November 28: The Fountain of Youth might be myth, but foods that make you look younger are not. Of course, a device that can turn back the clock on your age is probably years away, but there are some foods which can ensure good health for your skin, hence making you look younger, as you age. Not just that, eating right can ensure good health for your organs as well, making them function at an optimal rate, depending on your body age. Besides, there’s always the added benefit of giving your body an immunity boost, by ensuring that your diet includes healthy food.

In fact, your diet directly affects your day-to-day appearance and plays a very important role in how well you age in the long term. For that, you must ensure that your food plan includes meals which add important nutrients, minerals and fatty acids, which act as building blocks for your hair and skin, and also make them immune against pollution and environmental stresses. ALSO READ: Foods to Avoid Before Sex: 10 foods you should never eat right before having sex

Here are 10 foods which can help you look younger:

1.Vegetables

Vegetables like broccoli and kale protect your skin against damage from Sun radiation

You mother knows what she is talking about when she urges you to finish your broccoli and carrots. Vegetables are extremely high on nutrients and low on calories. Carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are great sources of beta carotene, which protects the skin against free radical creation. Free radicals can be created due to long exposure to Sun radiation or pollutants in the air. They lead to skin ageing. Broccoli is also a great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants, which slow down creation of free radicals. Kale is great for reducing under-eye dark circles, as it increases blood circulation.

So We’re Saying: Consume as many veggies as you can with your meals. Add some stir-fried bell peppers, or cooked leafy greens to your meat dish, to protect your skin against free radical damage.

2. Avocado

Avocados are tasty, healthy and versatile!

The recent obsession with avocados has its roots in the fact that this fruit is packed with all sorts of good nutrients. Avocados are a rich source of a unique compound called polyhydroxylated fatty alcohol, which helps fight skin inflammation. It protects your skin against damage and helps repair DNA. Avocado is also rich in oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid, which helps retain moisture in the outer layer of the skin, making it look fresh. What’s more, they’re delicious and go well with almost everything!

So We’re Saying: Include these savory gifts of nature in your morning meals. There are various easy avocado salads and sandwich recipes available on the internet. You can take advantage of the versatile nature of the avocado and experiment with various ingredients to create yummy avocado recipes for your family.

3. Pomegranate

Pomegranates are rich in polyphenols

Pomegranate might be one of the lesser popular fruits, but it’s one blessing of a fruit, when it comes repairing skin damage and inflammation. The fruit is a better antioxidant source than even green tea extracts, hence it works great in slowing down free radical creation. Pomegranate is rich in polyphenol catechins, which protect against Sun radiation and even its outer cover is useful in increasing collagen production in the skin.

So We’re Saying: Make sure you include pomegranate in your diet, especially on sunny days. You can consume the seeds directly or squeeze fresh pomegranate juice and drink it. You can also use the peel to create a face pack, by drying the rind, grinding it in a mixer and mixing it with rose water or milk. The same can then be applied on the skin to protect it from damage.

4. Berries

Frozen berries can be used in a variety of desserts
Frozen berries can be used in a variety of desserts

Blueberries, cranberries and acai berries are all rich sources of anti oxidants. Acai berries rank especially higher on anti oxidant content, with an amazing Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score. Blueberries supply Vitamins C and E, both of which brighten the skin, even out skin tone and fight free radicals. Blueberries are also rich sources of what is called arubtin- a natural derivative of the skin lightener hydroquinone.

So We’re Saying: Berries can be included in smoothies, muffins, jams. The dessert possibilities using frozen berries, are simply endless. You can make also make sweet and sour mixed berry compote and eat it with crepes or yogurt, or include them in a bowl of oats/barley or corn flakes. You can also add a few berries to your salad to give it a unique twist.

5. Ginger

Ginger has gingerol which acts as a skin whitening agent
Ginger has gingerol which acts as a skin whitening agent. (Credits: Didriks, Creative Commons/Flickr)

Ginger is an Indian spice, being used in traditional medicines for ages. Besides being great for boosting immunity and weight-reduction, ginger is also great for skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has also been known for promoting skin-whitening due to the presence of gingerol. Additionally, spices like cinnamon (daalcheeni) and chilli peppers also help in slowing down skin ageing.

So We’re Saying: Include a healthy dose of ginger in your daily diet. Drink it with warm water and lemon in the morning for maximum benefit, or add ginger extract to your daily cup of green tea. You can also make candied ginger at home, as a healthy and sweet and spicy treat for your kids.

6. Green Tea

Green tea protects collagen proteins from damage
Green tea protects collagen proteins from damage

Green tea has become one of the most popular teas in the recent times, due to its slimming properties. But it’s also great for the skin. Besides being packed with anti oxidants, it also a polyphenols, which protect the main protein in your skin- collagen fibres. The beverage has even been known for reversing some of the signs of skin ageing.

So We’re Saying: Drink at least two-cups of green tea, to significantly improve your skin texture. You can also opt for matcha powder, which is basically finely milled green tea, and mix it with milk or coffee to make matcha coffee. A variety of desserts like pies and muffins are also prepared from matcha powder.

7. Dark Chocolate/Cocoa

Dark chocolate has falvanols which protect the skin from sun damage
Dark chocolate has falvanols which protect the skin from sun damage

Cocoa has better anti oxidant scores than even the berries, which is really saying something. Dark chocolate is rich in anti oxidants called flavanols, which protect the skin from sun damage. However, the flavanol content varies in different types of dark chocolates. The more the flavanol in the chocolate you’re eating, the better it protects you from skin damage and redness due to Sun radiation. Flavanols also improve blood circulation, thickness, skin hydration and smoothness.

So We’re Saying: While choosing dark chocolates, look for ones which have not been processed with alkali- a method called dutching, which reduces the flavanol content in the end product. Needless to say, the higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the higher will be its flavanol content. So go for the ones with at least 70 per cent cocoa solids.

8. Flax seeds

Flaxseeds powder can be mixed with smoothies and shakes
Flaxseeds powder can be mixed with smoothies and shakes

Flax seeds are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids called Alpha-Linolenic Acid or ALA, which shields your skin from damage due to radiation and has also been known to reduce sun-related skin damage. They improve skin hydration and smoothen it. Flax seeds have also been known to lower blood sugar level and decrease the risk of prostate and breast cancer.

So We’re Saying: You use flax seeds in a number of recipes. Simply grind them and make a fine powder, and mix it with smoothies, hot cereal, yogurt, or even bakes items like bread, muffins, etc. You can also use flax seed oil in salad dressings or steamed vegetables. However, avoid using flaxseed oil at high temperatures as extreme heat destroys the health benefits.

9. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon increase skim hydration and elasticity
Fatty fish like salmon increase skim hydration and elasticity

Fatty fish is a surprising anti-ageing food. They are rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which, besides fighting heart disease, also protects the skin against inflammation from the Sun. Salmon is one of the most popular fatty fish, which leaves your skin looking younger. It also contains a carotenoid antioxidant called astaxanthin, which improved hydration and elasticity.

So We’re Saying: Unlike fruits and vegetables which loose some of their enzymes and minerals after being cooked, fish retains all its goodness in both forms. Make sure you eat a salmon dish from time to time, to ensure a healthy supply of astaxanthin to your body.

10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil increases skin elasticity and firmness
Extra Virgin Olive Oil increases skin elasticity and firmness

Every one is aware of the fact that extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat there is. Besides reducing blood pressure and lowering the risk of heart disease, it also leaves your skin looking younger. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties and 73 per cent olive oil has monosaturated fat, associated with increased skin elasticity and firmness.

So We’re Saying: When it comes to choosing olive oil, prefer the ones which are organic and unrefined. The refined ones loose all their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, during the refining process. Besides, they don’t have the olive aroma, colour and flavour.