Smart food choices could be the key to maintaining a healthy glow and looking younger for longer.
An apple a day keeps not only the doctor, but also the wrinkles away, according to Melbourne dietitian Melanie McGrice.
Packed with vitamin C, which helps speed skin cell production, the humble fruit is one of the leaders of anti-ageing foods. “It’s great for collagen production, helping to plump the skin and decrease the chance of wrinkles,” Melanie says.
While people are generally aware of how their inner health is affected by the foods they eat, they don’t always know about the connection between food and the physical effects of ageing on the outside.
“You can see it everywhere on the body,” Melanie explains. “You’ll see wrinkles and notice the thickness and healthiness of hair and muscle mass. As people age, these factors are more likely to come into play, but eating the right nutritious foods can help to slow it down.”
Collagen-stimulating fruits and vegetables are generally inexpensive and easy to incorporate into meals, with watercress and garlic among Melanie’s top anti-ageing picks.
She’s also a fan of oily fish for its youth-promoting properties.
“Oily fish, such as salmon, is not only great for our heart and mental health — it has also been found to be beneficial for glowing skin and glossy hair,” she says.
Add dark leafy greens such as broccoli and bok choy to stir-fries, opt for citrus fruits for a sweet hit and pack an apple in your bag for a healthy, vibrant boost on the go.
Avoiding certain foods will help, too. Alcohol is dehydrating and one of the biggest agers, as well as high-GI foods including biscuits, cake, fast foods and ice cream.
“These foods are inflammatories and do the opposite of what good antioxidants do for your body,” she says. “A few simple food swaps such as swapping rice crackers for wholegrain dry crackers, and swapping processed breakfast cereals for oats can lower the GI of your diet.”
Watercress: Rich in vitamin C, it’s a powerful antioxidant, which helps fight free radicals that age us.
Sweet potatoes: Low-GI and a great source of vitamin a, which can help prevent our skin becoming rough and dry.
Garlic: Increases blood flow, which helps skin to glow. It also contains an antioxidant called allicin, which helps fight skin-damaging free radicals.
Oily fish: Oily fish, such as salmon, is one of the richest sources of omega-3 available — especially in the skin.
Walnuts: Juglone, the naturally occurring compound in walnuts, can assist with the regeneration of skin cells.
RECIPE: DUKKAH AND WALNUT-CRUSTED SALMON
– 2 x 120g salmon fillets
– Olive oil spray
– 1⁄4 cup dukkah
– 10-12 walnuts
– 4 cups baby spinach
– 2 lemon wedges
Chop four walnuts finely and combine with dukkah in a small bowl.
Sprinkle salmon fillets with the dukkah and walnut mix and press firmly on skin side to coat.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium- high heat and lightly spray with oil.
Cook salmon skin side down for 3-4 minutes until crispy, turn and cook to your liking.
Divide baby spinach leaves and remaining walnuts over two plates.
Add lemon wedge and place salmon skin side up.
Squeeze lemon over salmon and salad.