Aging is a beautiful—but admittedly hard—part of life. While you may not be able to control the rate at which the effects of aging impact your looks and appearance, how and when you fuel your body with food can help you move and feel as if you’re younger than the actual age written on your birth certificate. This can start with your first meal of the day: breakfast.
“Many of us obsess over how we age on the outside—with concerns about wrinkles on our faces, bags under our eyes, and our hair streaked with gray. But it’s healthy aging from the inside that we should focus our energy on,” explains Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You From Label to Table, and the creator of BetterThanDieting.com.
Although you can’t push back your biological clock, Taub-Dix notes that you can help to slow the aging process down by taking a closer look at what you put inside your body instead of only focusing on the exterior.
The best news? You can start implementing quality breakfast habits to help deter the physical repercussions of aging at any point—even today! To help get you started making healthier eating choices able to preserve your youthful vibrancy, we asked a couple of dietitians to weigh in with their thoughts on the best breakfast habits to slow down the aging process.
One of the easiest habits you can implement to delay signs of aging is simply not skipping breakfast. Instead, prioritize eating this important meal each and every morning to get your metabolism going.
“Eating some breakfast is often more important than what you eat for breakfast,” explains Arévalo. “Big or small, there are peer-reviewed studies that indicate that eating earlier in the day helps to improve your cardiometabolism. This means that you will have a healthier heart, prevent diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and even lose weight. The better you feel, the younger you are.”
Even if you don’t get a full night’s sleep, looking and feeling rested can still help you feel younger.
“To avoid looking tired and start looking your best in the morning, start by eating cereals that contain tryptophan. Oatmeal, whole wheat cereals, and chia seeds are higher in tryptophan,” says Arévalo. “The body uses tryptophan to help make melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin helps to regulate the sleep and wake cycle, and serotonin has a role in the regulation of appetite, sleep, and even pain. Tryptophan is [also] needed to produce niacin—[aka] vitamin B3—which is needed for energy and DNA production.”
Another awesome benefit of oatmeal and other whole grains? They are high in fiber content, which is both filling and great for your cardiovascular health.
“Oats contain soluble fiber, which is necessary to help lower cholesterol levels and support heart health,” says Taub-Dix. “Try a swirl of nut butter or chia seeds to your steamy bowl of oatmeal to boost satisfaction and fiber content even further.”
If you’re not in the mood for a hot breakfast, you can also try making overnight oats.
“Combine oats with Greek yogurt, your favorite fruit, nuts, chia seeds, or some of your favorite add-ons,” says Taub-Dix. “Leave it in the fridge overnight, and you’ll wake up to a breakfast that will hold you till lunch.”
Strawberries are anti-aging must-haves at breakfast because of how their vitamin and nutrition content supports the healthy development of your skin and bones.