Seeing the first wrinkles around your eyes or anywhere else on your face can be a scary experience. It’s almost unbelievable that this is happening to you, too! And, naturally, we all want to stay young forever. It is an inherent desire of every human being to elongate their life, preserving their strength and good looks as long as possible.
Fortunately, eating a plant-based diet contributes to such a goal! Furthermore, there are certain plant foods that are even better at helping you achieve a youthful appearance. We often stick to a few options that we are used to, and it is not uncommon that we fail to include a greater variety of healthy options into our menu.
Here are 12 vegan foods that you should start eating more of if you wish to prevent the aging process, keep your skin young-looking, and your energy levels skyrocketing.
This tropical favorite can help you appear seriously dewy: “Pineapple is rich in a mineral called manganese, which is needed to activate an enzyme called prolidase,” says Lisa Hayim, R.D. “Prolidase provides the amino acid proline for the formation of collagen in skin, which plays a role in skin strength and elasticity.”
Besides being wildly addictive in a froyo swirl, these tiny seeds also add a nice burst of sweetness to salads. “Pomegranate seeds contain compounds that fight damage from free radicals and increase your body’s ability to preserve collagen,” DeFazio says.
If you’re a fan of this briny fruit (yes, fruit), there’s no reason you shouldn’t eat it all the time. “Olives are an incredible source of polyphenols and other phytonutrients that help protect your DNA and keep you looking and feeling younger,” Moalem says. Just be sure to skip the canned kind, as the pitting process actually strips the olive of vital nutrients that you’re after.
“Cooked tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant that protects the skin from damage,” Hayim says. “While raw tomatoes still provide the body with lycopene, the cooking process [makes it] easier to absorb.” Soup, anyone?
A potent spice for your pantry, saffron is a bold flavor that delivers even stronger nutrients. “[It] contains the carotenoid phytonutrients crocin and crocetin, which have been shown to have anti-tumor and antioxidant effects, Moalem says. These compounds can also improve the symptoms associated with depression and PMS, and can even curb excessive snacking behaviors — all factors that prematurely age your DNA, she adds.
“Green herbs are nutrient dense, and cilantro is particularly supportive for detoxifying your body,” Kay says. “Cilantro may also have heavy-metal chelation action, meaning it fights to remove metal accumulation from your body, like from mercury found in tuna.” If the herb tastes soapy when you eat it, you’re not weird: research shows that it’s built into your genes. If you like using it anyway, try it in soups and salads to help boost other ingredients’ flavor.
“Soy foods [like edamame] are excellent for healthy bones and your cardiovascular system,” Hever says. “As women hit menopause and estrogen levels taper down, soy provides phytoestrogens, compounds [found in food that mimic estrogen], which have been shown to reduce bone loss and risk for heart disease.”
“Mushrooms are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, a [nutrient that] most people don’t have enough of,” Lakatos and Lakatos Shames say. “Without [it], you can’t properly absorb calcium, which will lead to osteoporosis, broken bones, and a hunched spine — and nothing ages you more than that.”
If you’re tired of boring ole’ white potatoes, grab the orange kind instead. Because they’re full of vitamin A (that’s what gives ’em the orange hue), they help fight off fine lines and wrinkles by revitalizing damaged collagen. Keep things simple by baking it in the oven, then topping with veggies or chili.
Sorry, but you’re going to have to pass on the milk chocolate and pick up the dark variety if you want to lock in those anti-aging health benefits. Why? “Dark chocolate is loaded with flavanols, which are believed to benefit [your] appearance by increasing blood flow to the skin,” says Mitzi Dulan, R.D. “Flavanols also absorb UV radiation, protecting your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.”
Treat yourself to a slice of this summer fruit to keep your skin young. “Watermelon is packed with lycopene, which [acts] as a natural sunblock, protecting it from ultraviolet rays that damage and age the skin, create sunspots, and make skin look weathered,” say Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames. The water content doesn’t hurt either, as its massive amounts helps keep your skin hydrated and plump, DeFazio adds.
Just like the omega-3s found in salmon, avocados are jam-packed with the inflammation-fighting fatty acids that keep the immune system functioning properly. They also help both your mind and body age gracefully, so add the green fruit into your salads, top your toast, or use it to make a healthy pudding.
You know that hydration is critical when you want to look and feel your best, but if you’re already dehydrated, fluids that have a little salt and sugar in them can actually hydrate you better than water alone, Kay says. “Try diluting fruit juice (half water, half unsweetened juice), and add a pinch of salt,” she suggests. It’ll give your skin cells the hydration it needs to get that glowing, dewy look.
To further improve your skin condition, vitality and health, Download The Complete Vegan Recipe Solution, which features 145 nutrient-dense delicious vegan recipes that will sky-rocket your energy levels and boost your health.
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