Youthful skin requires more than an anti-aging skin cream. What goes into your body is important too. When people eat a poor diet it shows in their skin, and if you do it long-term it contributes to premature wrinkling. Only recently have skin experts and dermatologists begun to acknowledge the importance diet plays in promoting soft, youthful-looking skin and preserving skin’s collagen structure, the tough, fibrous protein that supports skin and gives it its youthful firmness. Nutrition, especially vitamin C, is important for maintaining healthy collagen. So what should you eat for healthy skin?
To Eat for Healthy Skin, Reduce Sugar and Processed Carbohydrates
Sugar may taste sweet on your tongue, but it doesn’t do much for your skin. When you eat too many sugary foods and simple carbohydrates like white bread, potatoes, white rice and packaged foods, it causes rapid changes in glucose levels. This excess glucose can combine with proteins in the tissues causing advanced glycation end products called AGEs to form.
AGEs not only contribute to skin aging, but they increase the risk of other chronic diseases and to overall aging. In the case of skin aging, AGEs combine with collagen, which causes it to weaken. This leads to wrinkles and skin laxity. If you want more youthful-looking skin, lighten up on the French fries, pastries and white bread. |
Eat More Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are as good for your skin as they are for your heart. Not only are they a good source of antioxidants, they contain collagen-building vitamin C too. Without strong collagen, your skin becomes lax and wrinkles deepen.
Help yourself to a second serving of green veggies, but don’t forget about the humble tomato. Tomatoes are a good source of lycopenes, a carotenoid antioxidant that helps to improve skin texture. When European researchers gave 25 participants a diet rich in lycopenes for several months, they had smoother-looking skin. How can you get these benefits? Processed or heated tomatoes are the best source of lycopenes – so help yourself to some spaghetti sauce. Lycopenes also offer some protection against the sun’s damaging rays, but it’s still no substitute for a good sunscreen.
Eat for Healthy Skin by Eating More Fish
Dr. Perricone, best-selling author and dermatologist, is a big proponent of eating fish to maximize skin health, particularly wild Alaskan salmon. Why salmon? Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation, and inflammation plays an important role in skin aging. Salmon also contains two other key components for healthy skin – DMAE and astaxathin. Both of these natural compounds in salmon help to keep skin looking firm and youthful.
The Bottom Line?
Stop looking for the fountain of youth at the cosmetic counter, and head to your supermarket instead. Eating the right foods, wearing sun protection and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol will do wonders for the health of your skin. As they say, you are what you eat.
Health Magazine. June 2011. “Eat Like an A-Lister”
Science Daily website. “What to Eat for Glowing, Healthy Skin”
Nutraingredients.com. “Lycopene Boosts Skin Carotenoid Levels”