8 Foods That Can Help Fight Wrinkles—and 2 You Should Avoid

Water

When you’re not downing a cup of tea, stay hydrated with plenty of water. Keeping skin cells full of fluid help them take in healthy nutrients more easily and keep the membranes supple, meaning your skin will look hydrated and smooth. Sip at least eight 8-ounce glasses every day, and up your intake if you’ve been spending time in the heat or being physically active. But there is too much of a good thing—don’t miss these signs you’re drinking too much water.

 

Skinless chicken

Lean meat like chicken breasts, fish, and beans are packed with protein. While you’re digesting them, your body breaks protein down into amino acids to help build cells back up. Having plenty available will make it easier to repair and rebuild skin cells and the collagen that gives your skin structure. Try to squeeze a bit of lean protein into every meal, especially if you’re showing these signs of protein deficiency.

 

Garlic

The pungent herb is packed with skin-protecting antioxidants called polyphenols, which help protect your skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that break down collagen. Let chopped garlic stand for 10 to 15 minutes before adding it to a recipe to give it a chance to let its active compounds develop. Garlic and other polyphenol-rich foods are also some of the top cancer-preventing foods.

Green tea

Coffee might increase wrinkles by upping stress hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline. Instead, get your caffeine fix from green tea, which is chock-full of polyphenols. Sip four cups a day, but cut yourself off after 3 p.m. if your body is sensitive to caffeine. Check out these other ways to beat the afternoon slump.

Raspberries

Berries—whether raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries—have more antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable. Those antioxidants are your skin’s savior, protecting against wrinkle-causing skin damage. Aim for a cup a day, blended into a smoothie or tossed into a salad. (Find out why berries are one of the best ice cream toppings.)

Olive oil

This healthy oil is loaded with oleic acid, a fatty acid that makes skin soft by keeping cell membranes fluid. Its vitamin E and polyphenols also help your skin look young. To get the most antioxidants, choose a 100 percent extra-virgin olive oil, which has the most antioxidants because it’s the least refined. Use it for your fat in most dishes, but avoid heating it too much or it will lose some of its healing properties. Find out if your body is showing it needs more healthy fats.

Salmon

The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon aren’t just good for your heart. They also keep cell membranes fluid to help give your skin youthful smoothness. Eat at least two four-ounce servings of oily fish like salmon and mackerel every week. Salmon is also a excellent food source of vitamin D. Here are signs you aren’t getting enough vitamins.

Beans

People who eat the most beans, fish, vegetables, and olive oils have the fewest wrinkles, found one Australian study of people in Australia, Sweden, and Greece. The researchers think the combination of healthy monounsaturated fats, lean protein, and antioxidants helped fight against aging. Eat a bean-based meal at least once a week, and try to get five or six ½-cup servings of vegetables every day. Find out more food staples healthy people always have in their pantries.

Curb caffeine consumption

Some health professionals believe that coffee contributes to wrinkles by increasing stress hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline.

Skip the sugar

It’s time to kick that cake and candy bar habit. Several studies indicate that consuming sugary foods and beverages like sodas can damage collagen, the protein that supports skin.

This article originally appeared in Reader’s Digest

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