As we age, the surface layer of the skin thins. The layer beneath the surface also loses collagen — skin's scaffolding — and elastin, fibres that give skin its bounce. Far beneath the surface, fat cells also shrink. Resulting in wrinkling and sagging skin. You can blame some of this on exposure to the sun. Ultraviolet rays damage the skin and generate unstable molecules called free radicals that wreak further havoc by breaking down collagen. Smoking and air pollution have a similar effect.
The body fights back with its own antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals, but getting more antioxidants from foods as sweet and delicious as berries increases your protection when the damage starts to overwhelm the body's natural defenses.
Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, and Strawberries
Berries pack more antioxidant punch than any other fruit or vegetable tested. Red apples with the peel. All these fruits work beautifully to help protect skin from the damage that leads to wrinkles. Citrus fruits are also rich in antioxidants. Aim for: A cup of berries a day. Blend them into fruit smoothies, add them to breakfast cereal, and use them in pancake or muffin batter.
Vegetables and Beans
Add these foods to the fish and olive oil we already mentioned, and you're really feeding your skin the foods it needs to achieve that youthful smoothness. When researchers in Australia compared the diets and wrinkles of hundreds of people in Australia, Greece, and Sweden, they found that those who ate more vegetables, beans, fish, and olive oil had the fewest wrinkles. The researchers suspect it was a combination of monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and lean protein that did the trick.
Skinless Chicken, Fish and Nuts
Protein helps repair cells that have suffered free radical damage. When protein is digested, it breaks down into amino acids, the building blocks of cells. Having plenty of amino acids available helps to speed the repair and regeneration of skin cells and collagen.
Olive oil is chock full of oleic acid, one of the fatty acids that keep cell membranes fluid and therefore make skin supple. Olive oil also has small amounts of other essential fatty acids that fight inflammation. Yet another benefit comes in the form of vitamin E and polyphenols, a class of antioxidants that protect skin from free radical damage.
Thanks to its storehouse of polyphenols, green tea is high on the list of skin-friendly beverages.
Aim for: Four cups throughout the day. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, drink your last cup before 3:00 in the afternoon.
Salmon & Other Omega 3s
No doubt you’ve already heard what omega-3 fatty acids can do for your heart, but a nice piece of broiled salmon can also do wonders for your skin. The omega-3s provide a wealth of protection by keeping cell membranes fluid.
Skin cells need a bounty if fluid to keep their membranes supple and receptive to the nutrients that keep them healthy. Take out a half-gallon pitcher and fill it with water. That’s the very least you ought to drink in a day to keep your skin smooth and hydrated. If you’re sweating because of physical activity or being outside in hot weather, you should drink even more.
Almonds are seeds, not nuts, and they're stuffed with vitamin E, a potent sun blocker. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that helps to protect skin cells from UV light and other environmental factors that generate cell-damaging free radicals.
Sweet Potatoes: They not only pack a big yum; they're also loaded with vitamin C, which smooths out wrinkles. "Vitamin C is essential to collagen production and the more collagen you have, the less creased your skin looks.