THE "ANTI-AGING" DIET
Many research studies to date have reported that in certain populations with healthier diet, fewer lines and wrinkles, less pigmentary changes, and less skin atrophy and dryness were observed. These findings led them to further speculate that diet plays a huge role in the appearance of aging skin.
Though current understanding of skin aging remains incomplete, it is thought that oxidative stress (sun, pollution, smoking), the activation of inflammatory pathways, and glycation are major contributors in accelerating skin aging. Glycation is a non-enzymatic modification of lipids and proteins after sugar exposure. This can subsequently impact on collagen and elastin structure, thereby altering skin elasticity and vascular functions. Oxidation, inflammation, and glycation are closely related processes and each of these can be affected by diet.
How do we combat skin aging with food?
Introducing antioxidants in our diet is a great way to boost our body's ability to fight against free radical damage. Research has shown that daily tomato paste ingestion for 10 weeks improved the minimal dose of UVR required to induce erythema. Tomato paste is rich in antioxidants. Other great antioxidants can be obtained from raw cacao powder, blueberries, and green tea. Interestingly, while high antioxidant foods are beneficial, high-dose antioxidant supplements have not shown benefits. So start incorporating antioxidants-rich foods in your daily diet! Check out my smoothie recipe for glowing skin below.
Inflammatory products circulating in our bloodstream are thought to be partly caused by imbalances in gut microbiome. Diet, alongside genetics and other environmental factors, serves as a foundation for healthy gut microbiome. Introducing probiotics, through fermented and cultured foods (with live microbes), and fiber-rich foods (i.e. fruits and vegetables) is a great way to support gut health. Further, adding anti-inflammatory ingredients such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, and omega-3 fatty acids to your diet is a must to reduce inflammation, that can accelerate skin aging. Read more about how gut microbiome affects skin health and appearance here.
One important strategy to limit glycation is by limiting hyperglycemia. Opting for food sources that are low in glycemic index, such as oatmeals, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and most fruits, and avoiding processed, refined sugars are really important for skin health, as well as general health. Other ingredients such as garlic, cinammon, rosemary, tomato paste, and cloves have anti-glycation properties and are great seasonings! Preventing over-consumption of high fat and protein meat products and high fat cheeses is also important to limit glycation.
I hope you find these tips helpful. I am a big believer that aside from having a good skincare regime, nurturing our skin through foods we eat is equally, if not more, important, in continuing efforts to fight against the signs of aging. Check out more articles on the link between nutrition and skin health here.
Till next time,
The Skin Press
Katta et al. (2020). PMID: 32196147
Kim et al. (2017). doi: 10.20463/jenb.2017.0027
Schagen et al. (2012). doi: 10.4161/derm.22876