Unfortunately there is no fountain of youth. Even if we cannot stop the aging process, we can still be aware of how we deal with our body in the process. The food and nutrients that we add to our bodies as we age are one of the best ways to take care of ourselves.
But how do we know which foods are most helpful when it comes to turning down the aging scale? Thankfully, we spoke to several nutritionists, doctors, and nutrition experts to find the answers. Read on to learn about popular foods that slow aging after 50, as well as check out popular foods that you should never eat after 50.
For those looking to age well, avocados can be a helpful addition. Laura Burak, MS, RD, Founder of GetNaked® Nutrition and author of Slimdown with Smoothies, says avocados are a necessary part of their daily life. “Rich in heart-healthy fats and fiber, B vitamins, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K, avocados are not only helpful in protecting us from the inevitable aging process, but they are also filling and delicious. Plus “They make your meals happy, which in turn makes you happy, and don’t they say that happier people live longer?”
When it comes to keeping that glowing skin, Melissa Mitri, RD says avocados are a reliable source. “Avocados are a plentiful source of anti-inflammatory fats that promote smooth, glowing skin,” says Mitri, “and they’re high in vitamin A, which can help the body remove dead skin cells.”
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Certain types of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, cod and herring have been shown to help reduce inflammation in aging skin and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that oily fish can slow and sometimes prevent symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in aging patients. Given that some AD cases are genetic, according to an article in the PLEFA Journal, it has been shown that a regular diet of omega-3 fatty acids can actually lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Today we know that vitamin A, which is also found in avocados, can help our skin maintain its elasticity and fight inflammation. “Blueberries are a rich source of vitamins A and C, which can reduce inflammation that can lead to skin damage and aging,” says Mitri.
In addition to strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries, blueberries contain tons of antioxidants and bioactive compounds, making them incredibly powerful superfoods to help fight aging. “Blueberries also contain a specific antioxidant called anthocyanins that can protect the skin by reducing the general inflammation in the body,” says Mitri.
Related: What Happens If You Eat Blueberries Every Day?
Leafy vegetables like kale or spinach are also known to slow aging in people over 50. According to Marie Ruggles, MS, RD, CN, CDE, Creator of The Whole Foods Quick Start Guide with Tracker, “Foods that are high in nutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds are antiaging because these compounds protect our cells and DNA.”
While there are a ton of different foods we can use to get these nutrients and compounds, Ruggles believes that leafy greens are among the best. “Leaf greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other bioactive compounds, and offer a robust supply of anti-aging compounds that are needed on a daily basis,” says Ruggles. “Cooked vegetables, like sauteed baby cabbage or a salad with raw dark greens, both work very well.”
Olive oil is primarily made up of a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid, which is one of the many reasons it is such an important part of a healthy diet as it ages. “Olive oil has been studied extensively as a major common ingredient in the diet of the Blue Zones, the areas of the world where people live longest,” says Burack.
There’s a reason olive oil is such a popular supplement in many people’s skin care regimes. According to Ruggles, one reason it’s so good for aging skin is because its compounds mimic some of those in our own skin. “Our cell membranes are made of fatty acids, such as those provided by olive oil,” says Ruggles. “Cells are constantly renewing themselves and need a regular supply of fatty acids from olive oil to make new healthy cells.” (Read More: What Eating Olive Oil Does To Your Body.)
Speaking of healthy fats, nuts are also a great addition to an age-friendly diet. “Nuts and seeds are plant-based foods that are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which can be beneficial in repairing the skin from damage in old age,” says Burack.
Not only does vitamin E help repair our skin and maintain its elasticity, but it also helps our overall health as we age. It has been proven that as we age, we experience more inflammation in our bodies. And according to a 2009 French study of vitamin E and the elderly, it was found that vitamin E reduced this inflammation, improved our immune system function, and improved our metabolism as we age.
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