If you’re unhappy with physical signs of aging, and you’re looking for something that can really make a difference in your appearance, skip the drugstore and consider upping your intake of anti-aging nutrients.
As we get older, telomeres—the ends of chromosomes—shorten, and DNA regeneration slows down. This process leads to cell breakdown, which is what makes you look older, as you grow older. But sometimes, the cells will give out at too young an age. Another process that shortens telomeres is oxidative stress, which occurs when unstable molecules cause damage to cell structures (like telomeres). But thankfully, nutrients and antioxidants can help counteract these aging processes—and may even lengthen your telomeres!
So don’t waste your money on expensive lotions and creams. To look younger faster, pay more attention to what you’re putting inside your body, rather than on the surface. Consider incorporating the following nutrients into your diet for a younger look:
If your skin looks worn… Vitamin C
Vitamin C has antioxidant and collagen-building properties that are very important for skin care. You can find the nutrient in citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits) and in dark leafy vegetables (spinach and broccoli). Vitamin C clears toxins out of your body to keep you looking youthful. It also helps reduce the damage from ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, by neutralizing radicals and stabilizing collagen. Vitamin C can also be used to treat hyperpigmentation—a condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin.
If your skin looks damaged… Vitamin E
Although vitamin C can improve your skin, it’s four times as potent in conjunction with vitamin E. The two nutrients work together to protect cell membranes, enzyme sites, and DNA from damage. Vitamin E can be found in almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, spinach, kale, and avocado. Because it’s a lipid-soluble antioxidant, the nutrient protects skin cell membranes against cell-damaging lipid peroxidation and the destruction of collagen—both of which make the skin look older.
If your skin is wrinkled… Vitamin A
If you’re interested in skincare products, you might’ve heard vitamin A referred to as “retinol” or “retinoid.” A staple amongst dermatologists, topical retinol creams improve fine wrinkles, roughness and hyperpigmentation. Although commonly applied onto the skin, the consumption of vitamin A sources have also been linked to improved healing of the skin. That means fewer acne scars and wounds from popping pimples!
If your skin is losing elasticity… Collagen
Collagen supports both the structure and elasticity of skin, but the body’s natural levels of collagen diminish as you get older. One way to replenish your collagen storage is by consuming it through food, especially by means of animal sources.
If your skin has been damaged by the sun… Carotenoids
Carotenoids are full of antioxidants that tackle molecular damage caused by sunlight. This nutrient is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, mango and papaya. The skin contains large amounts of carotenoids naturally; however, dietary supplementation protects the skin from UV damage.
If you have skin inflammation… Polyphenols
The plant-based compounds polyphenols reduce skin inflammation due to UV exposure, DNA damage and oxidative stress. You can find polyphenols in green tea, chocolate and legumes.
If your skin is dehydrated… Fatty Acids
Flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, leafy vegetables, walnuts and sesame seeds are all high in essential fatty acids, which can help keep the skin hydrated and prevent wrinkle formation caused by too much UV exposure.