The toll that aging takes on the mind and body is inevitable. But there are ways to slow down the process that makes you look old.

Some people attack their wrinkles with creams and lotions, while others take more drastic actions like undergoing plastic surgery. There are healthier, more natural methods of maintaining a youthful appearance.

The key is to adopt a diet that helps preserve your skin, internal organs and body systems. That means giving up, or at least severely curtailing, foods loaded with sugar and saturated fats. They promote not only wrinkles, but also weak muscles, inflammation and fatigue – which can lead to premature aging.

Instead, you need to eat things rich in vitamins and minerals. These foods also provide antioxidants, which destroy the free radicals that cause inflammation and disease.

Vegetables

Start with consuming more vegetables, especially the green, leafy varieties. Spinach, with its large doses of Vitamin C and beta carotene, deters wrinkles by strengthening the skin’s collagen. Other good choices are kale, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce and collared greens.

Looking for tastier veggies? Try bell peppers, particularly the red and orange ones. They deliver carotenoids and flavonoids, antioxidants that enhance skin health. Another antioxidant, beta carotene, is an element of sweet potatoes and carrots.

The avocado has Vitamin C, which makes the skin more resilient to injury; and a substance called glutathione that eliminates contaminants responsible for wrinkles.

Fruits

Nutritionists recommend all kinds of fruit, but some kinds have qualities that set them above the rest. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is not only good for the skin but also bolsters the heart and lowers the risk of cancer.

Mangos offer beta carotene, while oranges and kiwis have Vitamin C. Fruits are tremendous sources of fiber, which decreases the odds of many diseases.

Fish

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids benefit the skin and curb the brain deterioration associated with aging. In addition, these acids are good for the heart, eyes and hair.

Not many foods contain omega-3s. Experts advise eating fish twice a week. Ocean-caught salmon is widely considered the wisest choice. Other options are tuna, for its selenium that repairs sun-damaged skin; and arctic char, because it provides carotenoids plus omega-3s. The acids are found in walnuts and flaxseed, as well.

Berries

A delicious way to get anti-aging antioxidants is to eat berries. Few foods have more nutritional benefits than blueberries. Like strawberries and blackberries, they come with anthocyanin antioxidants that tone muscles and fight cancer. Berries also deliver fiber.

Whole Grains

White bread and other refined grains are not very nutritious, and they encourage skin damage and inflammation. Whole grains provide antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Shop for bread, pasta and cereal made with whole wheat or oats. Opt for wild or brown rice instead of white. Discover quinoa, a complete-protein seek that authorities rate as a “super food.”

Other Foods

You can get omega-3s by chowing down on a handful of nuts and seeds. Almonds offer Vitamin E, which is good for the skin; and Brazil nuts come with selenium.

An especially powerful antioxidant, resveratrol, is found in red grapes. It strengthens brain and heart cells, which deters premature aging.

Research continues to reveal the value of dark chocolate. Despite its sugar and saturated fat, chocolate can be part of a balanced diet. The secret is its flavonoids and zinc, which hydrate the skin and aid blood circulation.