Antioxidants fight off the free radicals that age your skin, but your body produces less internal antioxidants as you age. Jonny Bowden, author of The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer, recommends eating berries, pomegranate juice and brassica vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage) to give your body a big antioxidant boost.
Get healthy, glowing skin by incorporating more natural fats in your diet. Wild salmon, mackerel and halibut provide abundant omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for the formation of new and healthy cells. "This fat makes the skin healthy and glowing," says Dr. Michael Aziz, author of The Perfect 10 Diet
Sleeping at least seven to eight hours a night really makes a difference. That’s because as you age, growth hormone, which stimulates cell regeneration, starts to decline, resulting in skin wrinkles. "If you stay up or get very little sleep, growth hormone gets disturbed and makes your skin age even faster," Aziz says.
For a daily, four-minute de-stress break, try this routine from Bowden:
1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position
2. Close your eyes
3. Slowly relax all your muscles one by one
4. Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth
5. As you breathe out, silently say a calming word.
"Eating one-third fewer than your usual number of calories has been shown to extend life and prevent the normal deterioration that comes with aging in every single species studied," Bowden says. The best way to start is by mentally dividing your plate into thirds. If you’re at a restaurant eat two-thirds of the plate and take the last bit for leftovers.
Slow down the aging process by slow cooking your food instead of opting for the normal fast and easy meal. Cooking foods at high temperatures results in glycation, in which sugar molecules glom onto protein (or fat) molecules, Bowden says. When these sticky molecules build up, your risk for many diseases of aging increases. The whole slow food movement means taking the time to choose fresh ingredients, and maybe even de-stress while cooking, he adds.
Worried about wrinkles? Add more Vitamin A to your diet. "Food that is very rich in Vitamin A helps your skin stay healthy," Aziz says. For a larger dose of the vitamin, eat raw carrots instead of cooked ones.
Staying fit doesn’t have to mean eating meals that bore you. Plenty of foods are chock-full of healthy, tasty natural oils that fight free radical damage and keep your heart and brain going strong. Bowden recommends slicing avocado into salads, snacking on a handful of nuts, and mixing walnut, almond, coconut or macadamia nut oils into your dishes.
Boost growth hormone production by chowing down on some protein, especially after hitting the gym. "Eating a meal rich in protein after working out, especially if the exercise includes resistance work, helps the secretion of growth hormones," Aziz says. Getting more protein also helps boost your immune system and overall health.
Sugar prematurely ages you and may help push you towards Alzheimer’s disease. "Eliminating sugar may just be one of the best anti-aging strategies I know," says Bowden. Check the labels of products you buy—many packaged goods contain sugar or its equivalent, such as high-fructose corn syrup.