15 of the Best Anti-Aging Foods and 4 TCM Anti-Aging Remedies

Adding anti-aging foods to your diet may help revitalize your appearance — and your health. Find out the best anti-aging foods here.

a young woman and a senior man unloading groceries filled with anti aging foods in the kitchen

If you’re looking for the fountain of youth, maybe you should start by checking your grocery store shelves — and then visiting your local Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner. That’s right, the secret to enhanced longevity may be as simple as changing what you eat and adopting some easy-to-apply TCM remedies. Read on to learn what these powerful anti-aging foods are — and discover 6 tips that you can do at home.

Your Anti-Aging Food Choices

An assortment of healthy vegetables and fruits rich in vitamins and minerals for anti aging
Anti-aging foods include fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins A and C.

Adding anti-aging foods to your diet may help you grow younger as you get older. TCM Physician Lim Sock Ling explains, “These anti-aging foods are high in antioxidants, healthy fats, water, and essential nutrients. Many of the nutrients and minerals help fight inflammation, which may be essential to protect the skin against sun damage, pollution, and environmental toxins. Antioxidants help to neutralize harmful free radicals, thus reducing wrinkles. Vitamin C helps to promote collagen production.”

In addition, when you eat healthy fats like olive oil and tamp down inflammation, you reduce your risk for a slew of chronic diseases that profoundly speed up the aging process, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and some cancers. These foods also contain properties that help support mental and emotional health and boost the immune system.

From a TCM perspective, explains Physician Lim, “We believe kidney essence is associated with growth, puberty, fertility, and aging. The spleen nourishes the body with qi (vital energy), blood, and nutrients to support growth and development. Herbs that primarily benefit the kidneys will contribute to anti-aging.”

15 Best Anti-Aging Foods and Herbs

Anti-aging foods contain critical vitamins and minerals. They are also good sources of fiber and healthy fats. While the top 14 here are all plant-based, it is equally important to eat healthy sources of protein: Lean poultry and plenty of omega-3-rich fish. That’s why number 15 touts the omega-3s found in salmon, tuna, anchovies, herring, sea trout, and sardines. They help the body fight inflammation and protect your heart health and brain function.

1. Broccoli

It is a cruciferous vegetable, rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. It is also a good fiber source. Other cruciferous vegetables include arugula, Bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, watercress, and wasabi.

2. Spinach

Spinach is a member of the Amaranthaceae family and is related to chard, beets, and quinoa. Like broccoli, spinach is high in vitamins A and C, as well as iron. You can also consider some other vegetables similar to spinach, such as watercress. But spinach has 15 times more iron, 5 times more zinc, and nearly 4 times more magnesium compared to watercress. Spinach is also richer in potassium, copper and contains higher levels of sodium. Watercress contains more calcium and phosphorus.

3. Asparagus

Lycopene and glutathione are the key anti-aging compound found in asparagus. It is a red carotenoid hydrocarbon found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons, grapefruits, and papayas. Glutathione is found in asparagus and in cruciferous vegetables and sulfur-rich foods, like garlic or onion. Both nutrients help fight against oxidative stress and help prevent chronic diseases.

4. Tomatoes

Add some tomatoes to your salad or other dishes to add more lycopene to your diet. Cooked tomatoes have more of the lycopene available for use in your body, so go for marinara sauce over whole wheat pasta.

5. Guava

Slices of fresh guava in a bowl and on a concrete tabletop with guava leaves
An unknown fact, guava contains more vitamin C than oranges. The vitamin can delay aging linked to damage from free radicals.

For a sweet snack, forget about candy and baked goods and try guava, a lycopene-rich fruit instead. Watermelon is another great choice.

6. Grapefruit

A grapefruit at breakfast can be another great way to enjoy the youth-promoting effects of lycopene.

7. Sweet potatoes

Delicious, colorful sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene. When you consume sweet potatoes, the body converts this compound to vitamin A to help restore skin elasticity and contribute to youthful-looking skin.

8. Lentils and beans

Lentils and beans are fiber-rich sources of plant-based protein. Options to consider include black beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, split peas, pintos, or lima beans.

9. Red bell pepper

Add bright red bell pepper to your meal, and enjoy its anti-inflammatory properties with high vitamin C content.

10. Papaya

An enzyme called papain gives papaya its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.

11. Blueberries

High in vitamins A and C, blueberries are also rich in an antioxidant called anthocyanin, which may help to protect the skin from the sun, stress, and pollution, plus it helps prevent collagen loss. In addition, blueberries promote heart health, help strengthen bones, and are important for managing blood pressure and diabetes. One cup of blueberries provides 24 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

12. Cinnamon

Cinnamon has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help slow aging. Studies have also shown that cinnamon extract facilitates collagen biosynthesis, thus supporting anti-aging. Also, from a TCM perspective, cinnamon is associated with the kidney, spleen, heart, and liver meridians.

13. Goji berries

A plate of goji berry salad with feta cheese, an example of anti aging foods
Goji berry is rich in antioxidants. Add goji berries to your salad to make it more fulfilling.

Physician Lim explains that goji berries tonify yin, blood, and essence. They are associated with the liver and kidney meridians. Goji berries also help improve kidney and liver health, plus brighten the eyes. They also are a good source of vitamins and minerals and contain antioxidants for the eyes and skin.

14. Cordyceps

According to Physician Lim, cordyceps has many anti-aging powers. It invigorates the kidneys and lungs and helps eliminate phlegm. Physician Lim also says that a study showed cordyceps improves glucose levels, lipid, energy metabolism, has antioxidant and anti-fatigue effects, and promotes endurance. Another experiment found that Cordyceps sinensis extract may help to improve brain function in mice.

15. Salmon, tuna, and more

For healthy proteins rich in anti-aging omega-3 fats, try salmon, tuna, anchovies, herring, sea trout, and sardines. You can also snack on walnuts to receive the health-boosting effects of omega-3s. Fishes like codfish also contain high-quality marine collagen that can help prevent wrinkles, retain moisture, and smoothen your skin.

TCM Anti-Aging Remedies

A young woman massages her face with a jade gua sha to firm her skin
Facial gua sha is an easy, relaxing way to help slow the aging process.

Now that you have an idea of healthy anti-aging foods to incorporate into your diet, here are four powerful TCM practices to help slow down the aging process.

Facial acupuncture

Physician Lim explains the benefits of facial acupuncture: “Facial acupuncture stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory system, which work together to deliver nutrients and oxygen to your skin cells, nourishing the skin from the inside out. This helps your skin to become more radiant. It also stimulates the production of collagen thus improving elasticity and reducing wrinkles on the face.”

Acupressure

Applying pressure to the San Yin Jiao acupoint can help relieve stress and restore youthfulness.

Another convenient TCM anti-aging remedy you can easily use at home is acupressure. Simply apply pressure to certain points on the body. These points are known as acupoints. The pressure helps stimulate the qi and blood circulation. Basically, it’s like acupuncture without the needles.

Physician Lim says, “One point is San Yin Jiao, which is located four finger-widths above the inner ankle bone on the inside of your leg, behind the shin. It is a point where the kidney, spleen, and liver meridians intersect. Massaging this point benefits all three [of these] organ systems, restores skin youthfulness, relieves stress, promotes better sleep quality, improves fertility, and helps manage menopause.”

Facial gua sha

One more easy anti-aging remedy to consider is called facial gua sha. This TCM practice promotes tissue drainage and encourages a lifting effect. First, you need a flat piece of jade or a gua sha roller. Then stroke the facial skin in upward strokes.

Gingko biloba

An herb rich in antioxidants, ginkgo biloba extract has anti-aging properties. It also helps to support brain health.

6 Tips to Help Slow Aging

You can also adopt some lifestyle habits to boost your wellbeing and slow down aging:

  1. Drink plenty of water. This helps because staying hydrated flushes toxins out of your body. Water also nourishes your skin and other organs.
  2. Be sure to get seven to eight hours of restful sleep a night.  
  3. Do regular cardiovascular and strength-building exercises. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobics a week and two to three 20-minute strength-building sessions a week.
  4. Reduce your screen time — it promotes a sedentary lifestyle that is bad for your heart, weight control, mood, and immune health. In addition, the blue light emitted from TVs and digital devices can break down collagen, which can cause the eyes and skin to degenerate.
  5. Be sure to avoid strong sunlight because the sun’s UV rays can damage the skin. The CDC says to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 that blocks UVA and UVB rays, especially on days when the UV index is 3 or higher.
  6. To increase the powerful anti-aging benefits of a healthful diet, you want to manage stress as well. Physician Lim advises, “Stay cheerful and learn to relieve stress effectively. Have a work-life balance and use frequent breathing exercises to calm the mind and relax.”

Include some or all the anti-aging foods and adopt lifestyle habits to help maintain your health and keep you looking youthful. That one-two combination will have you looking, feeling, and acting younger for years to come.

References

  1. Age (Dordr). 2013. Blueberry Consumption Prevents Loss of Collage in Bone Matrix and Inhibits Senescence Pathways in Osteoblastic Cells. [Accessed 13 December 2021]
  2. Food Sci. Technol (Campinas). 2020. In vitro Anti-Aging Activities of Gingko Leaf Extract and Its Chemical Constituents. [Accessed 13 December 2021]
  3. Front Pharmacol. 2021. Cordyceps spp.: A Review on Its Immune-Stimulatory and Other Biological Potentials. [Accessed 13 December 2021]
  4. J Agric Food Chem. 2012. Cinnamon Extract Promotes Type I Collagen Biosynthesis Via Activation of IGF-I Signaling in Human Dermal Fibroblasts. [Accessed 13 December 2021]
  5. J Acupunct Res. 2013. Trend Analysis of Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture Based on the Korean Traditional Medicine. [Accessed 13 December 2021]
  6. Nutrients. 2020. Diet and Skin Aging—From the Perspective of Food Nutrition. [Accessed 13 December 2021]
  7. The FASEB Journal. 2011. Cordyceps sinensis Cs-4 Restores Aging-Associated Changes in Gene Expression and Extends Lifespan in Normal Aged Mice. [Accessed 13 December 2021]
  8. National Cancer Institute. Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention. [Accessed 17 December, 2021]
  9. FoodStruct. Watercress vs Spinach – Health impact and Nutrition Comparison. [Accessed 17 December, 2021]
  10. Medical News Today. Everything You Need to Know About Blueberries. [Accessed 17 December, 2021.]
  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sun Safety. [Accessed 17 December, 2021.]

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