By Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea

Wrinkles are a natural part of getting older. We all eventually get them, however some of us seem to get more of them at a younger age than others. As we age our skin begins to thin, collagen production declines, and we lose moisture and elasticity – which makes us more prone to fine lines and sagging as we grow older. However, there are many natural measures we can take to reduce premature ageing.

Drinking teas that are rich in antioxidants such as Bodhi Organic LongeviTEA (containing rose hip, hibiscus, white tea), ViridiTEA (containing green tea) and ZesTEA (containing turmeric, ginger) will help promote beautiful youthful skin and can help reduce the risk of premature skin ageing.

What factors accelerate premature ageing?

There are a number of factors that can play havoc with our skin and speed up the ageing process. Genetics of course plays its part, as does the type of skin you’re born with, however there are some other factors such as dietary and environmental, that we have control over.

Environment and diet:

Various environmental and dietary factors and even certain daily activities can increase the presence of destructive free radicals in the body. These include exposure to sunlight, environmental pollutants like exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, strenuous exercise, and glycation and elevated blood glucose levels from eating sugary foods. Being aware of, and avoiding these common causes of skin damage is an important step to maintaining beautiful healthy, youthful looking skin.

Free radicals:

Free radicals play a major role in driving skin aging, as it breaks down collagen, which decreases the skin’s suppleness and elasticity, along with damaging DNA, and promoting inflammation, which can trigger inflammatory skin conditions like eczema. A common everyday example of free radicals at work is when you cut an apple and leave it in the open air. The browning is an example of oxidation caused by free radicals. Interestingly if you cover the cut apple in lemon juice, which is rich in the antioxidant vitamin C, it stops the apple from going brown. This is because antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidation.

Antioxidants:

Thankfully Mother Nature has provided us with plenty of powerful antioxidants, to help fight free-radical damage by preventing free radicals from damaging skin cells and other cells in the body. Some of the most antioxidants include vitamin A, C, E, flavanoids, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc and glutathione, which can be found in foods like berries, green and white tea, carrots, tomatoes, pomegranates, broccoli and Brazil nuts.

Here are 6 fabulous antioxidant-rich foods that help prevent premature ageing.

Turmeric

Antioxidants are our best line of defense against damaging free radicals, which are one of the main culprits when it comes to ageing. The super spice turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin, which has been studied extensively for its powerful antioxidant properties and potent anti-inflammatory effect. Turmeric helps protect the body from oxidative stress and chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric has also been shown to help support liver function. Add turmeric to curries, rice dishes, dahls, scrambled eggs, protein balls and smoothies, or make a turmeric latte or tea infused with some ginger and lemon.

Broccoli sprouts

Broccoli sprouts are little nutritional powerhouses, full of important complexion-boosting nutrients like vitamins C and A. Broccoli sprouts also contain high levels of sulforaphane, a powerful antioxidant compound that helps fight cancer, reduce inflammation, and supports healthy liver detoxification. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts are one of the best SOD (Superoxide dismutase) boosters, which is a powerful antioxidant and one of our most important anti-aging compounds produced in the body. SOD helps fight damaging superoxide free radicals that lead to cell death and aging.

Adding raw broccoli sprouts to meals is an easy way to give your skin a big nutritional boost. They can also be easily and cheaply grown at home, or you can buy broccoli sprout powder to add to smoothies and fresh juices.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

This popular spice is widely-known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action. Ginger is highly beneficial for relieving inflammation and pain associated with arthritis, and has been shown to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Ginger is also useful for promoting healthy, youthful looking skin. Try adding some fresh ginger to vegie juices, stir-fries or salads, or as a tea.

Cinnamon (Cinnamonum verum or ‘true’ cinnamon)

Cinnamon is high in protective antioxidants, including flavonoids such as lutein, carotenes, and zeaxanthin. Cinnamon also helps boost glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is one of the body’s most important antioxidants. It is required for healthy liver detoxification and for dampening inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, to help fight off cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases. The best way to enjoy cinnamon is in chai tea, as a warm drink with almond milk, or added to porridges, muesli, smoothies and baked goods.

Green & White Tea

Drinking green or white regularly is one of the best ways to help reduce premature ageing. Green and white teas are rich in polyphenols, namely catechins and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which are powerful antioxidants that fight oxidative damage that leads to premature ageing of the skin and the rest of the body. EGCG can slow down collagen and elastin breakdown and can help regenerate ageing surface skin cells. Research shows that antioxidants found in this beneficial tea can help protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer, according to studies published in the journal Chinese Medicine.

Rose hip

Rosehips, which are the fruit of the rose, are abundant in vitamin C and A, which are powerful antioxidants that help promote more youthful looking skin by boosting collagen production to help maintain skin elasticity, and for improving skin cell turnover and repair. Consuming antioxidant rich foods will help neutralize free radical damage, which is a leading cause of premature ageing and the development of chronic disease. Rose hips can be enjoyed as a tea, or iced tea with some fresh lime.