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17 Stay-Young Powerfoods for Your Hair, Skin and Nails

Expert tips for anti-aging living.

It was all the way back on the first season of the Mary Tyler Moore Show that Rhoda observed she should apply a sweet snack directly to her hips, so quickly did anything sugary affect her waistline. Weight tends to be our major preoccupation when it comes to diet, and for good reason. But today we know that what we eat can affect much more than the number on the scale—like the mental number staring back at us in the mirror.  Yes, food can affect how young we look. Some, like sugar, can age us prematurely, and others can keep us looking vibrant and youthful. We asked experts to give us their favorite dietary de-agers. These are 17 stay-young powerfoods for your whole body. 


Cooking healthy food. Hands holding champignon mushrooms, flat lay.

"While one food in particular won't stop the aging process, certain nutrient-dense, whole foods rich in antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties may help protect the skin and slow cell damage," says Maria Emerick, MS, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Mushrooms are one of her top picks for antioxidant powerfoods. "Considered one of the top anti-inflammatory foods, mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional Asian medicine for health-promoting purposes, including preventing and treating chronic diseases, containing beneficial prebiotics, preventing growth of amyloid proteins related to dementia, while being a naturally occurring source of Vitamin D." Her favorites are wood ear, lion's mane, and porcini.


strawberries healthy berries cancer aging

"Berries are rich in several vitamins and minerals, and are antioxidant powerhouses," says Emerick. "The anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and vasoprotective effects combined protect against heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and Alzheimer's disease. Each of these aspects has implications in multiple areas of healthy aging." Berries' high levels of vitamin C and anthocyanins can help protect skin from oxidative stress and maintain its youthful look, says Meaghan Greenwood, RD, a registered dietitian with Hourglass Waist.

Sweet Potatoes

Carrots and Sweet Potatoes

"Sweet potatoes' beta-carotene turns into vitamin A for good eyesight and radiant skin," says Dr. Saya Nagori, an ophthalmologist and founder of Eye Facts. Beta carotene can contribute to a healthy complexion by reducing redness and promoting an even skin tone, says Greenwood.


thyroid foods Raw salmon

"Salmon is considered a superfood that contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and protein," says registered dietitian and personal trainer Jesse Feder, RDN, CPT. "These fatty acids are great for reducing your LDL or bad cholesterol levels, maintaining healthy blood pressure, reducing inflammation throughout the body, and improving brain health. Salmon's high protein content is great for supporting lean muscle tissue, skin health, and overall energy levels as well."


raw almonds on gray surface

Almonds are loaded with healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. "The healthy fats are especially good for lowering blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and controlling blood sugar," says Feder. "This can help reduce or prevent you from developing common chronic health conditions that can affect your energy levels and appearance."

Green Tea

Bearded man drinking green tea from a mug

"The catechins contained in green tea have been shown to boost skin cell regeneration and stimulate collagen production," says Reda Elmardi, RD, CPT, a registered dietitian and owner of ActivBuilt in New York City. "They also contain anti-cancer properties and prevent skin deterioration in the elderly and those with skin conditions like eczema. Not only do these properties benefit the skin on the surface, but green tea can also help protect the underlying tissues from damage over time."


turmeric curcumin

"Turmeric is one of the oldest herbs known for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to promote circulation," says Elmardi."It's also one of the few herbs that has been shown to increase collagen production which fights against age-related deficiencies like wrinkles and thinning hairlines."

Leafy Greens

Bowl of Spinach

"Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as antioxidants, which can protect your skin from sun damage and maintain a youthful glow," says Greenwood.


stay sharp cherry tomatoes improve memory

The naturally occurring lycopene in tomatoes can protect skin from sunlight and eyes from light-related damage, says Nagori. 


avocado health tweaks over 40

The healthy fats in avocados hydrate skin, reduce swelling, and protect the retina of the eye, says Nagori. 

Nuts and Seeds

winter superfoods, Best Foods for Maximizing Your Energy Levels

"Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are excellent sources of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that support skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines," says Greenwood.

Beans, Chickpeas and Lentils

Green, black, and red lentils in piles on a wood table.
monticello / Shutterstock

Also known as pulses, these are rich in fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates—and anti-aging benefits. "Including pulses in daily consumption can prevent diabetes, heart problems, obesity, certain types of cancers, and lower cholesterol values," says Emerick. "Replacing half or even all meat consumed with pulses is a great way to eat less unhealthy saturated fat, which contributes to increased longevity." She recommends lupini beans, chickpeas, and lentils.


broccoli on a plate

Broccoli is another antioxidant-rich food with anti-aging properties. Here, lutein and zeaxanthin are key to stopping breakdown of the macula, the part of the eye's retina that processes what you see, says Nagori.  

Dark Chocolate

Gourmet and appetizing dark chocolate bar with cocoa beans. Healthy food.

"Dark chocolate has flavonoids which may support heart and skin health by fighting UV damage," says Nagori. "They also may improve vision by optimizing blood flow to the brain and retina."


watermelon with black seeds on a table
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

"In addition to being a good source of Vitamin C, watermelon is also a great source of water," says Catherine Rall, a registered dietitian with Happy V. "Hydration is essential for healthy skin."

 RELATED: 2 Alternatives That Are Just As Beneficial as Walking 10,000 Steps

Pomegranate Seeds

pomegranates on wooden table, rosh hashanah facts

"Another great source of Vitamin C, these little red seeds help protect the body from free radical damage keeping your skin young and wrinkle-free," says weight loss therapist Dr. Candice Seti.


bowl of oatmeal

"Oatmeal and other whole grains like brown rice and quinoa can combat inflammation and provide a good amount of B vitamins, which are great for the skin," says Seti. 

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a seasoned writer and editor with a passion for helping people make life-improving decisions. Read more
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