We have some bad news: Along with living in pollution, sleeping in your makeup, and massaging in your products with the wrong fingers (really), what you eat could be causing wrinkles. It's true: simple carbs, sugars, and even dairy affect your skin's internal make-up, like its elasticity from wrinkle-induced glucose spikes. Inflammatory foods break down collagen and DNA (ever heard of dairy face?) and even cause the cursed adult acne. Basically, that slice (or, if we're being honest, slices) of pizza are prematurely aging you, so think again before another pizza-and-wine night. (Alcohol is another wrinkle-causing item. More bad news, we know.)
So in an effort to look as young and youthful as we can while eating healthfully (which, of course, is synonymous with one another), we searched for the best anti-aging foods that will help plump up our skin and fend off fine lines and wrinkles, all according to science. Keep scrolling to learn more!
Watermelons are chock-full of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that fends off cell-damaging free radicals. It also has a sun protection factor of 3, acting as a natural sunscreen (but don't forget to lather up with actual sunscreen, too!). Studies show that watermelon also reduces inflammation—so basically what we're saying is it's a miracle fruit of sorts.
Pomegranates are a great natural source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights off wrinkle-causing free radicals. In one study, the effects of pomegranate juice, extract, and oil was tested against UVB-mediated damage, to which each worked to decrease the harmful effects of UVB radiation. The Kylie Jenner–endorsed fruit also has a component called anthocyanin, which boosts collagen production.
Another natural food high in vitamin C is bell pepper. However, make sure that they're fully ripe before consuming, as studies show that vitamin C content increases as the pepper become more ripe and vivid in color. Chop them up in your salad for amped-up collagen production and sun protection.
While maple syrup is obviously sugary, if you use a small amount, you'll benefit from its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. If you want to avoid the sugar content entirely, NYC spa owner and beauty and wellness expert June Jacobs recommends this age-reversing DIY maple syrup mask: Stir together 1 tablespoon of warm milk and 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup. Add 3 tablespoons of finely ground oats, and stir again. Gently massage it onto your face and leave on for up to 20 minutes. Rinse off and follow with a moisturizer.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
If you're aware of the Mediterranean diet, then you know that a large factor of it is olive oil. This good-for-you fat has strong anti-inflammatory effects on the skin. Also, two studies examining the diets of middle-aged adults found that those who ate a diet rich in monounsaturated fats from olive oil were better protected from the sun. Another study found that eating olive oil helped heal the duration of wounds in burn victims, so you can imagine how effective it is at turning back the clock on your skin's appearance.
As if you didn't already know, leafy greens are packed with vitamins and minerals as well as the high-powered antioxidant lutein, which helps boost skin's hydration levels and ward off wrinkles. Moreover, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, eating two to three servings per day of dark, leafy green vegetables lowers one's risk of skin cancer.
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United States Department of Agriculture. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables. Agricultural Research Service.