There are some great things that come with old age—like retirement, grandkids, discounted tickets for shows and movies and more—but one not-so-great thing that happens? Your skin starts to age with time, and it's not as dewy, taut or fresh-looking as it used to be. And that means you might notice more fine lines and wrinkles, too.
However, there is a way to slow down the aging process and keep your skin looking more youthful and rested—and that's through your diet! Foods have a huge impact on your skin's health, as some foods may trigger breakouts (think: high-glycemic-index and sugary foods), while others can boost hydration and promote soft, glowing skin (hello high-water-content foods, like cucumbers and watermelon!)
And beyond mere hydration, there are foods with certain nutrients that boast anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits. Need help making that grocery list? Here's what to buy and what to make in the kitchen for the best-looking skin, according to Maggie Michalczyk, M.S., RD.
Broccoli, Squash, Pumpkin & Citrus
"Vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays a huge role in collagen synthesis," says Michalczyk. "Some studies have also shown that vitamin C may help prevent and treat ultraviolet light damage and fight signs of aging." We love adding vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies like butternut squash, broccoli, pumpkin and citrus to salads for an extra beauty boost.
Related: Healthy Butternut Squash Recipes
Kale is packed with vitamins C, A, and K, as well as lutein and iron. "These vitamins and minerals can help to protect the skin from free radical damage and cell replenishment, helping it to stay young, youthful and fresh-looking," says Michalczyk. And lutein has been found to have UV-shielding benefits as well. Use kale in smoothies, salads and soups, or roast it for healthier veggie chips!
Related: Our Best Healthy Kale Recipes
"Beets contain very high concentrations of antioxidants, carotenoids, folate, fiber, iron, manganese, potassium and Vitamin C," says Michalczyk, all of which can help ward off signs of aging and promote healthier skin.
"Folate works to reduce oxidative stress and harmful free radicals that our skin encounters in everyday life. Over time, these can contribute to signs of aging on our skin, so eat up," she says. Enjoy beets marinated in some balsamic vinegar, in a juice or in a salad with goat cheese or feta.
Fish is an awesome food to support healthy skin as you get older, and it has excellent fats to protect your heart against various diseases related to inflammation, too.
"Salmon is a great source of healthy omega-3 fats and B vitamins, which are both anti-inflammatory," says Michalczyk. "Inflammation can negatively impact the skin by causing a breakdown of collagen and elastin—both things needed for younger-looking skin." Omega-3s also help the skin to retain moisture, which is crucial to fight aging, as the skin needs hydration to stay soft and taut.
The Recipe That Contains Them All
This Superfood Chopped Salad with Salmon & Creamy Garlic Dressing contains generous portions of crunchy broccoli for vitamin C, kale for a mega-dose of nutrients, and salmon for an omega-3 boost. To get even more skin-perfecting benefits, top your salad with some roasted beets (you can make them at home, or buy packaged steamed or roasted beets in the produce section to save time).
Want even more skin benefits? Top the salad with sliced avocado. Michalczyk notes that avocado is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats that can help promote youthful skin.
And if you're not a fan of salmon? "You can definitely throw a hard-boiled egg on top; eggs contain highly bioavailable protein, meaning it can go straight to your muscles and skin to generate new proteins within your own skin cells," she says.