Beautifully Aging

Superfoods do a lot of things, but trying to turn a frog into a prince might be pushing it. Offering some benefits that can help you live a longer and more vigorous life, however, is definitely within their call of duty.

Eating superfoods helps you stay youthful, and the earlier you start with superfoods, the more age-defying benefits you can gain. Of course, these foods need to be a piece of the whole puzzle, not the sole solution for beautiful skin and a healthy body. Don’t forget about smart lifestyle choices — like exercising regularly, giving up smoking, and so on — too.

Keeping that youthful glow

The health and beauty sections of every store from Wal-Mart to Macy’s are stuffed with creams, lotions, cleansers, moisturizers, and make-up designed to minimize the signs of aging. But a diet that includes superfoods can do just as much — and even more — to keep your skin healthy and young-looking.

The skin deals with so many different factors — sun, pollution, extreme weather, and other irritants — that it needs a continual supply of antioxidants to help protect it. Fortunately, superfoods are chock-full of many of the main nutrients your skin needs, including:

Vitamins A, E, and C: These are all common additions to popular skin creams because they’re helpful in protecting the skin and vital in repairing damaged skin. Common foods that contain high levels of these vitamins include carrots (vitamin A); nuts and seeds (vitamin E); spinach (vitamins A and E); and broccoli, strawberries, and oranges (vitamin C).

Zinc and selenium: Zinc, which is active in the synthesis of collagen, is another common addition to sunscreens and skin lotions. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc, as are nuts and beans. Selenium exhibits antioxidant effects that have been found to reduce skin cancer. Selenium is found in fish and nuts (especially Brazil nuts).

Bioflavonoids: Sometimes known as “vitamin P” because of their many benefits, bioflavonoids aren’t really vitamins. They’re the pigments found in the skins of colorful fruits and vegetables. These pigments contain concentrated antioxidants that actually are more powerful than vitamins. They help increase vitamin C levels and reduce destruction of collagen in the skin.

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA): This is a fatty acid made by the body and found in foods such as broccoli and spinach. Although the body produces ALA, it doesn’t make nearly enough to be helpful for fighting disease and inflammation. Plus, your body produces less as you age, so making sure you get enough from your diet becomes even more important the older you get. Alpha-lipoic acid not only has antioxidant properties, but also can help recycle some vitamins and other antioxidants.

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