As I’ve been telling my story these past few years about how I developed an anti-aging cookbook based on the food-is-medicine principle called FoodTrients, I’ve expanded my method for creating delicious, comforting recipes designed to keep you young, healthy and beautiful. It’s a lot easier than I imagined, and it’s the focus of The AGE BEAUTIFULLY COOKBOOK: Easy and Exotic Longevity Secrets from Around the World. The recipes are mainly quick and easy to make, and will introduce readers to age-defying foods and flavors from around the world, with a focus on beauty that emanates from the inside. As I have said many times, even the most expensive creams on the market can’t do as much for your health as feeding your body the right nutrients can.
What foods can you eat to help keep you looking younger and promote healthy smooth skin, strong nails, and shiny hair? Fruits, vegetables, melons, peppers, grains, nuts, mushrooms, and fish containing the FoodTrients anthocyanins, carotenoids, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamins C and E, as well as copper, silica, and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). Let’s explore these one at a time and see why they’re so good for our complexion, nails, and hair.
Anthocyanins improve capillary function. Your capillaries bring blood to your skin and are therefore very important for optimum skin health. You can get anthocyanins in your diet by eating red, blue, and purple fruits and vegetables. Berries are an excellent source. Plums, pomegranates, and grapes are, too.
Vegetable sources include eggplant, blue corn, blue potatoes, and tomatoes.
Carotenoids convert to vitamin A inside our bodies. Vitamin A boosts the production of collagen, which strengthens skin and hair. Orange and yellow fruits and veggies are rich sources of carotenoids. I love mangos, papayas, jackfruit, and sweet potatoes. In both of my cookbooks, I developed recipes that help build collagen and keep your skin young.
Kale, spinach, and moringa leaves are also good sources of carotenoids. Omega-3 fatty acids are the best possible way to give skin the fat it needs to stay hydrated and elastic, and therefore wrinkle-free. Oily fish such as salmon and sardines from the ocean contain plenty of this good fat.
Whole grains also provide omega-3s, as do seeds and nuts,-especially flaxseeds and walnuts.
Selenium helps skin stay elastic, allowing it to bounce back from all those facial expressions we use every day. Mushrooms and Brazil nuts are a great source of this mineral.
Vitamin C aids tissue regeneration, which is especially helpful after a facial, dermabrasion, or an acid peel. Citrus fruits, berries, melons, and peppers are all good sources. A spicy salsa with hot peppers and lime juice can be a real skin saver.
Vitamin E strengthens skin and hair, whether taken internally or used topically. Add vitamin E to your diet by snacking on nuts and seeds or even sea buckthorn berries. Whole grains and vegetable oils also contain good amounts of vitamin E.
Copper forms collagen to promote strong and youthful-looking skin. Buckwheat, beans, nuts, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, red meat, poultry, and liver all contain copper.
Silica improves the structure of collagen, elastin, and connective tissues in general. Believe it or not, beer is a good source of this mineral. Coffee and water also contain silica. Unrefined whole grains, seeds, cucumbers, onions and alfalfa sprouts do, too.
Superoxide dismutase, also known as SOD, fights free-radical damage in your skin cells. We all need that, no matter how old we are. Melons, such as honeydew and cantaloupe, are great sources of SOD, along with barley grass and wheatgrass. The next time you’re in a juice bar, ask for a glass of melon juice with a wheatgrass shooter. It will do your skin good. You can also eat Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, corn, and soy.
Of all the antioxidants we know about, the components of green tea are some of the most potent. So drink up, and fight those wrinkle-producing free radicals.
I hope this guide helps you eat your way to beautiful, younger-looking skin!