In the past few decades it has been determined that signs of aging like wrinkles and diminished skin elasticity are enhanced by oxidation, a process in which damaging free radicals begin to break down DNA. Research is showing that we can slow the aging process with the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods. Studies also show that the amount of antioxidants consumed is directly proportional to longevity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but not all of these have the same effect. The effects of antioxidants are measured by a food’s oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC).
Check out these ORAC-rich fruits and vegetables, and implement them into your daily diet to generate a youthful appearance.
- Red Grapes
Here are a few other superfoods that have shown great potential for enhancing a youthful appearance.
Acai Berries – These tiny, purple berries can be found in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. In addition to boosting energy, this antioxidant-laden superfood is said to promote healthy hair, nails and skin. Acai is available in supplement form in various powders and caplets.
Red Ginseng – A study published in the December, 2009 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Foods showed that red ginseng reverses wrinkles. The study examined a group of female volunteers over the age of 40. The subjects took three grams of red ginseng extract daily for 24 weeks, and it was found that facial wrinkles were significantly reduced and collagen levels were increased. Collagen is a product made from proteins in the body which is necessary for healthy skin. Further, a gene that destroys collagen was inhibited and elastin, a protein that enhances skin elasticity, was increased.
Resveratrol - This important nutrient can be found in the skin of red grapes and in blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates. Besides supporting cardiovascular health, resveratrol is said to promote a youthful appearance. In addition to the fruits mentioned above, resveratrol supplements are available in whole foods stores and through natural supplement websites.
Sea Buckthorn Berries – This small, sour berry is found in harsh environments of Eastern Asia and is packed with vitamin C, providing 12 times more than an orange. It is said to provide weight loss and immune system support and to foster good hair, nail and skin health. Typically the fruit cannot be found in your local grocery store, but liquid and caplet supplements are available in stores and online.
Soy – Research that is soon-to-be-published in the British Journal of Pharmacology has concluded that soy can have positive effects on age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women.
As adequate estrogen levels are required for youthful skin in women, an ovariectomy can accelerate aging of the skin. This study examined the effects of soy on the skin of ovariectomized rats. Researchers began treating rats six months after ovariectomy with genistein, a soy-derived isoflavone, for a period of 12 weeks. At the end of treatment, the thickness of collagen and skin strength was significantly improved, which suggests that soy therapy might be a reliable alternative for age-related skin changes in post-menopausal women.
Everyone wants to look young for as long as possible and adequate nutrition is an easy fix. In addition to a daily vitamin and mineral supplement, it might be worth a try to incorporate some of the foods above into your daily diet for a more youthful appearance.
Cho, S. et al. Red ginseng root extract mixed with Torilus fructus and Corni fructus improves facial wrinkles and increases type I procollagen synthesis in human skin: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Journal of Medicinal Food, 2009 Dec;12(6):1252-9.
Polito, F. et al. Genistein Aglycone, a Soy-derived Isoflavone, Improves Skin Changes Induced by Ovariectomy in Rats. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2011 Aug 9. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01619.x. [Epub ahead of print]