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The Best Anti-Aging Foods to Add to Your Diet

Best for Softening Skin: Pomegranates

pomegranate seeds as an anti-aging food

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This fruit is packed with vitamin C, which helps guard against the wrinkling effects of sun damage. Plus, says Debra Jaliman, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, the juice in pomegranate seeds contains both ellagic acid and punicalagin. The first is a polyphenol compound that fights damage from free radicals; the second is a supernutrient that may increase your body's capacity to preserve collagen, the subdermal connective tissue that makes skin look smooth and plump. (Related: The Best Foods for Good Skin)

Ideal dose of this anti-aging food: A cup of pomegranate seeds—not just juice—every week, suggests Jackie Newgent, R.D., a nutritionist based in New York City.

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Best for Smoothing Fine Lines: Blueberries or Concord Grapes

concord grapes anti-aging foods

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Blueberries contain more antioxidants than almost any other food. Translation: They can give your skin extra protection against the skin-damaging free radicals that result from sun exposure, emotional stress, and even overexercising (especially running). Similarly, the dark purple skin and seeds of Concord grapes are loaded with polyphenols that may help keep your mind young and sharp. These powerful compounds help your arteries stay flexible, which may help improve blood flow to your brain.

Ideal dose of this anti-aging food: One-half cup of either violet-hued fruit every day will help to prevent the cell-structure damage that can lead to loss of firmness, fine lines, and wrinkles.

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Best for Firming: Kale, Spinach, or Swiss Chard

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These vital veggies contain special phytonutrients, or antioxidant compounds, that help guard against damage caused by the sun. Spinach is loaded with beta-carotene and lutein, two nutrients that have been shown to improve skin elasticity, according to a study in the journal Nutrients. Swiss chard leaves—and their leafy green cousins, kale and broccoli—are also packed with chlorophyll, a nutrient that can block the effects of cancer-causing chemicals.

Ideal dose of this anti-aging food: Every week, aim for three cups of either kale, spinach, or chard, or a combination of all three, suggests Newgent.

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Best for Reducing Redness: Cold-Water Fish

anti-aging food seafood and sushi

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Sardines, salmon, and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids, which strengthen skin-cell membranes, helping keep moisture in. Consuming two servings of fish a week can reduce chronic skin inflammations, such as eczema and psoriasis. As a bonus, these anti-aging foods are one of the leanest sources of protein, helping you maintain and build muscle. Making seafood a regular part of your diet can not only keep your brain, heart, and skin feeling young, it can help you live longer. In a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, older adults with higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids from seafood lived an average of 2.2 years longer than people with lower levels of omega-3s.

Ideal dose of this anti-aging food: No more than six 6-ounce portions a week to avoid mercury contamination. Vegetarian? Score your omega-3s from these sources.

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Best for Diminishing Brown Spots: Green Tea

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This healthy brew, says Dr. Jaliman, contains catechins (one of the most effective compounds for preventing sun damage like hyperpigmentation) and polyphenols (antioxidants that combat free-radical damage and may reverse the effects of aging). (Here's more on the benefits of matcha green tea.)

Ideal dose of this anti-aging food: At least one cup a day to see results in as little as a month.

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Best for a Dewy Complexion: Watermelon and Tomatoes

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Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant linked to heart health, strong bones, and more. Both of these fruits contain the ultimate antioxidant, vitamin C, plus lycopene and potassium, which regulate the balance of water and nutrients in cells. Beyond being a stellar skin supplement, lycopene has been proven to help lower total cholesterol, LDL, and triglyceride levels in the blood. (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin C Skin Care)

Ideal dose of this anti-aging food: At least one to two cups of each a week.

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Best for a Healthy Glow: Olive Oil

olive oil best anti aging foods

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The "good fats" in olive oil are highly beneficial; they contain heart-healthy omega-3s, which improve circulation, leaving skin rosy and supple. The polyphenols provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power that can help prevent diseases linked to aging, such as Alzheimer's disease. If eating this anti-aging food isn't enough for you, putting extra-virgin olive oil on your skin as a natural moisturizer may also help prevent wrinkles thanks to its antioxidant content. (Related: The 30 Most Hydrating Foods on the Planet)

Ideal dose of this anti-aging food: A tablespoon a day, says Newgent.

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More Smooth Moves

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Fine lines, dark spots, and furrowed brows also can be repaired—or prevented—with some skincare basics.

Yes! You Should...

  • Wear an SPF 30 sunscreen every day, year-round.
  • Apply a weekly hydrating masque.
  • Eat fruits and veggies with a high water content, such as cucumber and apples.
  • Wear sunglasses—even at sunset—to prevent fine lines.
  • Sleep on a satin pillowcase to prevent creases.

No, Please Don't...

  • OD on at-home chemical peels (once a week is enough).
  • Pick at blemishes.
  • Try every latest, greatest treatment—skin likes routine.
  • Take too-hot showers.
  • Go out in the wind bare-faced.

Photo: Fernando Milani


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