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In the pursuit of eternal youth, it’s pretty common to turn to creams, lotions and cosmetics to try to gain an edge over the signs of aging.
Yet people rarely stop to consider how nutrition affects their skin health…
The fact is, what you eat has a major influence over your rate of aging and the appearance of your skin.
Skin is one of the body’s major organs. It’s there to protect your internal organs from environmental challenges. It helps regulate your body temperature. And it controls water loss via sweat.
Because it is an organ, it needs energy to function. And it gets that energy from the food you eat…
Various components offered by food in your diet can affect the structure and integrity of your skin. So if you want to avoid the visible signs of aging, it’s recommended you avoid junk foods and sugar, and focus on eating the healthiest diet you can.
Overall, studies show that high antioxidant levels and high micronutrient levels can help reduce the effects of aging. Antioxidants and micronutrients can be found in a wide range of whole food sources such as fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and eggs, nuts and seeds.
Related: 12 symptoms of a free-radical attack
But these foods in particular, provide mega antioxidant-nutrient strength for fighting those wrinkles…
- Red bell pepper. One pepper contains 253 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements. Vitamin C plays a central role in making collagen, the main structural protein found in skin. Vitamin C is also required for growth and repair of tissues and is considered one of the most potent antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals that damage cells and contribute to the aging process.
- Berries. Like bell pepper, berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, are high in vitamin C to help with collagen formation.
- Carrots. High in carotenoids — beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A (retinol) — they preserve the skin’s structure and protect it against the sun’s harmful rays. Carotenoids also provide supercharged antioxidant power to scavenge those damaging free radicals.
- Fatty fish. Salmon, sardines, halibut, tuna, mackerel, are all healthy proteins and a potent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s are highly anti-inflammatory and have been shown to protect the skin from UV damage, along with assisting in inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis, acne and psoriasis. Krill oil and fish oil supplements are good options.
- Tomatoes/ tomato paste contain lycopene, which has been shown to reduce redness of the skin by 40 percent, along with having photo protective effects.
- Yogurt/ kefir. These are great sources of probiotics to help regulate the absorption of nutrients from the gut and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. The state of your gut bacteria is directly linked to your rate of aging. The more you can support the growth of good flora and keep the bad yeasts and bacteria at bay, the slower you’ll age overall.
- Green leafy vegetables. These are considered among the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Green leafy vegetables contain a huge variety of vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients that all join hands to provide you with huge antioxidant defenses.
- Grape fruit. Citrus bioflavonoids have been shown to inhibit negative effects of UV light, decrease radical oxygen species and prevent DNA damage to skin cells.
- Olive oil. Rich in vitamin E, which helps the body make red blood cells and prevents damage to the cells. Vitamin E has also been shown to reduce sun sensitivity and provide sun protection. And with its 36 powerful polyphenols, olive oil provides strong anti-inflammatory power to protect your skin cells.
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- Apostolos P, et al. Nutrition and skin. — Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2016;17:443-448.
- Iizaka S, et al. Nutritional Status and Habitual Dietary Intake Are Associated with Frail Skin Conditions in Community-Dwelling Older People. — J Nutr Health Aging. 2017;21(2):137-146.
- Pérez-Sánchez A, et al. Protective effects of citrus and rosemary extracts on UV-induced damage in skin cell model and human volunteers. — J Photochem Photobiol B. 2014;136:12-8.