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May 14, 2014 by NATASHA LONGO
11 Foods Great For Your Skin and 11 Types of Foods That Will Make You Age


The right vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, etc can shield your skin from the ravages of the environment, time, and even cancer, while the wrong types of foods can accelerate everything from wrinkles, to acne and dryness. Here's how to arm yourself with less than a dozen potent foods that keep you young and your skin looking vibrant.

11 FOODS THAT ARE GREAT FOR YOUR SKIN

1. Avocado

Apart from being high in Vitamin E, avocados are rich in antioxidants which help protect the skin. Avocados help in regenerating skin cells which makes your skin look fresh, giving a more youthful complexion.

2. Walnuts
Walnuts are a rich source of Vitamin E and having a handful can help your skin look great.

3. Carrots
Think of carrots as orange wonder wands - good for the eyeballs, and good for clearing up breakouts. No magic here, though, just plenty of Vitamin A, which prevents overproduction of cells in the skin's outer layer. That means fewer dead cells to combine with sebum and clog pores. Plus, vitamin A reduces the development of skin-cancer cells.

4. Dark Chocolate
Flavonols, the antioxidants in dark chocolate, reduce roughness in the skin and provide sun protection. In a study from the Journal of Nutrition, women who drank cocoa fortified with a chocolate bar's worth of flavonols had better skin texture and stronger resistance to UV rays than those who drank significantly few flavonols.

5. Blueberries
Blueberries are rich in Vitamin C, which help in easy circulation of blood. Blueberries also contain certain minerals which help control the anti-aging process. High in potassium, these berries help fight puffiness.

6. Aloe Vera juice
Aloe vera juice is excellent if you want younger-looking skin. Have 30 ml aloe vera juice diluted with 100 ml water early morning on empty stomach. And after 20-30 minutes you can have your regular breakfast.

7. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are a very rich source of selenium, a mineral that works very well with Vitamin E to stop oxidative stress and cell damage caused by free radicals; thus, slowing down the aging process. But should be eaten in moderation (two nuts a day) because of its high fat content.

8. Spinach
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, people who ate the most leafy greens had half as many skin tumors over 11 years as those who ate the least. The folate in these veggies, which helps maintain and repair DNA, may reduce the likelihood of cancer-cell growth.

9. Sweet Potatoes
They're loaded with vitamin C, which smoothes out wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that volunteers who consumed 4 milligrams of C (about half a small sweet potato) daily for 3 years decreased the appearance of wrinkles by 11 percent.

10. Cooked Tomatoes
Lycopene, the phytochemical that makes tomatoes red, helps eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. Cooking tomatoes helps concentrate its lycopene levels, so tomato sauce, tomato paste, and even ketchup pack on the protection. So does a hunk of lycopene-rich watermelon.

11. Flaxseeds
These little seeds offer a payload of omega-3 fatty acids, which erase spots and iron out fine lines. The British Journal of Nutrition reported that participants in one study who downed about half a teaspoon of omega-3s in 6 weeks experienced significantly less irritation and redness, along with better-hydrated skin.

11 TYPES OF FOODS THAT MAKE YOU AGE

1. Foods that disturb water balance
Dehydration causes drying of the skin. Wrinkling is a common side effect of lack of moisture in the skin. Dehydration and acne are interlinked because drying of skin and dead skin cells coming together cause acne.

2. Excess salt
Excess salt retains additional fluid in the body causing swelling and a puffy look to the skin. The skin texture is spoilt on prolonged salt abuse. Commercially salted foods (table salt), brined/canned foods, processed products are the potential sources of salt to the body.

3. Excess caffeine
Caffeine is a known stimulant which increase the cortisol production in the body and enhances the ageing process by thinning the skin. This dehydrates the skin and even leads to wrinkling. In addition, caffeine is a diuretic which further increases the risk of dehydration. So beware when you decide to go for an additional helping of coffee, tea or chocolates too!

4. Alcohol
Alcohol inhibits the Anti-Diuretic Hormone secretion thus causing dehydration. Furthermore, it also causes vasodilatation, which then leads to excess water loss through the skin. This is also known to be a contributing factor to acute phases of psoriasis as per the American Academy of Dermatology.

5. Foods with high glycemic load
These foods cause drastic fluctuations in the blood sugar. This leads to excess secretion of insulin and androgens during the high and low bouts respectivel. A major reason to contribute to surplus sebum production, enhanced skin cell division and aggregation of dead skin cells - leading to acne.

6. Excess sugar and use of artificial sweeteners, colours, flavours
These chemicals lodge into our systems and are difficult to flush out of our body. Overuse and inability to flush them out in time could be the pre-cursor for free radical production.

7. Aerated beverages
Aerated drinks can be nightmarish for the skin. Their caffeine content makes them the villains for skin health.

8. Processed foods
Refined or processed foods (and flours) and their products, canned and sweetened fruits and juices are low in fiber content, thus increasing the glycemic load. Moreover the processed foods are often high in their salt/sodium content. As a by-product of processing, these also lose the nutrients of the parent food products important for skin health.

9. Foods that enhance free-radical production
Free radicals are known to disrupt the skin's structure by destroying collagen and elastin; the fibres that support the skin structure. They also cause damage at the cellular level by disturbing the DNA structure.

10. Fried foods and hydrogenated fat
Excess heat application like during frying of foods and production of hydrogenated fat (margarine) leads to oxidation of fatty acids and destruction of anti-oxidant nutrients like vitamin E, omega-3 fats present in the oils/fat. Generation of trans-fatty acids encourages free radical production by fueling the oxidation process. So next time you think margarine is healthier to butter...you'll remember reading this!

11. Genetically Modified Foods
Genetically Modified Foods cause many health problems including infertility, immune dysregulation, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system. These all lead to accelerated aging not only of the skin, but vital organs which affect critical hormones in the body.

Crash diets
Crash diets can also affect skin health through all the 3 mechanisms discussed before. Dehydration is a side effect of crash dieting. Studies suggest that consuming lot of water throughout this phase barely helps and this is because body doesn't retain water due to nutritional deprivation and lack of balanced meals.

Crash diets are known to cause dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar levels, no wonder acnes are so common amongst anorexics and bulemics. Skin requires antioxidant nutrients (Vitamins A, C, E, zinc, selenium, etc.) that scavenge the free radicals. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology (Feb, 2005) testifies that long term vitamins C and E intake is linked with reduced incidence of sunburns from exposure to UVB radiation. These antioxidant vitamins help protect against DNA damage by protecting the skin structure. Crash diets are known to cause nutrient deficiencies and thereby the lack of antioxidants too.


Natasha Longo has a master's degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.

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