12 Anti-Aging Grocery Staples
By Alysa Bajenaru, RD
In this article:
I’m turning 40 this year, and as this milestone birthday draws nearer, I’ve been reflecting on how I care for my body both inside and out. In the past few years, I’ve noticed that what I put into my body shows up in the mirror much more than it used to. A few weeks of slacking on nutrition shows up as dry skin, adult acne and the dreaded midday slump.
But the good news is, when I stock my grocery cart with anti-aging foods and commit to preparing healthy meals, my skin perks up and my energy levels soar.
Aging is a natural part of life, but we can do our part to look and feel our best no matter how old we are.
Here are 12 anti-aging foods to add to your grocery list this week:
You’ve probably heard Vitamin C is great for your skin, and oranges have plenty of it.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that fights inflammation in the body, and may help decrease wrinkles and facial dryness. Vitamin C also helps make collagen, an important building-block for healthy skin.
Add freshly squeezed orange juice to your morning routine, or stick an orange in your gym bag for a post-workout snack.
Sweet potatoes get their orange hue from an antioxidant called beta-carotene. Consuming enough beta-carotene is essential for keeping skin vibrant and helping to reduce environmental damage. It is also important for eye health, and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and other age-related diseases.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy sweet potatoes is to dice them up and add them to a breakfast hash. You can also try throwing a baked potato in the microwave for a few minutes, slice it open, and top with whatever leftovers you have on hand for a quick lunch.
Avocados are loaded with healthy fats and vitamins, and are one of the only foods that contain significant levels of both vitamins C and E. Research shows avocados to be incredibly well-rounded in providing health benefits for everything from weight management to lower cholesterol, anti-inflammation and protection from UV rays.
Diced avocados are the perfect topping no matter what meal you’re having. They are also delicious all by themselves with a little lemon juice squeezed on top.
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in the body contributes significantly to cell damage, aging and disease. Turmeric contains an antioxidant (curcumin) that helps fight this stress. When paired with black pepper (Piperine in supplement form), turmeric is readily absorbed by the body. Two specific diseases turmeric has been found to help with are arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’ve never tried turmeric milk, you are in for a treat. Simmer sliced fresh turmeric or a teaspoon of dried turmeric in your favorite milk. Add cracked black pepper, a dash of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. Strain and enjoy!
Tomatoes are healthy no matter how you eat them, but when tomatoes are cooked, the anti-aging properties are intensified. That’s because the cooking process increases the amount of lycopene, the antioxidant that protects against skin damage.
Try slow-roasting tomatoes to bring out their incredible flavor. As a bonus, your entire house will smell like a delicious Italian restaurant.
Broccoli is high in sulforaphane, a compound that has been extensively studied for protection against various types of cancer. Broccoli is also high in Vitamin C and carotenoids, making it a superstar for healthy skin and eyes.
The most nutritious way to cook broccoli is to lightly steam it. Cook over about one inch of boiling water in a steamer basket with the lid on until bright green and tender. My family loves to throw steamed broccoli on top of potatoes or Asian dishes like teriyaki chicken or stir fry.
Spinach is packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and iron. The magnesium in spinach helps with restful sleep (essential for anti-aging), heart health and hormonal health. Also, as one of the richest dietary sources of lutein, consuming spinach helps protect your eyes from macular degeneration.
Keep fresh spinach on hand and throw it into smoothies and soups. You can also toss fresh spinach into leftovers to brighten them up and add a nutritious boost.
Made from chicken, beef or fish bones that have been slowly cooked, bone broth is a rich source of minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. Gelatin extracted from bones during the cooking process can benefit the skin, digestive tract and immune system. Glucosamine and chondroitin in bone broth may also help with achy bones and joints.
Look for marrow bones in the meat section or ask for good bones for broth. It’s easy to make at home in the slow cooker and freezes well. Heat up a cup on a cold day or when you’re feeling under the weather. You can also use it as a base for soups and for cooking grains.
Harvard researchers have found that people who eat nuts every day live longer and healthier lives than those who don’t. The healthy fats in nuts help lower cholesterol, improve heart health and help you feel full. Vitamins and minerals in nuts and seeds can also improve eye and skin health and protect against environmental damage.
Adding nuts and seeds to any dish takes it to the next level by adding flavor and texture. Buy a variety of raw unsalted nuts and portion them out for a quick and easy snack whenever you need one.
High in omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish like salmon and sardines are excellent for brain and heart health. A diet high in omega-3s is also beneficial for shiny hair and glowing skin. Sardines are also an excellent source of vitamins B12 and D, making them superstars for energy and bone health.
One of my favorite ways to add seafood into my diet is by using canned salmon. It’s great to throw onto a salad or eat with crackers for a quick lunch.
Eating an apple a day may be the oldest nutritional advice you can remember, but it holds up. Research shows that when compared with other fruits and vegetables, apples are most consistently associated with reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma and type two diabetes.
Apples are the perfect grab-n-go snack. Pair an apple with a small handful of raw almonds, and you’re good to go all afternoon.
Berries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and eating a variety is a good way to reap the benefits. Blueberries in particular are antioxidant powerhouses that directly increase the levels of antioxidants in the blood. Research has shown that eating blueberries can improve brain function and slow down mental decline due to aging.
Grab fresh blueberries when they’re in season, otherwise your best bet is to buy frozen. Toss them in smoothies, throw them on cereal, or do what I do, and eat them straight from the container. Yum!
Last but not least, don’t forget to drink enough water. Hydration plays a huge role in skin elasticity, and healthy body functions. Keep a reusable water bottle with you at all times to help you drink more. If you don’t enjoy plain water, play around with adding fresh fruit or sliced cucumbers. Get creative, and change it up! Just keep drinking.