Foods that support aging are those that are minimally processed and nutrient-dense. Among foods that support aging, some are especially beneficial, such as blueberries, leafy green vegetables, and nuts. Nonplant foods that are helpful include fatty fish and yogurt.

Aging affects the entire body rather than only the skin, as it links to a higher incidence of chronic or long-term conditions. For this reason, some foods that support aging may foster a more youthful appearance, while others can help protect against the internal effects of aging.

Examples of the latter include thinning bones and a decline in cognition, which involves the ability to think and remember.

This article will explain which foods support aging and their specific benefits.

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Superfoods support aging because they are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds the body needs for optimal functioning. Many of these are plant foods. Experts advise eating a variety of different-colored fruits and vegetables to ensure optimal nutrition intake.

Other plant foods for aging include whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Superfoods also include some dairy products, eggs, and fish, which have omega-3 fatty acids, a fat with health benefits.

Below are 11 of the best foods that support aging.

A 2019 study reviewed research on the health benefits of blueberries and found they have properties that support multiple aspects of aging. These include:

  • being an antioxidant
  • being vasoprotective, which helps protect blood vessels
  • being anti-inflammatory

Such effects promote healthy blood glucose, sugar, and metabolic functions, which are processes that convert food to energy and extract nutrients from it. They also help reduce the effects of aging on vision and cognition.

Learn more about the health benefits of blueberries here.

Research from 2018 discovered that one daily serving of leafy green vegetables may help slow cognitive decline from aging. In fact, people who consumed 1–2 servings daily were 11 years younger mentally than those who rarely or never consumed them.

The authors determined that the beneficial nutrients include:

  • phylloquinone, one of the K vitamins
  • folate, one of the B vitamins
  • antioxidants of lutein and kaempferol
  • α-tocopherol, one of the E vitamins
  • natural nitrate, a beneficial compound

Examples of green leafy vegetables include:

  • spinach
  • kale
  • collard greens
  • lettuce

Learn more about the health benefits of green leafy vegetables here.

A 2020 study found that cruciferous vegetable intake was inversely related to one of the conditions that increase with age — calcification of the abdominal aorta, with the aorta being the main artery in the body. This means that the greater the consumption, the less calcification was present.

Cardiovascular disease refers to conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. It is the top cause of death. The main underlying factor is atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty plaque that narrows the arteries and increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Doctors consider the buildup of calcium in the arteries an indication of advanced atherosclerosis.

Examples of cruciferous vegetables include:

  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts

Learn more about the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables here.

A 2022 pilot study involving 39 females suggests that consumption of one avocado daily for 8 weeks may boost skin firmness and elasticity. A pilot study is a small-scale test of procedures that researchers will later use in a larger investigation, and more research is necessary to confirm the results.

Avocadoes are good sources of monounsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid. They also contain:

  • the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin E
  • folate
  • niacin, a B vitamin

Learn more about the health benefits of avocado here.

Research from 2019 involving more than 3,000 participants reports that olive oil can influence an array of hallmarks of aging. It compared the effects of the exclusive use of olive oil with those of the use of the combination of olive oil and other oils in the diet.

The research also compared these effects to those from the use of no olive oil. It found that the exclusive use of olive oil links to successful aging among people older than 70, including diminishing the risk of age-related illnesses.

Olive oil, especially virgin olive oil, is rich in healthy monounsaturated fat and also contains antioxidants.

Long-term consumption of fish is linked to lower rates of cognitive decline. Experts recommend two 4-ounce serving per week of oily fish, such as salmon.

A 2020 study notes that salmon is rich in:

Learn more about the health benefits of salmon here.

Green tea may help support the aging of the skin and brain. It is richer in antioxidants than other forms of tea, notes a 2019 review. It found that animal and human studies suggest green tea can help protect the skin from the aging effects of the sun.

Additionally, a 2021 review that included both animal and epidemiological studies found that green tea can reduce brain aging, which manifests in decreased cognitive decline.

Some of the beneficial compounds in green tea include the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate and the amino acids arginine and theanine.

Learn more about the health benefits of green tea here.

Research from 2017 notes that people in Asian countries have consumed whole-grain black or purple rice for centuries. Its antioxidants are beneficial for a range of health problems, including osteoporosis, the condition linked with aging that produces thinning, fracture-prone bones.

Also, an older 2012 study on black rice tested its capacity to support aging in human cells in test tubes. The rice appeared to extend the lifespan of the cells, which suggested it may delay the aging process.

Learn more about the health benefits of black rice here.

A 2021 review of nut consumption in older adults found evidence that suggests it supports aging. The results indicate that long-term nut consumption — particularly when part of a nutritious diet — may lower cognitive decline. Data also suggests that nuts may help reduce the loss of muscle tissue that happens in the aging process.

The above review built on the results of a 2017 study involving 5,582 adults, which found the consumption of nuts and seeds may reduce biological aging.

Learn more about how nuts can prolong life here.

Yogurt is a nutrient-dense food that contains probiotics, which are beneficial strains of bacteria that promote gut health.

An older 2014 review explored the value of yogurt in supporting aging. While research on the topic is preliminary and limited, the results are encouraging. Possible benefits may include improving bone health in older adults, reducing the risk of chronic disease, and enhancing immunity.

Learn more about the health benefits of yogurt here.

A 2019 review assessed test tube, animal, and human studies on the effects of honey and found that it may have the potential to protect against the cognitive decline of aging.

In particular, the variety of honey known as Tualang honey may improve memory and protect against neurodegenerative disorders. Tualang honey comes from the rainforests of Malaysia.

Raw, unfiltered honey may support aging, as it contains:

  • antioxidants
  • vitamins
  • amino acids
  • proteins

Learn more about the health benefits of honey here.

Foods that support aging include fruits and vegetables, such as berries, spinach, and broccoli. Because different colors of fresh produce have different nutrients and beneficial properties, a person should eat a variety.

Foods that support aging also include nuts, yogurt, whole grains — such as black rice — and fatty fish, such as salmon. Green tea and raw honey may be helpful as well.

Such foods can help with some of the visible signs of skin aging, along with systemic signs, such as thinning bones and cognitive function. They can also help reduce the increased risk of chronic disease that comes with aging.