Diet and its reflection on your skin

Diet and its relationship to your skin has always been an interesting topic for scientists, doctors and dietitians throughout the centuries. It has been reported that the skin reflects your inner health status and ageing. We now know that our diets play a major role in the condition and appearance of our skin.

While good skin relies on great skin care, a healthy diet rich in nutrients is crucial. While aging is a natural process that we can’t avoid, fighting off wrinkles can look and taste quite well!

Vitamins, flavonoids (anti-oxidants), omega 3 oils, collagen and a variety of plant  extracts, have been reported to possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to  delay skin aging and improve the appearance of your skin.

 

Skin Aging

Skin aging consist of two independent processes.  

The natural aging process (INTRINSIC AGING)

This refers to the chronological aging process. It affects the skin in the same way as it affects all internal organs. 

The unnatural aging process (EXTRINSIC AGING) 

This represents the aging of skin as a result of external factors like poor diet, sun exposure, smoking, pollution and sleep deprivation.

For the purposes of this article I am going to focus on the role of your diet in anti-aging. 

Premature Aging and Preventing Wrinkles

When it comes to combating premature aging, prevention is always better than cure. Wrinkles are primarily caused by sun damage and the loss of the proteins collagen and elastin. These two proteins are responsible for keeping the skin young, firm and supple.

Sun damage occurs when the skin is exposed to UV rays, which in turn affects the production of collagen and elastin. Even more so, these rays also encourage the production of free radicals, which then prematurely age the skin. 

Free radicals can easily be counteracted by antioxidants in your diet and therefore prevent the formation of wrinkles

 

Red Peppers

Red peppers and guava are two foods that contain the highest amount of the anti-oxidant, Vitamin C per portion. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which means that it reduces the damage that free radicals may do to the skin, including wrinkling and inflammation. 

Vitamin C is topically on the skin for lightening, skin pigmentation and helps reduce premature wrinkling by stimulating the growth of collagen. Collagen is a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin.

Vitamin C is not naturally produced in the body and therefore an adequate  intake from your diet is required. If your diet is low in vitamin C, it will impair collagen production and can lead to premature aging.

Click here for a list of foods that are high in Vitamin C

Carrots

They may be great for your eyes, but the nutrient found in carrots – beta-carotene – also helps to preserve the youthfulness of the skin by fighting free radicals.

Beta carotene is found in natural colorants in foods such as  carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, mangoes and papaya. 

Olive Oil

Aside from adding olive oil to your salad, it can also play a prominent role in preventing premature aging.

Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and this allows it to keep the skin hydrated, which is important as dry skin can cause wrinkles. Aside from that, olive oil is also rich in the free-radical fighting nutrients, vitamin E and A.

Salmon

Salmon is incredibly rich in wrinkle-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, but apart from that, it also contains the antioxidant astaxanthin. Astaxanthin, which is responsible for salmon’s pink color, helps to fight off free radicals.  The effects of UVA radiation, such as skin sagging or wrinkling can be prevented or at least minimized by topical or oral administration of astaxanthin.  To make the most of the anti-aging effect of omega-3 and astaxanthin aim for at least 300g of oily fish i.e. salmon, trout, sardines or pilchards per week.

Dark Chocolate

Polyphenols are powerful micronutrients that our bodies need. Due to their antioxidant properties, they have numerous health benefits and may offer protection from the development of cancers, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. Also Polyphenols, combined with sunscreen protection, have the ability to protect the skin from the adverse effects of UV radiation, including the risk of skin cancers.

Good sources of polyphenols are cocoa powder and dark chocolate, berries, beans, hazelnuts, pecan nuts, red onion, spinach, black and green tea and red wine. It is important to know that the way in which we prepare foods that contains polyphenol can actually reduce the levels of polyphenols.  For example, onions and tomatoes lose between 75% and 80% of their initial content when boiled for over 15 min, 65% when cooked in a microwave oven and 30% when fried.

Go for fresh and you will feel the benefits.

 It is never too late to start

Even people who already have signs of premature skin aging can benefit from making lifestyle changes. By protecting your skin from the sun, you give it a chance to repair some of the damage. Smokers who stop often notice that their skin looks healthier.

Are the signs of an ageing skin bothering you and you do not know how to introduce changes to your diet? Contact me for a consultation as I can help you make changes to your diet and lifestyle to help improve your skin and avoid accelerated aging!