What to eat for an anti-aging diet

Beauty comes from the inside

The effect of nutrition on skin aging has been an interesting research field for scientists from ancient times to nowadays. Our skin is subject to both intrinsic aging and extrinsic aging. Intrinsic aging or chronological aging is the unavoidable natural process of skin aging controlled by genetics. Starting in your mid-twenties dermal collagen production decreases as well as melanin production, cellular turnover slows, and your skin begins to show the first signs of aging. On the other hand, extrinsic aging is the result of external factors and environmental influence, mainly sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) irradiation but also smoking, pollution, sleep deprivation and poor nutrition.

Prevention is the best and most effective way to work against extrinsic skin aging effects. The best prevention strategy against skin aging would be a well-regulated lifestyle, with low-stress conditions and a balanced nutritional diet, including anti-oxidative rich food. If it’s difficult to reduce our stress level or to control the environment in which we live (pollution), there is certainly one thing that we can influence: what we eat every day. So today I’m going to give you some diet tips to slow down skin aging process and best foods that are preferred to prevent and reduce wrinkles.

Cut back on sugar and all processed foods

Researchers have found over the years that excess sugar in the bloodstream can encourage a process called “glycation,” which is considered one of the key factors in skin aging. The excess of sugar damages not only collagen (which gives skin its firmness), but also elastin (which helps skin bounce back after being stretched), resulting in the appearance of age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, dull skin tone, sagging, and inflammation.

The first diet tip to slow down skin aging process would be to reduce white sugar and all processed foods that typically contain high levels of refined sugar. It’s not easy to eliminate sugar completely and you shouldn’t. Indeed, sugar is an essential fuel for cells and energy metabolism but limiting added sugar can help. Remember that many prepared foods and alcohol contain large amounts of sugar!

The next step to prevent skin aging is to really re-consider the quality of food. Some natural compounds are able to prevent glycation and in consequence aging, especially polyphenols and other natural antioxidants. Your diet must be very high in foods with a high content of antioxidants such as Vitamin C (citrus, green apples, parsley, bell peppers, kiwi, all berries), Vitamin E (almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts), as well as high Polyphenol (garlic, onions, seaweed, green tea), to ensure that the cells can regenerate themselves.

5 Anti-Aging foods to fight wrinkles

1. Vitamins C & Vitamin E

Vitamin C is the most important antioxidant to prevent skin aging. Vitamin C is not naturally synthesized by the human body and therefore adequate dietary intake of vitamin C is required and essential for a healthy diet. The richest natural sources are fresh fruits and vegetables such as guava, black currant, red pepper, kiwi, green pepper, orange, strawberries, and papaya. Vitamin C has been reported to possess potent antioxidant properties and is widely used in the skin care industry either as skin care or oral supplements in an attempt to prolong youthful skin appearance.

If Vitamin C is a super antioxidant which supports the immune system, promotes radiant and youthful skin, Vitamin E is a super antioxidant that protects skin from oxidative damages (aging skin). Vitamin E and vitamin C are working synergistically to slow down skin aging process. Vitamin E is available in most vegetables, vegetable oils like wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and seeds, corn, soy and some sorts of meat.

2. Carotenoids (Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, Astaxanthin, Retinol)

Carotenoids are vitamin A derivates which are highly effective antioxidants and have been documented to possess photoprotective properties (protect the skin from sun damages). Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangos and papaya are some examples of Beta Carotene containing fruits and vegetables. Astaxanthin is found in microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish and crustacea. Astaxanthin has been attributed an extraordinary potential for protecting the organism against a wide range of diseases. Lycopene is found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons and papayas (but not strawberries or cherries). Lycopene and tomato products are also mentioned for preventing cancer! Did you know you could find retinol in food? Yes, the same kind of retinol that you find in most anti-aging serums. Natural retinol is contained in liver, milk, egg yolk, cheese and fatty fish.

3. Polyphenols

Polyphenols have drawn the attention of the anti-aging research community over the last decade, mainly because of their antioxidant properties, their great intake amount in our diet and the increasing studies showing their probable role in the prevention of various diseases associated with oxidative stress, such as cancer and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. They are mostly found in fruits (apples, grapes, orange, guava, citrus fruits, berries, and cherries) and plant-derived beverages such as fruit juices, tea, coffee, and red wine. Vegetables, cereals, chocolate and dry legumes are also sources for the total polyphenol intake.

Laboratory studies suggested that 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. Polyphenol protects the skin against free radicals (responsible for 4 out of 5 wrinkles) and preserves the hyaluronic acid capital of the skin, real natural “plumping” agent.

4. Vitamin D

Smaller amounts of vitamin D come from the dietary intake of animal-based foods such as fatty fish or egg yolk. Some products like milk, cereals and margarine can be enriched with vitamin D. While you probably know that your body naturally produces vitamin D when skin is exposed to UVB rays, the ingredient’s topical benefits are a more recent discovery. Research indicates that Vitamin D has powerful anti-aging properties as it protects the skin against the hazardous effects of various skin aging-inducing agents, including ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  However, an excess of Vitamin D is stored in fat of the body and can result in toxic effects. So if Vitamin D seems to be important for preventing premature aging, do not eat animal-based foods more than is reasonable.

5. Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6)

Omega-3 and Omega-6 cannot be produced in the human body and they have to be consumed through our daily dietary intake. They are present in multiple food sources such as fish and shellfish, flaxseed, hemp oil, soya oil, canola oil, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, walnuts, sesame seeds, avocados, salmon and albacore tuna. Essential fatty acids are vital to helping cells retain water so a diet rich in them can help to minimize the appearance of aging, cellulite and oily skin. As you age, your body’s natural ability to retain moisture within cells diminishes, resulting in skin that appears to loose, wrinkled, or “saggy”. So make sure to get enough Omega-3 and Omega-6 via your diet as they stimulate collagen production to keep skin plump and firm, slow down the aging process and the appearance of wrinkles.

A recent study has evaluated the associations between diet and skin-aging appearance. It has been proven that higher intakes of vitamin C and Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3, Omega-6) and lower intakes of fats and sugars are associated with better skin-aging appearance.

To conclude, to prevent skin aging cut back on white sugar and all processed foods that contain large amounts of sugar and re-consider the quality of food. Be sure to include in your diet, foods with a high content of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, Carotenoids, Polyphenols, Vitamin D and Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3, Omega-6). Remember that fruit and vegetable consumption may represent the most healthy and safe method to maintain a balanced diet and youthful appearing skin.

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