Updated 05/21/21. It is widely recognized by almost every skin researcher, doctor, and health professional that the key to healthy aging is protecting your cells with antioxidants. This is known as the free radical theory of aging. This theory states that the main reason why we age is that unstable electrons, which are known as free radicals, attack healthy cells and change their composition. These free radicals are potent toxins that damage the skin by attaching to proteins and other essential molecules, rendering them unable to function as healthy cells do. This ultimately results in premature cell death.
Free radicals can come from UVA and UVB rays, pollution, stress, smoking, alcohol, fatty foods, and even repetitive aerobic exercise. When exposed to free radicals, the parts of the cell susceptible to damage are DNA, lipids, and proteins. This, then, slows down the production of collagen and elastin, which are essential in keeping the skin firm and wrinkle-free. This process happens in our skin every minute of every day, making wrinkles, brown spots, and sagging more visible over time.
Don’t despair. The good news is that antioxidants, when applied topically and taken internally, are incredibly effective at slowing down the visible aging process. They’re so effective because they prevent free radicals from oxidizing molecules. You can find antioxidants in products like the Vitamin C&E Treatment and the Firm + Repair Overnight Serum, which contain stabilized vitamin A, C, and E. You can also find antioxidants in food! Vegetables and fruits (always look for the darker pigmented ones) are high in antioxidants, and when consumed frequently, act as a natural, inexpensive way to slow signs of aging. Keep scrolling to see 10 antioxidant-rich foods to consider incorporating into your diet.
10 Antioxidant-Rich Foods
These great little packages of green have something called glutathione, which is one of the body’s master antioxidants.
Broccoli is loaded with vitamin C, folic acid, and carotenoids, but it’s also high in sulfur, which aids in the body’s ability to produce its own glutathione. This vegetable also has possible anti-cancer potential.
Another antioxidant-rich food, sweet potatoes contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and carotenoids.
Dark-skinned grapes are especially beneficial; they provide more than 20 kinds of antioxidants. This means that raisins and red wine are also sources of antioxidants (cheers!).
Lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits are all loaded with vitamin C, which is our primary defense in the battle against time.
Add spinach to a salad or braise it with garlic to reap its antioxidant benefits. Specific carotenoids in spinach help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
Carrots, and other orange-colored fruits and vegetables, contain the entire carotenoid family to give us good protection against aging.
Believe it or not, a 1/4 section of this melon supplies us with as much vitamin A and C as is needed in an entire day.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant that helps fight against certain types of cancer. It also helps with memory retention.
Eat up, beauties! These antioxidant-rich foods can help promote healthy aging.
Speaking of healthy aging, sunscreen is critical, and you should be wearing it daily. Check out five mistakes that could be making your sunscreen less effective.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”