Everyone goes through a phase where there is neither the time nor the inclinations to eat healthily; starting a business, moving house or a break-up can derail any well meaning healthy eating endeavor, such is life. But it goes without saying that this neglect shows on our skin almost immediately; it’s no wonder, considering our skin is our largest organ, which is constantly renewing itself.
Recently scientists have begun to uncover more about the relationship between our skin and our diet. World renowned dermatologist and Oprah expert Dr. Perricone believes the typical western diet is a major cause of wrinkles; singling out sugar and simple carbohydrates such as white bread. A sugary diet causes collagen fibers to stiffen (they should remain springy and firm); the stiffening is called glycation and it leads to visible signs of ageing.
Our skin relies heavily on oxygen from our blood; so avoiding sugar and anything that compromises circulation is essential in the quest or preservation of younger looking skin. On the other hand omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetable can boost skin by reducing inflammation and fighting free radicals.
So what is the recipe for skin success?
A great skin diet should include all the food groups- fats, carbohydrates and protein- plenty of water and plenty of antioxidants to fight free radicals and boost our immune systems. This will not only show on our faces but in energy levels too.
It is extra important to feed our bodies with the nutrients it needs to produce and maintain our tissues and boost collagen; which can be found in protein and vitamin C. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and they also contain the detoxifying amino acid cystine, which aids the formation of collagen. And the consumption of B vitamins has been shown to slow the loss of collagen fibers, so be sure to consume whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal- this will also keep us regular; and many will attest to the fact that constipation leads to frowning and grimacing- another wrinkle culprit.
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
We are comprised of over 50% water, so without it, we are dry- dry body, dry skin, it’s simple. Two to three liters of water a day is a must- even more if we are exercising or living in hotter climates. In addition, essential fatty acids found in nuts, seeds and fish can help retain skins hydration levels. There is even evidence to support that fish oils can help repair sun damage, thinning of skin and wrinkle formation. EFA’s and B vitamins are well known anti inflammatory so stocking our pantry’s are with avocados, nuts, seeds, chicken and fish ensures that our bodies never run dry.
The power of anti oxidants cannot be overstated, and they are the foremost protector of our skin. The rule of thumb when it comes to anti oxidants is to eat a rainbow of vividly colored fruits and vegetables. Dark leafy greens, carrots, squash, berries- you name it, if it is brightly colored go wild! These vivid eats are all super potent and loaded with the coveted anti oxidant. And let’s not forget about co-enzyme Q10, yes, the one in all the creams; it can be found in liver and soybeans (not tofu, which is fermented and therefore the enzyme is disabled). Also remember the less cooking and processing that our food goes through the better; steaming and grilling are the best ways to cook food while still preserving the nutrients.
Beat Sun Damage
Apart from sunscreen and the external control factors that come along with sun protection; it is advantageous to us to bolster our protection with vitamin A. This vitamin provides a natural sunscreen; and is found concentrated in sweet potatoes, carrots, kale and broccoli. Also a diet rich in anti oxidants and omega 3 fatty acids also offers an internal defense against the sun. Anti oxidant- is there anything they can’t do?!
Eating a diet rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids is not only essential for the repair and maintenance of youthful looking skin; but for the maintenance of a healthy body and mind. And although some days healthful eating is the last thing we care to think about; but it’s about making ourselves a priority. Are you worth it?