Green tea boasts a wealth of body-boosting health benefits that earns it the top spot in our anti-ageing food list. The super-drink is believed to help regulate blood pressure, lower blood sugar, boost the immune system, lower cholesterol and studies have even shown that green tea can be effective at preventing cancer. That's as close to the elixir of life as you can get.
Whilst eating spinach won't be enough to turn you into Popeye, it's certainly excellent for boosting the body's immunity from illness. Spinach and other leafy foods like kale and collard are high in folate which is vital in preventing DNA and blood vessel damage. If you can maintain a healthy circulatory system you are reducing your risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.
Spinach, like many other dark green leafy vegetables, is rich in an antioxidant called lutein. Not only is this great for healthy eyes, but more recent research has shown that it is also good for preventing wrinkles by helping to retain the skin's moisture and elasticity, increasing lipid levels and preventing damage caused by free radicals.
The benefits of spinach do not stop there, however, as the leafy vegetable also has the power to reduce dark circles under the eyes due to its high levels of vitamins K and C. Although there are many reasons behind dark circles - such as tiredness and heredity - one of the roots can be poor circulation. In cases where this is a problem, increasing your intake of vitamins K and C can alleviate them by helping to boost circulation and strengthening capillary walls.
Who would have thought this sweet treat would feature in an anti-ageing list, but the good news is chocolate can help fight against some signs of ageing due to its cocoa content. Cocoa is rich in a group of antioxidants called Flavinoids which help preserve healthy function of the blood vessels. And healthy youthful circulatory system lowers risk of high blood pressure, type II diabetes, kidney disease and dementia. Don't go overboard though, a square a day is a good guide and make sure you go for the over 70 per cent cocoa bars.
Like fish, soy products such as tofu are also a great alternative source of protein than red meat or even dairy, since they have little or no saturated fat. A diet that's low in saturated fat will reduce your risk of developing heart disease and lower blood pressure. As a staple part of the Japanese diet, soy products are great at helping keep down cholesterol and are a useful addition to a healthy diet.
Judging from their frequently bad press, you might assume that all forms of bacteria are out to get you. Thankfully, this couldn't be further from the truth. 'Good' bacteria is great for regulating the immune system, by increasing its antibodies and preventing the rise of pathogenic organisms like salmonella and E.coli. Many yogurts include a high volume of 'good' bacteria that help maintain gut health and diminish the incidence of age-related intestinal illness. Yogurt is also rich in calcium, which can help stave off osteoporosis.
A glass of red wine adds up a good dose of anti-ageing elements including polyphenol antioxidants, minerals, and resveratrol. Resveratrol which helps to increase 'good cholesterol' levels in the body and prevents blood clotting and a healthy circulatory system. Resveratrol found in red wine may also be beneficial for women during the menopause by reducing the risk for conditions for example breast cancer and osteoporosis that result from reduced estrogen levels. Like the chocolate, it's not carte blanche to guzzle as much as you want. Everything in moderation.
Few people — whether active or not — drink sufficient water, and side effects of even slight dehydration include headaches, fatigue and low concentration levels. Yet increasing fluid intake can increase energy levels, aid digestion, give skin a boost and help boost your anti-ageing armory. Concentrate on drinking little and often throughout the day, being extra vigilant after exercise or when you've been confined in a dry, overheated or air-conditioned environment.
Besides being a well known aphrodisiac, oysters can also enhance your beauty. If you are suffering from pale, sallow skin or dark circles under your eyes, this may be due to vitamin B12 or iron deficiencies, both of which can cause anaemia. To beat pasty skin, try boosting your intake of these essential nutrients by stocking up on oysters, which have high levels of both. Other good sources include clams and mussels.
It may not be the most fragrant of foods, but garlic is a superfood that can have great skin benefits. As a natural antibiotic with blood cleansing, immune boosting, antibacterial properties, garlic is an effective, cheap and healthy way to help treat acne naturally. While there are many reasons people suffer from spots, garlic - particularly when eaten raw and crushed - can help reduce future breakouts, while its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the swelling and inflammation of acne.
Avocados often get a bad press due to their high levels of fats, however the healthy fats contained in an avocado can actually do wonders for your skin. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, avocados can help to moisturise your skin from the inside and increase collagen production, helping to prevent wrinkles. The anti-inflammatory properties of avocado are also good for helping to reduce acne and psoriasis, while the high levels of vitamin E will help to keep your skin supple and prevent premature ageing.
Many people know that fluid retention is the primary cause of belly bloating, but it can also be responsible for a puffy face and bags under the eyes. Fortunately, fluid retention can be treated through the diet by redressing the body's sodium/potassium balance. As these two minerals work against each other to balance water in the body, too little potassium - or too much salt - is one of the most common causes of water retention. Redress this by increasing your intake of potassium through foods such as bananas. Other potassium rich foods include strawberries, melon and papaya; making a fresh fruit salad a great choice for a supple, youthful face.