Most people consider their “prime” to be their twenties and thirties when their skin was taut, their metabolism efficient, their frame slender, and their energy high. If we could have a penny for every time someone says, “It’s all downhill from here…”
It’s true that the body slows and your cells break down the older you get, but that does not have to mean the end to your youthful energy and glow.
You can still look great and feel great well into your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s….and on! It’s just a matter of nourishing your body with the right “anti-aging” foods that are filled with the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to keep working smoothly.
This is not black magic—these foods are scientifically proven to have anti-aging properties, reversing skin damage, protecting against chronic disease, and facilitating the healthy functioning of every system in the body.
RELATED: All About Antioxidants
These are the ten best anti-aging foods that everyone over 40 should eat:
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy green vegetables—including spinach, kale, beet greens, collard greens, mustard greens, chard, and more—are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on this planet.
They are an excellent source of antioxidants and a very important nutrient for anti-aging—vitamin K. For some reason, vitamin K is often overlooked, but it is necessary for bone density and strength. This is especially important for postmenopausal women, a quarter of whom develop osteoporosis.
One cup of raw spinach contains 181 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin K. A cup of chopped raw kale contains a whopping 684 percent of your RDI of vitamin K.
Dark leafy greens are also teeming with eye-strengthening antioxidants including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from diseases like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Blueberries are way up there on the ORAC scale—meaning they contain one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any food.
The antioxidants in blueberries protect cells against free radical damage, which can lead to chronic disease or cancer. They also keep the skin cells healthy, helping to slow aging and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (1)
They also boost brain health, keeping the mind sharp and preventing neurodegenerative conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. (2)
Nuts—especially almonds and walnuts—are one of the most important foods for anti-aging. They include monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins such as vitamin E and riboflavin, and trace minerals, such as magnesium.
Vitamin E is an important anti-aging antioxidant. It protects cells and soft tissue from free radical damage and lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer, and dementia.
Most nuts are also excellent sources of magnesium, an essential trace mineral needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, regulates the heartbeat and blood pressure, keeps bones strong, and helps power the metabolism.
In addition, walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which studies show protect the brain from neurodegenerative disorders and reduce inflammation throughout the body. (3)(4)
4. Dark Chocolate
The darker the better when it comes to chocolate—we’re talking 75–90 percent cacao. Chocolate is loaded with flavanols—a class of flavonoids, or antioxidants—that are known to protect skin, brain, and heart health. (5)(6)(7)
Eat a small piece each day to benefit from the anti-aging effects of dark chocolate.
Pomegranate seeds add a fresh burst of sweetness to whatever they’re added to—try yogurt, salads, or avocado toast.
Turns out these little seeds are loaded with antioxidants that fight aging all over the body by improving the appearance of your skin, protecting your brain from neurodegenerative disease, protecting your heart from cardiovascular disease, fighting cancer, and reducing inflammation related to arthritis and joint pain. (8)
Not only that, but pomegranate is accepted as an aphrodisiac because of its ability to increase blood flow and erectile response.
6. Fatty Fish
Not only are fish an excellent source of protein, which is needed to maintain muscle mass and prevent weight gain, but fatty fish are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
The anti-aging benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are almost too many to count. They help to keep the skin hydrated and supple, prevent neurodegeneration, lower risk factors for cardiovascular disease, reduce inflammation, prevent cancer, improve bone and joint health, improve sleep, and much more.
The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna.
7. Olive Oil
Olive oil is an excellent anti-aging food because it is loaded with polyphenol antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
Studies show that olive oil protects cells against free radical damage and age-related deterioration. (9)(10)(11)
Pick out a good-quality extra virgin olive oil and avoid cooking with it at high temperatures. Use it cold or at room temperature in dips and dressings.
Turmeric, in the form of root or powder, is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods in the world. It contains a unique compound called curcumin that has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties.
Studies show that turmeric may be a more effective anti-inflammatory and antibiotic treatment than over-the-counter and prescription drugs. It effectively treats and prevents arthritis and other chronic inflammatory diseases. (12)
Turmeric prevents cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular diseases—and it boosts immune function.
Turns out your mom had it right when she told you to eat your broccoli. This cruciferous vegetable and superfood is filled with many important nutrients for anti-aging, including vitamins A, C, and K, and tons of phytochemicals.
Broccoli contains antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which—as we mentioned before—are important for maintaining eyesight as you get older.
Another important antioxidant found in broccoli, sulforaphane, is a sulfur-containing compound, which fights cancer and inflammation, according to research.
The high amount of vitamin K in broccoli improves bone health by increasing calcium absorption, preventing bone deterioration and osteoporosis.
Avocado is a unique fruit because unlike most other fruits, it is incredibly high in monounsaturated fatty acids (the healthy kind of fat!). Avocado is comprised of 77 percent fats, 19 percent carbohydrates—most of which are dietary fiber—and 4 percent protein.
Avocado is excellent for heart health—it’s high in fiber to reduce cholesterol levels, high in potassium to reduce blood pressure, and full of healthy fatty acids beneficial to heart health.
They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which we now know are essential for good vision.
In addition, avocados are also a rich source of vitamin K, which helps increase calcium absorption and keeps bones strong.
Anti-aging foods are ones that are rich in essential nutrients that our bodies need for optimal functioning of all systems. They include essential vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as B-complex vitamins, trace minerals, monounsaturated fatty acids, and plenty of antioxidants.
Eat the foods mentioned above to stay young, inside and out!