Firm and Bright
You’re probably up to your eyebrows (Botoxed or not) with hearing "eat more fruits and vegetables." But if you have yet to take that advice to heart, maybe knowing that they prevent wrinkles will do the trick. The colorful pigments that produce bright orange and red also refill antioxidant levels in your skin.
The skin doc’s 3 top picks: SWEET POTATOES, TOMATOES, CANTALOUPE
What they do: Replenish your skin’s supply of antioxidants, so they’re ready to scarf up free radicals whenever they make an appearance. Free rads are highly reactive oxygen molecules that damage cells and contribute to just about everything that can go wrong with skin, from dryness to crinkles.
Fresh and Juicy
Your body can’t store much wrinkle-fighting vitamin C, so you need to keep your supplies stoked. The easiest, simplest way: Have some citrus every day.
The skin doc’s 4 top picks: ORANGES, LEMONS, LIMES, GRAPEFRUIT.
Actually, ounce for ounce, oranges are the top citrus C source but you can only eat so many, right? For variety, make lemonade, squeeze limes on melon, add grapefruit to salad, and instead of drinking soda, fizz up OJ with sparkling water. It all adds up.
What they do: Keep skin’s vitamin C levels high. While C’s a nifty antioxidant, that’s not the key reason it’s here. It helps keeps collagen — the supportive protein fibers that stop skin from sagging — strong and resilient. (Flimsy collagen means lines and wrinkles.) Since collagen breakdown really picks up in your mid-30s, eat citrus early and often to head off aging.
Smoothing and Soothing
There’s a particularly potent antioxidant known as EGCG that does all kinds of good things for skin. The best place to find it? True teas: black, green, or white (not herbal). Brew a teapot full every morning, so that sipping four to six cups throughout the day is a no-brainer.
The skin doc’s #1 pick: GREEN TEA.
While all true teas contain EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), the various types of green tea have the most. Wechsler’s personal favorite is hojicha green tea (available at http://www.adagio.com/). "The roasting process that turns this green tea a brownish color also lowers its caffeine content," she says — handy if you’re caffeine sensitive or it’s one of those days when you do not need another stimulant.
What it does: Gives your skin a healthy dose of EGCG, which is a great multi-tasker. EGCG puts a damper on inflammatory chemicals involved in acne and sun-related skin aging; it also helps prevent skin cancer; and it has a lion-tamer effect on tumor cells. What’s more, green tea contains L-theanine, a de-tensing amino acid — and anything you can do to staunch the flow of the stress hormone cortisol helps keep collagen fibers intact.
Green and Leafy
Certain dark leafy greens, whether they’re fresh, frozen, raw, or steamed, really deliver on vitamin A, one of the most skin-essential vitamins going.
The skin doc’s 3 top picks: SPINACH, TURNIP GREENS, BROCCOLI
What they do: Deliver a hefty supply of vitamin A, which supports skin cell turnover, the process that keeps cell growth and development humming along flawlessly. Without enough A, skin becomes dry, tough, and scaly.
Several cold-water catches give your skin a double benefit: age-fighting omega-3 fatty acids plus the restorative powers of protein.
The skin doc’s 7 top picks: SALMON, TROUT, TUNA, ATLANTIC MACKEREL, SARDINES, PACIFIC HERRING, MOST SHELLFISH.
Just don’t, uh, go overboard. As good as omega-3s are for skin (and the rest of you, too), worries about the amount of mercury in many fish mean it’s smart to limit seafood to two meals a week. That’s a must for women who are or might become pregnant or are nursing, and for young children, too.
What they do: Omega-3s fight inflammation, now considered one of the top skin-agers, and they also help protect against sunburn, enhancing the effects of your SPF sunscreen. Protein is required to build and repair skin cells and to make enzymes and hormones that help keep it glowing.
Fill your weekly grocery cart with all of the above foods and you won’t just look younger, you’ll be younger. Eating at least 1 serving of fish a week and getting the right amount of antioxidants through diet or supplements lower your biological age. In fact, the antioxidants alone can make your RealAge up to 6 years younger.