MUST EAT! 6 Incredible Foods to Fight Aging and Give You Youthful Skin Back

Amy20MD 1

Medical reviewed by Amy Rogers, MD MPH FACPM

Preventive Medicine, Public Health, Lifestyle Medicine, Pandemic Response, Global Health

Table of Contents

What can we do to combat skin aging? Let’s discover the foods that can help us build muscle, shed fat, and keep our skin glowing as we age. Check out our delicious options and see their surprising effects.

6 Incredible Foods to Fight Aging and Give You Youthful Skin Back 

Once you get older, our bodies begin to change in subtle ways—muscle loss, weight gain, and organ shrinkage. These changes can cause mineral loss and declined bone density, known as osteopenia and osteoporosis. (1)

Looking at the molecular level, we’ll see that the body makes fewer muscle proteins and struggles to control protein breakdown, leading to the loss of muscle mass or sarcopenia. (2)

A 2012 review in Frontiers found that the loss of muscle strength, called dynapenia, occurs 2 to 5 times faster than sarcopenia. When dynapenia happens, muscle quality, or how well muscles generate force, starts declining, causing body composition changes and more fat buildup. (3)

These changes can result in reduced support for the skin structure. As a result, the skin may become thinner and more fragile, making it one of the biggest concerns as you age.

Our bodies also tend to quickly gather more fat around the midsection, where it surrounds internal organs. The MedlinePlus suggests that older adults tend to have about one-third more fat than they did when they were younger. (4)

Plus, a 2021 study from Harvard School of Public Health highlights that the healthcare bill for obesity-related issues begins to climb when you reach an older age. (5)

The aging process also affects our skin in many other ways, making it wrinklier and losing its once-plump and smooth appearance.

In later years, there’s a 6–8% decrease every ten years in the number of melanocytes, which determine skin color. (6) This loss can reduce the skin’s ability to protect itself from the sun, leading to a duller, grayish appearance. (7)

So, what can we do to combat skin aging? Let’s discover the foods that can help us build muscle, shed fat, and keep our skin glowing as we age. Check out our delicious options and see their surprising effects.

6. Berries fruits

When we say berries, are you thinking of fruits like strawberries and blueberries? Well, here’s a berry blast: apples, grapes, and bananas are also botanically considered berries. Yes, you’ve got plenty of berry choices for your skin when you become elderly!

Skin aging as time passes is closely linked to increased oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Fruits, like apples, grapes, berries, oranges, and cherries, are full of antioxidants like polyphenols. These compounds help fight free radicals, thus reducing oxidative stress and preventing aging.

Certain fruits like cranberries, bilberries, and blueberries are good sources of specific antioxidants such as pterostilbene, resveratrol, and quercetin. These compounds can slow down aging, reduce inflammation, and protect against cell and DNA damage.

Berries are also rich in vitamin C and minerals, which support collagen production and melanocyte health. So, eating berries might help your skin stay young and keep you healthier overall. (8)

Plant compounds such as polyphenols, carotenoids, and phytosterols help control fat metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes.

Plus, fresh fruits provide energy and fiber, making you feel full and aiding in digestion, blood sugar, and fat control. These functions are vital for managing all the changes our bodies go through when you become more senior. (9)

Read more: Mixed Berry Smoothie With Proteins: A Delicious Way To Boost Your Energy

5. Soybean

Soybeans aren’t only a protein-rich plant; they also have various health perks. They can help with allergies, fight cancer, and have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. They also might help lower blood pressure and glucose levels, and sugar is the skin’s enemy. (10)

Now, protein is very important in aging, as it boosts certain genes associated with longevity. Protein also helps counteract muscle loss as we age. Soybean extracts, like protein hydrolysate, can improve memory, reduce oxidative stress, and address learning difficulties linked to aging.

These extracts can also act as antioxidants and inhibit enzymes involved in skin aging. Thus, using soybean extracts in cosmetics can enhance skin elasticity and moisture and help with wrinkles and roughness.

Fermented soy milk, richer in antioxidants compared to non-fermented milk, can shield the skin, spleen, and liver from damage and inflammation. Okara soybean by-products can ease cognitive issues related to aging. (11)

Read more: Using a Food Pyramid: How To Make It Work for You

4. Onions

Onions aren’t just tear-jerkers that add flavor to every dish—they’re rich in potent antioxidants like quercetin and isoquercetin. (12) Onion peel, fermented onion, or onion oil all bring something special to the table. Onion peel extract acts as an antioxidant, fighting off harmful free radicals and protecting the skin from bacteria and UV radiation. (13)

Another 2014 study on aged rats found that onion oil can help improve liver and kidney function, enhance lipid profile, and boost testosterone levels. (14) All these perks point towards anti-aging effects.

Also, in a 2017 study, fermented onion extract reduces skin pigmentation by blocking the production of melanin in skin tumor cells. The extract also effectively regulates collagen expression, which helps maintain skin elasticity.

Plus, this extract promotes the production of hyaluronic acid, which helps fight dehydration and aging. It may also help with wrinkles caused by UV-B exposure.  (15 , 16 )

Onions are also rich in prebiotic fiber, which is great for your gut or your second brain. But if you reach a certain age and have irritable bowel syndrome (or IBS), it’s wise to avoid onions. (17) This smelly fruit is high in FODMAP, like fructans, which can be problematic for IBS. Also, people with acid reflux (or GERD) often experience heartburn after eating onions. (18 , 19 )

Read more: Salmon Salad in Avocados

3. Vegetable

Packed with nutrients and flavors, vegetables are the real stars of a healthy diet, making every meal nutritionally perfect. Take pumpkin seeds, for instance—they’re full of tocopherols, which fight aging. (20)

Cucumbers are another example; they help keep your skin hydrated, firm, and elastic by protecting hyaluronic acid and elastin from breaking down. (21 , 22 ) They’re also great for reducing wrinkles, just like radishes. Plus, radishes can make your skin softer.

A mouse study in 2018 indicated that when applied to the skin, radish extract helped reduce wrinkles and improve skin elasticity. (23) So, it’s a good idea to include radishes and other vegetables in your diet, especially as you age. (24)

Yellow and red vegetables are high in vitamins and antioxidants, which are crucial for skin health, fighting aging, and shielding against UV damage. These compounds also help reduce wrinkles, enhance smoothness, and fade dark spots on the skin.

Plus, the high fiber content of vegetables helps regulate blood sugar and can aid in weight loss, benefiting your skin. (25)

Read more: Does Zucchini Have Vitamin K? What Are Other Health Benefits?

2. Garlic

Garlic adds incredible flavor to any dish, but its benefits go beyond taste: the uncountable health perks it brings along are like the cherry on top.

Studies suggest that aged garlic extract can combat age-related brain decline and enhance memory. Plus, garlic extract is found to protect fibroblasts, the cells that help keep our skin young, from aging. Garlic can also reduce wrinkles from UV exposure. (26) Using macerated garlic extract might help protect our nerves from degeneration by reducing stress. (27)

Eating raw garlic can be like a shield against the common cold, heart issues, and high blood pressure. (28)

Research also highlights the power of garlic to protect pancreatic cells and reduce oxidative stress linked to type 1 diabetes.

Garlic supplements like fructosamine and glycosylated hemoglobin have been found to lower diabetes markers. Lowering these levels means better long-term blood sugar control. Plus, garlic oil can fight obesity by reducing body weight and fat tissue in conditions with high blood lipid levels.

Fermented garlic products also prevent fat formation and regulate lipid metabolism, making them effective against obesity. (29) By safeguarding you from these diseases, garlic helps promote overall health, which can reflect positively on your skin. 

Quick heads up—like we talked about with onions earlier, garlic contains fructans, a FODMAP. So, if you have IBS or GERD, enjoy it in moderation. (30 , 31)

1. Green Tea

Made from steamed tea leaves, green tea has been used for ages in traditional medicine to tackle headaches, pains, digestion, weight gain, and even UV radiation. A cup of green tea is also your skin’s little helper for detoxing and staying youthful.

A systematic review evaluating 55 articles found that green tea can help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. (32) Plus, its antioxidants, like EGCG, might help keep your arteries clear for smoother blood flow, as shown in lab studies. (33 , 34 , 35)

Bad blood flow means less oxygen and nutrients reach the skin, causing slower wound healing and a duller complexion. So, good blood flow equals better skin.

Green tea is also packed with powerful antioxidants called phenolic acids that fight skin aging by blocking melanin production. It does this by stopping two enzymes involved in making melanin: tyrosinase and TRP-2. This also helps control hyperpigmentation, the dark spots on the skin caused by too much melanin.

Here is a quick tip for green tea: adding vitamin C-rich foods like lemons and black pepper to your daily cup can boost its antioxidant effects for youthful skin. (36)

To keep things in check with age and fight premature aging, it’s crucial to tweak our diet because our bodies will start to decline. Our food list, including berries, soybeans, onions, vegetables, garlic, and green tea, has got you covered against skin aging, wrinkles, and extra fat. 

When it comes to building muscles for a firmer and smoother skin, it’s a different game. The secret is very simple: keep yourself active. Not moving much will easily speed up muscle loss. Studies show that even in younger adults, just ten days of bed rest can take away a whole kilogram of muscle mass. (37)

After just five days of inactivity, our quadricep strength can drop by 9%. (38) So, staying active is the key to keeping our muscles strong and steady, no matter the age. (39)

But don’t forget that making smart food choices and adopting healthy eating habits should be a top priority. Our list of anti-aging foods for youthful skin is just a start—they should become regulars in our diets.

Read more: Does Matcha Make You Sleepy or Awake? Health Benefits and More


The article discusses the effects of aging on muscle mass and skin health, highlighting the importance of maintaining both. It introduces six foods that can help combat aging and promote youthful skin: berries, soybeans, onions, vegetables, garlic, and green tea. Additionally, it emphasizes the significance of staying active to preserve muscle strength and overall health.

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Amy20MD 1

Medical reviewed by Amy Rogers, MD MPH FACPM

Preventive Medicine, Public Health, Lifestyle Medicine, Pandemic Response, Global Health

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