5 Best Anti-Aging Foods You Can Add to Your Diet

Did you know that blueberries are one of several anti-aging foods


What you eat matters for your health and well-being, but science also suggests that the food choices you make could influence how you age. What you put on your plate matters! Unfortunately, many people don’t take advantage of the natural health and healing benefits that a whole food diet offers.

For example, studies link eating a Mediterranean diet with a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality and greater longevity. The secret of a Mediterranean diet may lie in its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Inflammation plays a key role in numerous chronic health problems, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. So, choosing more inflammation-fighting foods may be the key to slowing the aging process and reducing the risk of chronic health problems.

While it is important to eat whole foods rich in nutrients, certain foods are known to have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Here are five you should know about.


Blueberries contain no less than three types of flavonoids known as anthocyanins, catechins, and proanthocyanins. These pigments are responsible for the vibrant dark blue color that makes these luscious berries so pleasing to the eye. These powerful antioxidants help neutralize free radicals that damage cells, lipids, and DNA. Free radicals contribute to aging and chronic health problems. In fact, blueberries top the list of antioxidant-rich foods and they’re naturally delicious too.

There’s more to love about blueberries: their nutrient density. Blueberries are high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins like A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), C, E, K, and manganese. Blueberries are also packed with fiber, which can also help combat aging. Fiber helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, although the cholesterol-lowering benefits are modest. It can also keep you feeling full longer, so you’re less likely to overeat.

How about adding a handful of blueberries to your morning bowl of oatmeal and replacing that sugary dessert with a bowl of blueberries? They also make a tasty addition to smoothies.


Walnuts are an excellent source of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory benefits. This nut that grows on trees in California also help reduce LDL cholesterol and boost HDL cholesterol, a benefit that’s favorable for heart health. A study found that eating 2 ounces of walnuts daily led to a drop in LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol, although walnuts didn’t improve blood glucose levels or blood pressure.

Plus, this omega-3-rich nut contains polyphenol antioxidants and vitamin E for extra antioxidant power. It’s not just omega-3s that explain the anti-aging benefits of walnuts, but rather the combination of antioxidants and fiber.

The take-home message? Switching walnuts for chips as a snack is a positive step for heart health. In turn, that can lead to healthier aging.


Pumpkin is rich in antioxidants called carotenoids, the best-known of which is beta-carotene. As antioxidants, carotenoids have anti-inflammatory activity and may be beneficial for eye health. Studies show carotenoids may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (a common cause of visual loss in older people) by protecting the retina, a light-sensitive structure in the back of the eye, against damage.

That’s why pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween. How can you add more pumpkin to your diet?

  • Roast the whole pumpkin in the oven. Cut it in half with a large knife or cleaver, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff with a spoon, then put it face down on a baking sheet and roast in an oven at 350F for about 45 minutes.
  • Cut pumpkin into cubes and steam them (or just boil them) until soft. Then mash them up–a potato masher works well for this-and add butter and salt.
  • If you’re making soup, add chunks of pumpkin to your vegetable stock when it boils, as a replacement for potato.
  • If you’re making a curry, use pumpkin instead of potatoes for more color and nutrient density.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil is a source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. It’s also a key component of the anti-aging Mediterranean diet. Some studies link higher quantities of monounsaturated fats with reduce signs of skin aging. The antioxidant benefits of olive oil may also be a factor.

Plus, there’s evidence that eating a Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil improves markers for bone health. That’s important since osteoporosis is one of the most common health problems associated with aging, especially in women.

Enjoy extra-virgin olive oil as a substitute for more processed oils in moderation. All oils are calorie-dense, so use olive oil as a replacement for other fats you already consume.

Wild Salmon

Wild salmon is one of the best sources of long-chain omega-3s with anti-inflammatory activity. Some studies link long-chain omega-3s with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, although studies conflict. However, omega-3s make up the membranes of every cell in your body and are important for heart and brain health.

Additionally, wild salmon is a good source of protein and other vitamins and minerals. Choose wild salmon over farmed, since farm-raised salmon has higher levels of contaminants that may be harmful in large amounts.

The Bottom Line

Enjoy these five foods for their taste, while knowing that could also help you age more slowly. Who wouldn’t want that?


  • Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Martin-Calvo N. Mediterranean diet and life expectancy; beyond olive oil, fruits, and vegetables. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2016 Nov;19(6):401-407. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000316. PMID: 27552476; PMCID: PMC5902736.
  • Brown L, Rosner B, Willett WW, Sacks FM. Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jan;69(1):30-42. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/69.1.30. PMID: 9925120.
  • “Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Health Professional Fact Sheet.” ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/.
  • “The Walnuts and Healthy Aging Study (WAHA): Protocol for a ….” pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28119602/.
  • Cahoon D, Shertukde SP, Avendano EE, Tanprasertsuk J, Scott TM, Johnson EJ, Chung M, Nirmala N. Walnut intake, cognitive outcomes and risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Med. 2021 Dec;53(1):971-997. doi: 10.1080/07853890.2021.1925955. PMID: 34132152; PMCID: PMC8211141.
  • Lem DW, Davey PG, Gierhart DL, Rosen RB. A Systematic Review of Carotenoids in the Management of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Aug 5;10(8):1255. doi: 10.3390/antiox10081255. PMID: 34439503; PMCID: PMC8389280.
  • “Olive Oil Has Powerful Anti-Aging Benefits – Life Extension.” lifeextension.com/magazine/2014/8/olive-oil-powerful-protection-against-aging-and-mortality.
  • “Fish Faceoff: Wild Salmon vs. Farmed Salmon – Cleveland Clinic.” 15 Dec. 2020, health.clevelandclinic.org/fish-faceoff-wild-salmon-vs-farmed-salmon/.
  • “Walnuts can lower cholesterol – Harvard Health.” 16 Jan. 2016, health.harvard.edu/cholesterol/walnuts-can-lower-cholesterol.

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