Our skin gets its nutrition and protection both from bloodstream and from topical creams. The quantity and quality of nutrients supplied by the bloodstream to the skin are affected by our diet. When nutrients from the food we eat get absorbed into our bloodstream, they are also delivered to our skin cells and keep our skin nourished.
Not all food are created equal. Recent researches found that most of the food which are beneficial to our body are also beneficial to our skin and vice versa. Skin, as the largest organ in our body, is vulnerable due to the oxidizing effects from our environment and from inflammation. The oxidative stress depletes our skin’s antioxidants; the cumulative effects from the oxidative stress result a thinner, drier, less elastic, and less radiant skin. Wrinkles, sags, and brown spots eventually form, as the signs of aging.
We must continuously add antioxidants back from inside (nutrition) and/or from outside (topical creams), in order to slow down skin aging. Food can make a difference. Several recent researches conducted with middle aged or older European women, American women, and Japanese women all indicate that certain food can reduce wrinkles, increase skin elasticity, and increase skin hydration.
Types of food slow down skin aging:
- Vegetables: leafy greens, spinach, eggplant, asparagus, celery, carrots, onion, leek, garlic
- Fruits: berries, grapes, melons, apples and pears, prunes
- Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, soy
- Nuts, cocoa, olive oil
- Tea and water, especially green tea
We need antioxidants to neutralize the harmful effects of oxidative stress and free radicals leading to skin aging. Food which are rich in antioxidants fulfills this gap. A recent study found that a high intake of green and yellow vegetables significantly protects against wrinkles in the crow’s foot area around the eyes.
Flavonoids contain in cocoa, green tea, soy, berries, or other fruits, are both strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. It is only natural these food improves dermal blood circulation, slows down skin aging and reduce wrinkles.
Types of food speed up skin aging:
- Red meat, especially processed meat
- Whole milk (not skim milk, yogurt), butter, margarine
- Sugary snacks, sugary drinks, potatoes
Saturated fat promotes inflammation, and inflammation contributes to skin aging. It is no surprise that foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol are detrimental to skin, since they increase skin inflammation and restrict blood flow to the skin. Foods contain simple carb such as white bread and potatoes and foods contain high amount of sugar are not only bad for our cardiovascular and immune systems but also bad for our skin. Excess sugar in our bloodstream increases cross-linking of collagen and elastin in the skin, and this lead to skin wrinkles and dull skin tones.
- Purba M. et al. Skin Wrinkling: Can Food Make a Difference? J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 , 20(1):71-80.2
- Heinrich U, et al. Green Tea Polyphenols Provide Photoprotection, Increase Microcirculation, and Modulate Skin Properties of Women. J Nutr. 2011,141(6):1202-8.3
- Nagata C et al. Association of Dietary Fat, Vegetables and Antioxidant Micronutrients with Skin Ageing in Japanese Women. Br J Nutr. 2010, 103(10):1493-8.
- Meinke MC et al. Bioavailability of natural carotenoids in human skin compared to blood. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2010, 76(2):269-74.
- Neukam K, et al. Consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa acutely increases microcirculation in human skin. Eur J Nutr. 2007;46:53–6.