The pursuit of healthy-looking beautiful skin is something that many people engage in. As we get older, our skin shows more and more signs of aging, such as fine wrinkles, sallowness, dryness, a loss of elasticity and age spots. Damage caused by UV rays from the sun can cause premature aging of the skin, as well as leading to skin cancer. Products and supplements that can reduce skin aging are extremely popular, but there has been a push in recent years for a more whole-foods approach where these nutrients are obtained from the diet, rather than artificially supplemented. This is better for lots of reasons, including the fact that the interactions between nutrients can sometimes be just as important as the nutrients themselves.
Here are some foods you can eat for beautiful skin from inside out:
Almonds are a good source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant. UV radiation is one of the sources of oxidants that can cause damage to cells and lead to skin cancer, as well as premature skin aging.
Antioxidants are able to remove, or neutralize, these antioxidants, and so can protect the skin from UV damage.
Studies have found that when people take vitamin E supplements, this can reduce the damage caused to their skin from sun exposure. The results are mixed, however, and vitamin E may be more effective for very light skin types and when taken at the same time as other antioxidants.
2) Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are a good source of carotenes. These are responsible for the pigments we see in green, red, and yellow vegetables, and act as an antioxidant in humans, as well as promoting the production of vitamin A. Vitamin A protects the skin from UV damage because it interferes with the signaling pathways that damage the dermal collagen. Japanese women who included more vegetables in the diet were found to have lower markers of aging skin. Other sources of vitamin A include carrots, mangoes, papaya, tomatoes, and yellow corn.
3) Oily fish
Oily fish, such as herring, pilchards, salmon, trout, and mackerel can have many health benefits, and one of them is in maintaining skin health. Fish, and other marine foods, are good for your skin because they contain collagen in their skin. Collagen is a protein that is important for skin health because it maintains the structure of the skin. This reduces the sagging and sallowness associated with skin aging.
Oily fish, in particular, are good for the skin because they also contain vitamin E. So if you eat oily fish, you can obtain a high dose of both collagen and vitamin E, which will help to protect your skin from aging. Oily fish can also reduce the number of actinic keratoses, which are patches of scaly skin that result from UV damage, by as much as 28%.
4) Olive oil
Despite what many people believe, we actually need quite a high amount of fats in our diet to be healthy. Our diet should be approximately 25-30% fats, and these should be a mix of different types of lipids.
The fatty acids in olive oils are balanced, which makes it an oil that can provide you with many of the nutrients you need. Extra virgin olive oil is particularly useful because it also contains 1-2% antioxidants.
Fats are important for skin health because they provide the building blocks for skin tissue, and they can also be a source of energy for skin cells. In women, fat can increase the production of estrogen, which can also improve skin health. Using olive oil as a fat source, therefore, can provide you with the skin benefits of fats as well as the skin benefits of antioxidants.
Fruits such as oranges are a good source of vitamin C. The levels of vitamin C are lower in aged or photodamaged skin, and this may be because vitamin C is an important cofactor in collagen production. Without vitamin C, not as much collagen is produced, which will lead to the classic signs of skin aging. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and can work with vitamin E to protect the skin from UV damage. Vitamin C can also reduce melanin, which can reduce the number of age spots, and it can also increase keratin production, which is another protein that is important for maintaining skin structure. Other sources of vitamin C other fruits such as strawberries, lemons, and apples, as well as vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet peppers.
As well as being a good source of plant-based proteins, beans, and other legumes such as peas and pulses, are high in polyphenols. These are antioxidants that can help to prevent UV damage to the skin, and the resulting premature skin aging. Legumes are also protective against actinic skin damage.
The Mediterranean diet and skin health
All of the foods that have been mentioned as helping skin health can be found in the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet has been the subject of a lot of research because it increases longevity and prevents a large number of diseases.
The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, cereals, olive oil, and fish.
It is low in dairy, meat, and poultry.
This diet is mirrored by one that was found to reduce skin wrinkling. In this study, a diet that was high in vegetables, olive oil, fish, and legumes, with a low intake of butter, milk, and sugar was found to result in lower levels of skin wrinkling and less actinic skin damage. People from all over the world were recruited, who had many different diets, and this particular dietary profile was the one that reduces skin aging.
Another aspect of the Mediterranean diet is a moderate intake of wine, and this as well has been found to reduce skin aging.
In all, following a Mediterranean diet is potentially the easiest way of ensuring that your diet is helping to protect your skin from UV damage and the resultant skin aging. This will help to keep your skin looking beautiful for longer, and will also make sure that you stay healthy to enjoy it.