Good news if you love to eat avocado toast for breakfast: Jaramillo says that creamy green fruit is a phenomenal source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which studies have shown can help protect the skin from premature aging.
“Omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in avocados, can also help improve skin dryness,” says Colleen Christensen, RD. “Keeping skin hydrated is key in allowing it to be healthy as we age.”
3-Chia seed pudding
Speaking of omega-3s, chia seeds are chock full of them. That’s one reason why Jaramillo recommends making a chia seed pudding for breakfast. She notes that omega-3 fatty acids not only help to reduce inflammation, but also help the skin to maintain moisture—which is crucial for keeping it looking plump and youthful.
One 2012 study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University revealed that consuming more omega-3 fatty acids can help white blood cells to preserve tiny segments of DNA called telomeres, which are known to shorten over time as a consequence of aging. Omega-3 supplementation was also found to reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Whether you prefer them scrambled, fried, or hard-boiled, experts agree that eggs are an excellent choice for breakfast when it comes to nourishing your skin. According to Christensen, this is because eggs contain both protein and vitamin D.
“Vitamin D can protect skin against UVB damage,” she says. “As we age, our body’s ability to produce vitamin D declines, so consuming it through foods is important. Protein is also important and those who consume diets low in protein have been shown to have more prominent appearance of wrinkles.”
For anti-aging bonus points, Jaramillo suggests making an omelet with veggies like spinach, kale, or bell pepper to get a dose of vitamin C to help brighten the skin’s appearance.
“These choices also contain Vitamin E and K which will help promote blood flow, can reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin, and moisturize the skin,” she adds.
If you’re a vegan, swap the egg scramble for a tasty tofu one. Tofu contains protein, which is one of the building blocks of skin cells, as well as soy isoflavones, which have been found to significantly reduce wrinkles and improved skin elasticity.
“Tofu is a good source of zinc, which helps to prevent free radical damage in the body and aids in cell repair,” says Jaramillo. “This can be beneficial for your skin in addition to every cell in the body. Add veggies and some avocado to the mix and you’ve also got great sources of antioxidants and phytonutrients to protect the skin.”
“When the skin is exposed to light the skin’s lycopene can be destroyed,” says Christensen. “Foods like tomatoes contain lycopene, which may mitigate damage. Try adding salsa on top of your eggs or add slices to avocado toast.”
Studies have shown that lycopene, the phytochemical that makes this vegetable red, has an anti-inflammatory effect and decreases your skin’s sensitivity to UV radiation. Tomatoes are also rich in B vitamins, which have anti-aging properties and may reduce sun damage, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles while also contributing to cell repair.
Christensen suggests topping your morning bowl of oats or yogurt with blueberries—which are bursting with polyphenols, which have known protective effects that prevent early signs of skin aging.
In fact, research has revealed that polyphenols can essentially act as a sunscreen, helping to defend your skin cells against damage from the UV rays—the kind that leads to wrinkles.
You might want to swap those traditional hashbrowns or home fries for sweet potatoes—Christensen says they contain carotenoids, powerful antioxidants derived from vitamin A that have photoprotective qualities, meaning they’ll protect your skin from damage. They’re also packed with vitamin C, which plays a major part in skin regeneration. Studies have shown that women over the age of 40 who had a lower intake of this vitamin were more likely to have wrinkles.
“A correlation has been observed between low vitamin C intake and having dry skin, which can lead to increased wrinkling,” explains Christensen. “Vitamin C deficiency can also impact collagen synthesis, which is important for skin elasticity.”