As we get older, our bodies will inevitably start to show signs of ageing – but that doesn't mean you can't keep them at bay. Research shows that eating the right foods can help to keep your skin looking good and your body fit and healthy.
Rather than give you a list of foods (which can be hard to see how to incorporate into your diet) we've put together a typical day's anti-ageing meal plan:
Breakfast: Porridge with blueberries
Porridge is known to help protect against cardiovascular disease, but did you know that oats also contain fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation in the body and keep wrinkles at bay?
For an ever better skin-boosting breakfast, add some blueberries to your bowl. Antioxidants reduce the signs of ageing and blueberries are loaded with them. The berries also help the body produce collagen, the main supporting structure for the skin which gives it elasticity. Not only that, but research has shown that eating blueberries can help improve your memory and brain functioning.
Mid-morning snack: Watermelon (or just a plain old apple)
This refreshing, sweet treat contains the ultimate antioxidant, vitamin C, plus lycopene and potassium, which regulates the balance of water and nutrients in cells. Don't have a watermelon in your fruit bowl? Get your vitamin C by eating an orange or apple instead.
A British study of 4,025 women aged 40 to 74 found that women with higher intakes of vitamin C had fewer wrinkles and less dry skin. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to prevent damage to cells and cell DNA, which otherwise can interfere with the production of collagen.
Lunch: avocado, chickpea, tomato and feta cheese salad
Avocados are high in vitamin E and B-complex vitamins essential for soft, radiant skin. The creamy, green fruit is also high in folate, which is important for skin cell regeneration, and rich in essential fatty acids which help moisturise the skin.
The manganese contained in chickpeas is a little miracle. It not only strengthens bones and provides antioxidant protection, but it helps to prevent pigmentation changes in the hair, for those who aren't quite ready to go grey.
Add some feta cheese to your salad – the crumbly sheep's cheese is packed full of vitamin B12, which speeds up the replacement of dead skin cells. And tomatoes contain lycopene which can neutralise the harmful effects of UV light. In one study, volunteers who ate five tablespoons of tomato paste a day for 12 weeks sustained less skin damage when exposed to UV light than a control group that ate none.
If you're going to add a salad dressing, opt for hemp oil. As well as containing vitamin E, it's also a hugely rich source of essential amino and fatty acids that nourish the skin.
Afternoon snack: a handful of nuts
For an age-defying snack, eat hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts. Hazelnuts are rich in the B vitamin biotin, which plays a vital role in cell growth and helps to repair the skin, while also keeping the nervous system, liver and eyesight functioning well. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and walnuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and linoleic acid, which combine to protect against sun damage that can dry and wrinkle the skin.
Evening meal: Salmon, sweet potato and broccoli
Salmon is an anti-ageing food par excellence. It provides an excellent source of omega 3-fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation in the body and moisturise the skin, protecting it from premature ageing and wrinkling. Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish may help protect your heart, lower your risk of stroke, and may even help guard against Alzheimer's disease.
Sweet potatoes are surprisingly good on the anti-ageing front, thanks to a healthy dose of vitamin A, and mineral copper which aids collagen production for skin elasticity. Sweet potatoes are among the most concentrated sources of beta-carotene, but they also contain vitamin C.
Broccoli is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and coenzyme Q10 — all of which are vital anti-wrinkle nutrients. It also contains sulforaphane, which helps the liver get rid of toxins, thus helping to keep your skin clear and fresh.
Bedtime treat: Cup of cocoa
If you like a sweet treat in the evening, enjoy a cup of antioxidant-rich hot cocoa before bed. Just be sure to choose the natural – 70% cocoa kind.
Drink: Green tea and water
Green tea contains powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols, which help to combat skin damage caused the sun. Finally, remember to drink plenty of water. It hydrates the skin and keeps it plump and smooth, while naturally washing away toxins to keep your complexion clear and bright.
Three beauty products that may help keep wrinkles at bay: