As we age, many of us will start to consider cosmetic surgeries such as Botox or expensive anti-aging creams. Sometimes they can work well, but sometimes there’s also unwanted or unnatural side-effects – yes, we’ve all seen that person who has had a bit too much botox done on their face. Aside from potential side-effects or the potential expense that is involved, relying on cosmetic procedures does not address underlying nutrient deficiencies or how to improve the quality of our skin from the inside out – this is where the importance of nutrition comes into play.
What is Younger Skin?
Aging is often a result of cell division, the sun, oxidization, and our diet. Limiting the adverse effects of these things by eating the right vitamins and nutrients is essential for maintaining younger skin, along with adapting to a healthy lifestyle. Common traits for younger-looking skin are suppleness, plumpness, few deep-set wrinkles, blemish-free, and even skin tone.
While these are aesthetic concerns and don’t always tie into your overall health, your skin can also show signs of vitamin deficiencies, difficulty sleeping, and stress as well.
Watch Out for these Common Causes of Skin Damage
- Sugars like glucose and fructose attach to proteins. As a result, they are susceptible to binding with other proteins, lipids, and DNA. When they bond to other fats and proteins, they damage them and the surrounding tissues or skin, creating advanced glycosylation end products (AGEs). This process speeds up cell death, accelerating the process of aging.
- Inactivity: Exercise promotes blood flow to the skin and throughout the body to transport nutrients. An elevated heart rate pushes blood to the surface of the skin, raising healthier skin cells to the surface.
- Dehydration means less water can be dedicated to your skin. Instead, the more important organs like the heart and liver are prioritized.
- Smoking leads to more wrinkles and lines because carbon monoxide in cigarettes reduces circulation in the capillaries around the mouth, making it difficult to get nutrients to these areas.
- Excessive and unprotected sun exposure cause the development of free radicals which harass our skin. Free radicals do this by taking electrons from stable molecules which as a result become free radicals, setting off a chain reaction causing a cascade of skin damage.
- Stress can damage our DNA by shortening the telomeres in our cells. These are vital for producing protein propery and if the telomeres are damaged too much cells are damaged and die. Good cellular health is the basis for beautiful skin, and if your cells are destroyed at their foundation, it’s hard to get younger skin.
Foods with Vitamins and Nutrients for Younger Skin
Many different vitamins and nutrients can help skin health; here are 11 foods to give you younger looking skin.
Spinach is high in vitamin E, a protector of cell membranes like those found on our skin. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant which neutralizes free radicals, the main contributor to skin damage and skin aging. Additionally, nerve damage is common in those with Vitamin E deficiencies.[iv] Spinach is also a great source of:
- Alpha Lipoic Acid,
- Vitamin A,
- Vitamin C,
- Omega 3’s.
Carrots are a significant source of Beta-carotene evident by their orange glow. Beta-carotene helps those sensitive to the sun, a common cause of skin damage, while people with the hardened skin condition, Scleroderma, are usually beta carotene-deficient. Furthermore, Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and builds collagen to help with skin elasticity and skin structure, reducing wrinkles for supple skin.[v] [vi]Carrots are also a source of:
- Vitamin A,
- Healthy fats.
- Oranges are filled with Vitamin C (necessary for producing Collagen) and the production of anti-stress hormones that counteract the process of aging from stress. It also promotes the healing of wounds and burns and is an antioxidant helping your skin to recover from scars and irritation on a cellular level. Oranges are also filled with water content to keep our skin hydrated.[vii]
White Beans have 29% of your daily requirement of potassium per 100 grams. Potassium regulates the transfer of nutrients to your cells while maintaining water balance and cellular integrity. Essentially, potassium keeps skin cells hydrated and healthy. Also, those with potassium deficiencies sometimes have dry skin, and acne. Therefore, white beans are effective at keeping skin healthy and naturally moisturized.[viii] They are also a good source of:
- Vitamin E,
- Omega 3’s,
Lentils are high in zinc, which promotes the healing of wounds to avoid scars as well as preventing acne and regulating the activity of oil glands which contribute to glowing skin that isn’t greasy. It is also good for collagen formation and preventing the formation of free radicals. This means that lentils ensure more supple skin while preventing damage from sun radiation and other irritants.[ix] Lentils are also a good source of:
- with some Vitamin C.
Flaxseed Oil is a source of Alpha Linolenic acid which is good for reducing blood sugar, while also restoring the antioxidant properties of Vitamin E and Vitamin C effectively stopping free radicals as well AGEs from further destruction. Flaxseed oil is good at protecting skin from invaders to prevent damage on a cellular level. [x] [xi] For younger skin, it also has:
- Vitamin E,
- Healthy fats,
- A significant amount of Omega-3s.
Sweet Potatoes have almost 3 days of your recommended requirement of Vitamin A in just 100 grams. Vitamin A is an effective antioxidant, while it also replaces our skin cells with healthier ones, maintaining a healthy glow and texture for our skin.[xii] Sweet Potatoes are also a source of:
- Vitamin C.
Salmon is a great source of Omega 3s for producing a youthful glow, while it’s also associated with reducing inflammation from chemicals and reinforcing cell membranes for plumper skin.[xiii] Salmon also promotes younger skin with:
- Vitamin B,
- Vitamin C.
Avocados have a lot of healthy Monosaturated fats which keeps skin hydrated, and absorbs vitamins and nutrients, giving your skin a plump glow.[xiv] Avocados also have:
- Vitamin A,
- Vitamin C,
Asparagus is filled with Folate a nutrient known to help reduce stress. This is important for decelerating the aging process of your body and your skin.[xv] Asparagus is also filled with:
- Vitamin A,
- Vitamin C,
- Vitamin E,
- Some Omega 3s.
- Bananas are good fruits to eat before bed to get a good night sleep, stopping baggy eyes and other health problems. Bananas contain significant amounts of potassium and magnesium which helps you to relax, as well as amino acid L-tryptophan which is converted to serotonin and melatonin the hormone that helps us sleep.[xvi]
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.
[i] Balch P. Prescription For Nutritional Healing. 1st ed. London: Penguin; 2011:18-44, 155-164.
[ii] Coleman N. Natural ways to keep your skin looking younger. Mail Online. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-23397/Natural-ways-skin-looking-younger.html. Accessed April 5, 2017.
[iii] Gregolre C. 5 Ways Stress Accelerates The Aging Process. The Huffington Post. 2013. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/11/stress-aging-process_n_3047000.html. Accessed April 5, 2017.
[iv] Balch P. Prescription For Nutritional Healing. 1st ed. London: Penguin; 2011:18-44, 155-164.
[v] Beta-carotene. University of Maryland Medical Center. 2017. Available at: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/betacarotene. Accessed April 5, 2017.
[vi] Coleman N. Natural ways to keep your skin looking younger. Mail Online. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-23397/Natural-ways-skin-looking-younger.html. Accessed April 5, 2017.
[vii] Balch P. Prescription For Nutritional Healing. 1st ed. London: Penguin; 2011:18-44, 155-164.
[xi] Alpha-linolenic acid. University of Maryland Medical Center. 2017. Available at: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/alphalinolenic-acid. Accessed April 5, 2017.
[xii] Bouchez C. Want Healthy Skin? Feed It Well. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/want-healthy-skin-feed-well#2. Accessed April 5, 2017.
[xiv] Jennings, MS, RD K, Gardner, MD S. 7 of the Best Anti-Aging Foods for Your Skin. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/beauty/skin-glow-13/anti-aging-skin-foods. Accessed April 5, 2017.
[xv] Budni J, Zomkowski A, Engel D et al. Folic acid prevents depressive-like behavior and hippocampal antioxidant imbalance induced by restraint stress in mice. Experimental Neurology. 2013;240:112-121. doi:10.1016/j.expneurol.2012.10.024.
[xvi] Haiken M. 5 Surprising Foods That Help You Sleep. Forbes. Forbescom. 2012. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2012/06/30/5-surprising-foods-that-help-you-sleep/#4fb2b8ce74d2. Accessed April 5, 2017.
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