic acid levels in the skin, which can weaken the skin’s structure. (2)
Elevated levels of the major stress hormone cortisol is strongly associated with aged facial skin. Here’s why: First, our skin has receptors for cortisol, meaning when we are stressed, our skin knows it. Secondly, cortisol is a catabolic hormone, meaning it breaks down the skin tissue. So, in other words, when we are continually stressed, our skin weakens, wrinkles, and ages. (3)
AGEs & Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFA)
One major culprit that causes skin aging are the so-called “advanced glycation end products” (AGEs). AGEs are extremely reactive compounds, which form through the breakdown of fats, proteins, and sugars that bind to tissues. This results in the deterioration of the skin. AGEs are mostly formed from the breaking down of polyunsaturated fats – the unstable fats from canola, soy, corn, and other vegetable oils that can weaken the skin and result in wrinkles. (4)
You already knew smoking was bad for you, but the reason tobacco smoke accelerates skin aging might surprise you. Smokers have significantly higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, due to the nicotine exposure. Cortisol breaks down the skin, resulting in weaker skin that’s more prone to wrinkling and aging. (5, 6)
10 Foods That Naturally Fight Wrinkles
Now that we know what to avoid when it comes to wrinkles, let’s talk about the healing foods we can eat to defend ourselves from damage. Here are the top 10 anti-wrinkle foods that can help fight inflammation and oxidation – the major destroyers of skin.
Quality, unfiltered olive oil contains a healthy amount of vitamin E, which is clinically known to inhibit wrinkle formation. (7) Considering olive oil contains mostly unsaturated fats, it is less stable than butter or coconut oil. Therefore, it’s best not to cook with it and instead use it raw in dressings and marinades. Check out this post for some creative ways to use olive oil.
Carrots, Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes
All of these bright orange foods are fantastic anti-wrinkle agents. They all contain powerful beta-carotene that can protect your skin from UV-induced wrinkling and skin aging. (8) Try any of these 37 Stunning Paleo Pumpkin Recipes to get you started.
Wild Caught Krill or Salmon
Both types of fish possess a powerful anti-wrinkle capacity due to a special compound known as astaxanthin that protects against oxidative stress. It may also increase antioxidant production, improving skin elasticity. (9, 10) Try these Salmon Bites with Sweet Potato Buns for a wrinkle-free double whammy.
These summertime melons contain lycopene, a carotenoid known to protect the skin against sunburn by increasing its defense against UV light-mediated damage. (11)
Liver is a rich source of the active form of vitamin A, known as retinol. In a review of topical methods to counteract skin wrinkling, it was discovered that retinol can inhibit the UV-induced breakdown of collagen. (12) Given the nutrient density of organ meat, a little goes a long way – you only need to eat a few ounces per week to reap the benefits.
Pastured egg yolks are a rich source of vitamin D3, which is essential for the body’s immune and inflammatory responses. Vitamin D3 also happens to protect the skin cells from UV-induced cell death. (13) Try these Eggs in Sweet Potato Hash Brown Nests for a wrinkle-fighting start to your morning.
The polyphenols found in green tea can protect the skin from the effects of UV radiation, including wrinkles and skin cancers. (14) Matcha tea is a delicious way to get a concentrated source of the anti-wrinkle polyphenols.
This Indian spice contains a compound known as curcumin, shown to protect and help mitigate oxidative stress and suppress inflammation – two key contributing intrinsic factors in skin wrinkling. (15) There are plenty of ways to cook with turmeric and nearly as many ways to drink turmeric, too.
Tuna contains a quinone called Ubiquinol, or CoQ10, a well-known and powerful antioxidant compound. CoQ10 safeguards the skin from oxidative stress while improving mitochondrial function in the skin, which increases its antioxidative anti-wrinkle potential. (16)
Honey possesses strong antimicrobial properties, which can help mitigate inflammation on the skin. It is also useful for supporting the healing of wounds and burns, regulating the pH and slowing wrinkle formation. To reap these anti-aging benefits, add raw honey to tea, coffee or smoothies for an energizing, anti-wrinkle boost. You can even make a face mask by smothering your face with honey. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with warm water. (17)
The Bottom Line
While aging is inevitable, there are a number of foods we can eat to best protect our skin from stress and other factors that cause accelerated aging. There is sound evidence that nutrition provides a promising strategy for safely and naturally slowing the aging process and preserving your skin’s youthful glow.
(Read This Next: The 9 Best Anti-Aging Foods to Eat Every Day)