If you want to age gracefully, it’s important to eat foods that fight the signs of aging in your body and keep inflammation at bay in your body. Inflammation can be bad for you when it occurs inside your body (your organs or joints), but it can be even worse when it occurs outside your body (your skin). Luckily, there are plenty of healthy anti-inflammatory foods you can eat to reduce the aging effects on your skin, including these six anti-inflammatory foods that fight aging naturally.
Multiple studies have proven that eating a healthy diet rich in berries can help lower inflammation, reduce oxidative stress and improve heart health. But what makes berries so great for anti-aging? Berries are superfoods because they’re loaded with anthocyanins and other antioxidants—powerful compounds that block inflammatory enzymes and protect cell membranes. Eating one serving of blueberries per day has been shown to cut C-reactive protein levels (an important marker of inflammation) by 20%. This helps decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer and accelerated aging. What’s more, research shows strawberries can reduce markers of oxidative stress by 40% in just eight weeks! What’s even better: multiple studies suggest they may improve cognitive function due to their high antioxidant content.
Eating foods high in fatty fish can help fight inflammation throughout your body, but experts recommend eating one to two servings per week. That’s because fatty fish are higher in mercury than other varieties and should be consumed in moderation—especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, and sardines are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, making them a smart choice when it comes to preventing chronic illness as well as heart disease. Walnuts and almonds also contain fatty acids that may help reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that people who eat nuts regularly are less likely to die from heart disease.
One of your best bets for anti-inflammatory foods for healthy aging is broccoli. Broccoli contains three polyphenols: sulforaphane, indole-3 carbinol, and diindolylmethane. These substances fight inflammation at a genetic level by stimulating our body’s natural antioxidants and repair systems. In addition to reducing inflammation in our bodies as we age, these powerful plant nutrients also play a role in preventing cancer and help fight off heart disease!
Rich in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, avocados are also high in glutathione, an antioxidant that prevents damage to healthy cells. In fact, a medium avocado is said to contain as much as 10% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C—the same amount found in 4 oranges! Avocados are a good source of potassium too; one fruit contains over 20% of your RDI. Potassium is important for heart health because it helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The mono-unsaturated fats in avocados help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart disease if left untreated.
Green tea is a natural antioxidant. In addition to antioxidants, green tea also contains caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which helps reduce inflammation in your body. Antioxidants are key components of anti-inflammatory foods because they help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals that are byproducts of normal metabolic functions. Free radicals can cause cell death or lead to tumor growth, so eating anti-inflammatory foods is an easy way to keep your body healthy and younger-looking.
Capsaicin, a natural chemical found in red and yellow hot peppers, has a reputation for preventing chronic inflammation. (That’s how it gives chilies their kick.) Even though studies haven’t definitively linked capsaicin to improved health outcomes, eating chilies regularly helps ease arthritis symptoms—including pain, stiffness, and joint swelling. Start with small amounts of pepper (so you don’t set off internal fire alarms) and build up to about a teaspoon per day. Bonus: Red peppers are also loaded with vitamin C and fiber!