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The Best Anti-Aging Foods

Eat right, look younger -- it's as simple as that. Here are 7 anti-aging foods that may help to erase wrinkles and help you look younger.

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Best for Softening Skin: Pomegranates

Why they work: This fruit is packed with vitamin C, which helps guard against the wrinkling effects of sun damage. Plus, says Debra Jaliman, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, the juice in pomegranate seeds contains both ellagic acid and punicalagin. The first is a polyphenol compound that fights damage from free radicals; the second is a supernutrient that may increase your body's capacity to preserve collagen, the subdermal connective tissue that makes skin look smooth and plump.

Serve yourself: A cup of pomegranate seeds -- not just juice -- every week, suggests Jackie Newgent, RD, a nutritionist based in New York City.

Try these healthy recipes:

Pomegranate Chicken

Citrus Compote with Pomegranate

Pomegranate Martinis

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Best for Smoothing Fine Lines: Blueberries

Why it works: These delicious little blue wonders contain more antioxidants than almost any other food does. Translation: They can give your skin extra protection against the skin-damaging free radicals that result from sun exposure, emotional stress, and even overexercising (especially running).

Serve yourself: One-half cup every day will help to prevent the cell-structure damage that can lead to loss of firmness, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Try these healthy recipes:

Oatmeal-Berry Pancakes

Blueberry-Orange Mini Loaves

Quick and Creamy Rice Pudding

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Best for Firming: Kale and Spinach

Why they work: These vital veggies contain special phytonutrients, or antioxidant compounds, that help guard against damage caused by the sun. Spinach is loaded with beta-carotene and lutein, two nutrients that have been shown to improve skin elasticity, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry.

Serve yourself: Every week, aim for three cups of either kale or spinach, or a combination of both, suggests Newgent.

Try these healthy recipes:

Pepper Steak with Horseradish Sauce

Salmon, Spinach, and Cheddar Omelet

Spinach and Goat Cheese Flatbread Pizza

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Best for Reducing Redness: Cold-Water Fish

Why they work: Sardines, salmon, and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids, which strengthen skin-cell membranes, helping keep moisture in. Consuming two servings of fish a week can reduce chronic skin inflammations, such as eczema and psoriasis.

Serve yourself: No more than six 6-ounce portions a week to avoid mercury contamination.

Try these healthy recipes:

Lemon Butter Salmon & Broccoli Penne

Salmon Cakes with Creamy Ginger-Sesame Sauce

Salmon and Spinach Salad with Hard-Boiled Egg

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Best for Diminishing Brown Spots: Green Tea

Why it works: This healthy brew, says Dr. Jaliman, contains catechins (one of the most effective compounds for preventing sun damage like hyperpigmentation) and polyphenols (antioxidants that combat free-radical damage and may reverse the effects of aging).

Serve yourself: At least one cup a day to see results in as little as a month.

Try these healthy recipes:

Green Tea Mocktail

Sunrise Tea Smoothie

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Best for a Dewy Complexion: Watermelon

Why it works: This refreshing, sweet treat contains the ultimate antioxidant, vitamin C, plus lycopene and potassium, which regulates the balance of water and nutrients in cells.

Serve yourself: At least one to two cups a week.

Try this healthy recipe:

Watermelon Soup with Fresh Mint

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Best for a Healthy Glow: Olive Oil

Why it works: The "good fats" in olive oil are highly beneficial; they contain heart-healthy omega-3s, which improve circulation, leaving skin rosy and supple.

Serve yourself: A tablespoon a day, says Newgent.

Try these healthy recipes:

Wheat Fettuccine with Arugula

Fried Green Tomatoes on a Bed of Greens

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More Smooth Moves

Fine lines, dark spots, and furrowed brows also can be repaired -- or prevented -- with some skincare basics.

Yes! You Should...

  • Wear an SPF 30 sunscreen every day, year-round.
  • Apply a weekly hydrating masque.
  • Eat fruits and veggies with a high water content, such as cucumber and apples.
  • Wear sunglasses -- even at sunset -- to prevent fine lines.
  • Sleep on a satin pillowcase to prevent creases.

No, Please Don't...

  • OD on at-home chemical peels (once a week is enough).
  • Pick at blemishes.
  • Try every latest, greatest treatment -- skin likes routine.
  • Take too-hot showers.
  • Go out in the wind bare-faced.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November 2007.

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