In the grand life scheme of individual wants and desires there is one goal that's universal: to be, as the classic song says, Forever Young. No one, not even the kids who have 'old souls' want to look like wrinkled up old crones with a barely functioning body and one foot firmly in the grave.

Luckily there's a booming anti-ageing beauty industry with everything from face cream to fillers to anti-ageing hair care available to keep our visage smooth and our hair free of tell tale greys. But what if all that good work is being undone by what we're putting into our bodies? What if we're eating our way towards early entry into crone town?

Nutritionist Fiona Tuck, author of The Forensic Nutritionist, says there are certain foods that do accelerate ageing and we should avoid them if we want to keep the fountain of youth flowing. On a positive note, Fiona also says there are anti-ageing foods which slow that age train right down.

Read on for Fiona's expert advice on which foods makes us age and which keep us youthful:

Which foods accelerate ageing?

Sugar robs the body of nutrients, particularly magnesium and is inflammatory in the body. Inflammation accelerates the ageing process. It also accelerates the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGE) in the body, which may lead to premature ageing.

Deep fried foods increase production of free radicals potentially damaging cells in the body. Frying oil at high temperatures can cause the oil to lose its nutrients and at worse create inflammatory toxic compounds.

Fried fish and chips

Barbecued foods that are browned, roasted or chargrilled can create toxic compounds called acrylamides. The darker, crispier the food the more acrylamides it contains. Acrylamides have been linked to being carcinogenic in lab rats leading to concerns about the potential carcinogenic properties of eating browned or grilled foods for humans.

Processed food tends to be high in salt, sugar and artificial additives and low in nutritional value.

Alcohol is high in sugar and can rob the body of nutrients such as magnesium and the B vitamins. The B vitamins are particularly important for energy production and cognitive health.

Are there any foods that are anti-ageing?

Yes, salmon and oily fish have anti-inflammatory omega 3 essential fatty acids, which helps to reduce inflammation in the body and strengthens cell integrity.   

From the fruit family, blueberries and blackberries are rich in antioxidants protecting the cells from damage and premature ageing. Grapeseed extract and grapes are high in antioxidants. The more antioxidants we eat the more our cells are protected from oxidative stress, a cause of premature ageing.

Image: @dilablog

And in terms of nuts and veg, walnuts are high in fibre, omega 3, omega 6, magnesium and vitamin B6 which helps with healthy cells, hormones and mood. Carrots are full of fibre and rich in antioxidants protecting cells from damage. Eating carrots regularly may also protect the skin from oxidative stress and premature ageing plus carrots are wonderful for keeping the immune system strong and healthy.

Fiona Tuck's book The Forensic Nutritionist is available now from her website: www.fionatuck.com 
Instagram: @fionatucknutrition

Want to stay forever young? Eat this not that