Many of us spend serious money on anti-aging products and regimens. But your pursuit of youth doesn’t have to be that complicated or expensive. In fact, it can start in your kitchen. Research suggests that certain vitamins provide powerful anti-aging support to the body, and you can stock up on most of them via the right healthy foods. These are five vitamins studies say can help prevent aging. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Aside from helping power the immune system—which begins to degrade as we get older—Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which can build bone density. As the body ages, it needs assistance there: The bone-weakening condition known as osteoporosis affects approximately 44 million Americans—nearly half of everyone over age 50. Vitamin D is also important to muscle metabolism, which declines with age. Good food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon, eggs and fortified milk and cereals. But it may be difficult to get sufficient amounts of the vitamin from food, so supplementation may be a good idea.
The powerful antioxidant known as vitamin C provides immune support, neutralizes damage-causing free radicals throughout the body, and is essential to the production of collagen, one of the proteins that keeps skin young-looking. According to a 2021 review of studies published in the journal Molecular Biology Reports, vitamin C can also protect against the shortening of telomeres, the portions of a chromosome that hold DNA information and get shorter as they age.
“Recent studies demonstrated that vitamin K is a vital cofactor in activating several proteins, which act against age-related syndromes,” wrote researchers behind a 2021 review of studies published in the journal Antioxidants. Among K’s benefits, they say: it can help prevent hardening of arteries and heart disease, improve cognitive function, boost insulin sensitivity and fight cancer. Good sources of vitamin K include dark green leafy vegetables (like kale, spinach and broccoli), certain fruits (including avocado, kiwi, blueberries, blackberries and grapes), and some nuts (like cashews, pistachios and pine nuts).
Vitamin A is the basis for retinoids, the gold standard for anti-aging skincare—prescription formulations like Retin-A and over-the-counter products containing retinol can increase skin cell turnover and smooth fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production. But the vitamin’s benefits aren’t just skin deep: vitamin A is considered important to cognitive function, including the parts of the brain dedicated to memory and learning.
Another potent antioxidant that shields cells from oxidative stress and damage, vitamin E might play a role in healthy aging, animal studies suggest. Some research has found that it may have neuroprotective benefits, helping keep the brain healthy and mind sharp. Good sources of vitamin E include avocado, spinach, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.