Your skin is like every other part of the human body: It needs the right conditions to perform at its peak. To maintain youthful skin as we age, it's imperative to stay healthy and provide those cells with the nutrients they need to be strong and defend itself again changes and damage that come with aging, pollution, and toxins.

If your skin looks fabulous right now, don't think you're off the hook. Take note: This information is crucial for all ages, starting with prevention in your 20s. Sorry to say, but once wrinkling begins, attempts to rehabilitate damaged skin can be less successful, and wrinkles may worsen as you age.

That's the unfortunate news. But the good news is, as with so many other physical concerns, sound nutrition is a key to prevention. Yes, good food strategies can even help keep wrinkles at bay!

Add essential fatty acids and omega 3-rich foods.
Pick up any book on glowing skin, and the topic of eating healthful fats is at the top of the list. These help combat dryness from the inside out. (And don't worry. Essential fats won't make you fat!) The best sources of good fats are wild salmon, walnuts, sardines, halibut, flaxseed, and avocados. New to try: chia seeds. Sprinkle on foods or add to protein drinks.

Your skin will stay moist and glowing with pure water, and lots of it. Not a water guzzler? Many tasty, satisfying fruits and vegetables have a high water content. Add watermelon, grapes, spinach, tomatoes, papaya, and cucumbers to your diet, and you also take in lots of added H2O. The surprise for anti-aging? With their added vitamins and minerals, these foods can actually hydrate you more effectively than water alone!

Eat anti-wrinkle antioxidants for younger skin.
Antioxidants (beta-carotene and vitamins A, C, and E) help your body repair and prevent cell damage, and that includes skin damage. Foods that fit the bill include berries, broccoli, spinach, garlic, beans, yellow and orange root vegetables, nuts, and green tea. And buy organic when possible, of course.

Thwart premature aging by cutting free radical-forming foods.
No doubt you've heard that you should limit your intake of processed foods, refined grains and sugars, and foods laden with additives. Those foods stimulate production of free-radicals, rogue compounds that damage cells and lower your body's natural immune response. Avoid them, and you essentially make yourself younger and more healthy, inside and out.

Consider using healthful ingredients topically.
What do honey, oatmeal, egg whites, yogurt, lemon, papaya, and coconut oil have in common? You can eat them--or you can mix and match them to create your own natural, cost-effective masks, moisturizers, and cleansers. Try kosher salt (carefully) or brown sugar for exfoliation and diluted apple cider vinegar as a toner. The options are unlimited and come from your local grocer or farm.

Your skin is designed to detoxify naturally. Sweat or steam can aid your body in releasing stored toxins and increasing the circulation healthy skin needs. Just wash after your workout, and you've taken a step toward youthful skin.

If you think you need to buy expensive, hyped, and media-promoted products, think again. What goes for the rest of your body is operative for your skin as well, and with a few changes along the way, you can begin to slow down the aging clock...naturally.

It may look like a tall order--especially if these things are not part of your current routine--but I assure you it's worthwhile to make these changes. Give yourself the gift of top health at every age, and enjoy a bonus: a beautiful boost in your skin's ability to stay young and glorious.

Author's Bio: 

Roberta Roberts Mittman, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., M.S., is a nutritional and lifestyle consultant, holistic mindset mentor, and nationally board-certified acupuncturist. Using natural, drug-free techniques, Roberta opens the door to complete mind-body health. Roberta's goal is not only to relieve patients' illness and discomfort, but to help them set realistic goals for physical and mental preventative care and overall wellness. Roberta believes in empowering individuals to be their own best healers.