Long before fancy labs and conveniently packed pills existed, the human race primarily turned to food for treatment. Numerous studies have proven the potency of raw, organic superfoods as a means of treating everything from heart disease and Alzheimer’s, to the more inevitable consequence we face (on our face – get it?) with time – aging! ‘Let food be thy medicine,’ is a concept we live by at Raw Beauty Lab because we truly believe in the power of nutrition to help you live your best life.
At this point, you’re probably wondering why superfoods are referred to as a group? Simply put, no one food product will provide you with all the nutrients you need to give you radiant skin – hence the few foods (that haven’t been contaminated with preservatives, sweeteners or sugar) that have their own specific nutrients to contribute have made it onto the beauty food council and are together known as superfoods.
Save yourself the time, expense and side effects of medication and lotions and take the inside track to glowing, wrinkle free skin! And you’ll be even happier to know that almost all of these foods require no prep – just cut them open and eat away. There’s no excuse! Here are our top 10 ready to eat anti-aging superfoods!
Other than adding a pop of colour to salads, rice and chilli con carne, peppers are a powerhouse of nutrients that deserve a lot more recognition in the superfood arena. Bell peppers are loaded with nutrients that target almost all signs of anti-aging. They’re rich in vitamin b6 that helps maintain the health of red blood cells and reduce fatigue and potassium to improve heart health. They are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, responsible for collagen production, as well as antioxidants that help scavenge collagen degrading free radicals. The carotenoids responsible for their flamboyant coatings have anti-inflammatory benefits, preventing further damage by free radicals and also help to maintain joint health. You’d be mad not to include them into your diet, wouldn’t you agree?
Cut them into strips and eat directly or dipped into hummus for an afternoon snack!
This tropical fruit works directly to restore elasticity and vitality of your skin, and may give skincare moguls like retinol a run for its money! Filled with vitamin A, C, K, carotenoids, calcium and antioxidants, papaya works in numerous ways to help fight free radicals in your skin. It’s also rich in lycopene, an important anti-aging compound that helps protect your skin from UV-A/B radiation from the sun. And if all this wasn’t enough, its also rich in fibre and the enzyme papain which works as a natural exfoliant for your skin, but also improves digestion of dietary protein – making your long haul bathroom much more regular (remember your colon is one of many ways to remove waste from your body – so keeping that track clear is a sure way of keeping toxins and waste clear of your skin)!
Slice up a papaya right through the middle, remove out the seeds, sprinkle a little sea salt and lemon and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh directly – who ever needed a plate to eat them?
Abundant in collagen building vitamin C, fatigue relieving folate and trace minerals like manganese, strawberries are great for your skin. They are full of antioxidants like anthocyanins and ellagic acid that scavenge free radicals in the skin and prevent further damage by free radicals. Strawberries also have astringent properties (which normal people understand as causing contraction of skin cells), which can help reduce puffiness around the eyes so be sure to make these a staple in your morning breakfasts to reduce inflammation in your skin and make you under eyes seem tighter and brighter!
Aside from decorating muffins and pancakes, blueberries are a revered source of antioxidants that help maintain youthful hair and skin. They are rich in proanthocyanidins, a class of polyphenols that not only prevents premature greying of the hairs, but also helps stimulate hair growth. In addition, just one cup of wild blueberries was shown to include up to 13,400 antioxidants that worked together to scavenge free radicals in the skin and maintain collagen production. Give them a rinse and eat directly as a great mid-morning snack.
5. Red Grapes
Also known as nature’s candy, grapes are a rich source of resveratrol, an incredible anti-aging compound. Not only does it scavenge and neutralise the effects of free radicals itself, it also helps your body produce its own antioxidants to further fight free radicals. It is also packed with vitamin c to help promote collagen production, as well as vitamin E and linoleic acid that help strengthen and nourish your locks reducing hair fall! Ditch the ice cream during the summer months and put a bowl of grapes into the freezer for an hour to enjoy a delicious cool burst of sweetness!
A great snack for rabbits and humans alike, carrots are a great source of beta-carotene and vitamin c – skin friendly ingredients that help to produce and protect collagen in the skin. Beta carotene is also a precursor for retinol, which stimulates your skin cells to reproduce, allowing new healthy skin cells to reach the surface of your skin faster. Vitamin A is also responsible for maintaining the integrity of your skin – your body’s first line of defence against environmental pollutants, irritants and bacteria, preventing these harmful molecules from damaging your skin cells.
The last of the berry family to make it onto our list is the raspberry. Like strawberries, these pink drops of heaven are rich in ellagic acid and anthocyanin antioxidants to help prevent free radical damage in the skin. Raspberries can also be used to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and age spots as they are rich in the compound tiliroside that helps inhibit melanin production in the dermal layers of the skin. A handful (although you could easily get through many more) of these bright berries work great as a morning or evening (as they help control blood sugar) snack.
We had to have some kind of green make it to our list, so we might as well include the best one – broccoli. Other than boasting a ridiculously high content of vitamin c (yes even more so than oranges), broccoli is full of zinc, a powerful antioxidant against free radicals and a mineral required for wound healing in the skin in response to inflammation. It is also great for protecting and strengthening the hair shaft to reduce hair loss. If all this wasn’t enough, its also full of lutein, an antioxidant that helps to lock in moisture into the skin, preventing it from becoming dry and wrinkly. Season with sea salt and eat raw or (to make it more palatable), add the florets into your favourite sauce or curry!
Rich in vitamin C, beetroot is a great ingredient to add into an anti-aging diet! Other than promoting collagen production, studies have shown that beetroot is great for reducing age spots and hyperpigmentation and they also have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the collagen-degrading impact of free radicals. Beets also have vasodilatory properties, so including them in a nutritious diet can help increase nutrient rich blood flow to your body and skin cells, that will help them repair faster and combat the negative effects of aging. Although you can eat them raw, we’d recommend cooking them until soft and shredding with carrots and coconut yoghurt to make a delicious salad!
10. Sunflower Seeds
One of the most convenient to eat anti-aging foods available, sunflower seeds are great for the busy bee’s among us! Sunflower seeds are a rich source of zinc and biotin that help protect your skin and strengthen your hair and nails. They also are rich in fatty oils that help protect and maintain the skin’s moisture barrier and prevent trans epidermal water loss. Sunflower seeds are also a great source of the skincare veteran vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that scavenges free radicals and works in tandem with vitamin c to prevent UV induced collagen degradation. Preparation for these seeds couldn’t be easier – just eat them straight out the pack!
You’re armed with the ingredients and including these into your diet are a sure-fire way of improving the health of your skin and combating the signs of aging. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of superfoods, but a general rule of thumb you can follow is: the more colourful, the greater the anti-aging properties. But if getting in each of these superfoods seems like too much work, check out the Raw Beauty Lab Vegan Collagen Superfood – a free-dried powdered form of the superfoods I’ve mentioned in this article! You just need to scoop it out into a glass, add water (or milk or yoghurt), stir and drink! Anti-aging couldn’t get any simpler!