BBC Radio 4 – Just One Thing – with Michael Mosley, Stay Young – with Michael Mosley

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2. A dietary change to reduce wrinkles, boost collagen and improve skin texture

There’s a surprisingly simple (and delicious) way to help keep your skin looking youthful that’s nothing to do with expensive creams, botox or fillers. Piling your plate with red, yellow and orange coloured vegetables which are rich in carotenoids, can reduce wrinkles, boost collagen and give you a more youthful glow.

Red, yellow and orange coloured vegetables which are rich in carotenoids.

Dermatologist Dr Raja Sivamani, from the University of California, Davis, has shown that tucking into carotenoid-rich fruit and vegetables can reduce wrinkles.

In a recent study, he showed that eating half a cup of mango a day reduced both the size of existing wrinkles and the number of emerging ones over the course of just a few months. Mangoes are packed full of chemical compounds called carotenoids and Dr Sivamani believes these could be responsible for their youth-promoting benefits.

Lab studies have found that carotenoids can activate cells in your skin to produce more collagen and hyaluronic acid which can improve skin plumpness and hydration. Other brightly coloured vegetables, such as peppers, pumpkins and tomatoes contain plenty of carotenoids too.

So make yourself a plate full of delicious red, orange and yellow fruit and veg and reap the benefits for your skin – and the rest of your body.

3. The best way to boost your brainpower

Like so many parts of our bodies, our brain power starts declining as we age. Fortunately, if you want to stay sharp, then there are things you can do to help maintain your brain power.

Dr Rachel Wu from University of California, Riverside told me that the best way for older people to stay sharp is to keep learning and stay curious, as a child would. In her latest study, Dr Wu showed that older adults who were asked to learn at least three new skills improved their performance in a range of cognitive tests to levels seen in people decades younger.

Practising a new skill, particularly one that is challenging, like learning a new language or learning to paint, can improve your brain health, primarily, it’s thought, by boosting connections in the brain. A study where participants were asked to learn to juggle showed that repeated practice boosted areas of “white matter” – the part of the brain which is rich in nerve fibres. Lab studies have found that when neurons fire repeatedly, neighbouring cells wrap an insulating myelin sheath around them, which strengthens the connections between your brain cells, and seems to be important for healthy brain ageing.

So why not pick up a new skill, like painting, juggling, or a new language? And don’t be put off if you don’t excel – it’s the challenge of learning something new that’s crucial, not how good you are!

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