The 7 Anti-Aging Nutrients to Make Sure Are in Your Diet
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not saying that the nutrients and foods in this guide will help you live forever. Instead, these nutrients each provide anti-aging properties that can help improve your overall health and quality of life as you age.
Growing older is inevitable but feeling and looking older is not necessarily a given. A life filled with youth contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Make ages only technical, quantifiable numbers and birthdays seem like quality milestones. Live and feel the best possible with these seven anti-aging nutrients and associated foods.
The 7 Anti-Aging Nutrients to Make Sure Are in Your Diet
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C plays a large role in skin health related to its antioxidant and collagen-building properties. Acting as an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to reduce the damage from ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, a major risk factor for skin cancer. Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen production. Collagen is a protein that helps maintain the structure of bone, tendon, skin, cartilage and all other connective tissue. Several studies conclude a high intake of vitamin C contributes to better skin appearance and decreases in skin wrinkling.
Food Sources of vitamin C: oranges and orange juice, dark leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, strawberries, and kiwifruit
2. Vitamin A
"Eat carrots for better eye-sight" is commonly heard regarding the benefit of vitamin A. However, vitamin A is a major key for skin health. Vitamin A can also be known as retinol and retinoid, commonly seen on the outside of skin products. Long-term topical use results in significant improvements in fine wrinkles, roughness, and the darkening of skin or nails (known as hyperpigmentation). Although retinol and retinoids are noted as a topical skin treatment, the consumption of vitamin A sources have been linked to improved wound healing. A deficiency in vitamin A is correlated with poor wound healing.
Food Sources of vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, winter squashes, tomatoes, and bell peppers
Protein is looked to as the ultimate muscle-making machine. Not only does protein promote muscle growth, it's consumption is also a building block for skin and cartilage and necessary for wound healing. With increasing age comes a decreasing ability for proper wound healing related to age-related body changes. Zinc, a mineral oftentimes found in animal proteins, also plays a role in wound healing. Lysine and proline, two amino acids found in protein, help to promote collagen synthesis as well.
Food Sources of protein: lean beef, chicken, eggs, plant-based proteins like beans and nuts
Like mentioned above in protein, zinc has a profound role in wound healing. Zinc also has an important role in apoptosis, or cell death. Specifically, current research suggests zinc deficiency increases the risk of neuronal apoptosis, affecting learning and memory consequently linking to cerebral aging, depression, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. Furthermore, zinc deficiencies are frequently noticed in the elderly population and can lead increased risk of infections to slow growing and weak fingernails.
Food Sources of zinc: oysters, beef, pork, dark meats of turkey and chicken, cashews, milk, cheddar cheese
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
An omega-3 fatty acid (FA) is a type of "good fat" that can actually contribute to good heart health. Although admired for their role in the reduction of cardiovascular disease, omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to healthy skin. Omega-3 FA's help cell membranes act as a barrier to harmful substances, an entrance for nutrients, and a reservoir to hydrating water. Nutrients and hydration contribute to moister and softer skin.
Food Sources of omega-3 fatty acids: fish such as salmon and tuna as well as flaxseed, almonds, and peanuts
Resveratrol, a component of red wine, has been explored recently for cancer prevention. However, the anti-aging benefits contributed by resveratrol should not divvy away from the spotlight. Although initially debated, research conducted by Harvard Medical School suggests resveratrol aids in the creation of SIRT1, a human gene that protects cells when energy lacks thus promoting survival. The anti-oxidant effects have also been linked to protection against heart disease.
Food Sources of resveratrol: grapes and grape juice, red and white (in lesser amounts then red) wine, peanuts, cocoa, and blueberries and cranberries
Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants in a wide variety of plant-based foods. Along with the reduction of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and brain deterioration and weakening, evidence suggests polyphenols may improve cell survival and prevent tumor growth. Like vitamin C, polyphenols may also defend against UV radiation, a major risk factor for most skin cancers.
Food Sources of polyphenols: tea, red wine, apples, cherries, berries, broccoli, onions, garlic, peppers, almonds, cashews, beans (black, pinto, kidney), pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and dark chocolate
The nutrients and foods suggested can lead to longevity and a younger appearance. However, the takeaway message is this: There is not a single anti-aging nutrient that can act and stand alone. A well-balanced diet filled with all nutritious foods along with physical activity and smoke cessation can not only contribute to a lengthened life quantity, but a life filled with quality.
Micronutrient Information Center. Linus Pauling Institute. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrients-health
Cabrera ÁJR. Zinc, aging, and immunosenescence: an overview. Pathobiology of Aging & Age Related Diseases. 2015;5:10.3402/pba.v5.25592. doi:10.3402/pba.v5.25592.
Wein H. How Resveratrol May Fight Aging. National Institutes of Health. Available at: http://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-resveratrol-may-fight-aging