We all know that our skin changes as we age. It loses firmness, radiance and suppleness. In addition to using creams, applying sunscreen and drinking lots of water, what else can you do to keep your skin healthy?
Diet is extremely important. You probably already know that you should eat fruits and veggies, and maybe avoid dairy to keep your skin clear and radiant. But what foods out there actually help your skin stay firm? In the land of retinol and tightening serums, there is still a lot we can change with our diets to provide just as many benefits as a pricey cosmetic.
Elastin and collagen are the key components to keep skin looking youthful. Leslie Baumann, a Miami Beach Dermatologist, says that elastin is what makes “youthful skin snap back when you press it.” Collagen is also essential because it supports healthy skin texture. Unfortunately, both of these components in our skin break down as we grow older and are exposed to the elements. Read on to find the top 10 foods that help support production of elastin and collagen. Here's to happy and healthy skin!
Red vegetables such as peppers, beets and tomatoes have something in common: a powerful antioxidant known as lycopene. Lycopene is crucial for protecting the skin from the damaging elements and supporting natural collagen production.
2Nuts & Seeds
Incorporating nuts and seeds into your diet provides more than one benefit for your skin. To help support natural collagen production within your body, you need protein. In particular, lysine and proline are important amino acids in collagen. Egg whites and lean meats are great sources of protein, but nuts also give the body lysine—a great option for those who don’t consume animal products.
Seeds and nuts are also an excellent source of vitamin E, another great antioxidant that will protect against free radicals.
Oysters are one of the best natural sources of zinc. This essential element is known for its ability to help promote clearer, healthier and younger-looking skin. Not only that, but oysters are packed with vitamins and minerals that are great for your overall health. Use this as an excuse to go out for more seafood!
Garlic is known for its wealth of health benefits. It makes a difference in your skin due to its sulfur content. Sulfur has been referred to as the “beauty mineral” because it plays an important role in collagen production, which promotes healthier, younger-looking skin. Sulfur also helps to promote the production of new skin cells and support the removal of toxins to maintain a youthful glow.
5Dark Green Leafy Veggies
Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and kale are known for their skin-supporting properties. These leafy greens contain vitamin C, one of the most important vitamins for your skin. Vitamin C does a number of things to promote youthful skin. It helps to stabilize the enzymes responsible for breaking down collagen while providing antioxidant protection against free radicals that also weaken collagen.
Along with dark leafy greens, adding citrus fruit to your diet can further boost your vitamin C levels. This important vitamin provides amazing antioxidant benefits and supports collagen production by working with lysine and proline, the amino acids mentioned earlier. Vitamin C helps them convert to collagen. Include limes, lemons and grapefruits in your diet to keep skin healthy and smooth.
If you haven’t heard by now, carrots and other orange veggies are rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A is popular within the beauty industry for its effects on protecting and repairing collagen. If you can help prevent its breakdown in the first place, there’s less ground to cover when trying to produce more. Sweet potatoes are another great option for orange veggies.
Recent research has led experts to believe that tea may help promote healthy collagen production. Green, bladderwrack and pomegranate are all great options for skin-boosting teas, but white tea in particular offers the strongest benefits. A recent Kingston University study found that white tea delivers superior protection against enzymes that destroy collage and elastin. This protection comes primarily from its phenolic acid content, a polyphenol important for maintaining healthy tissues. And of course, tea is loaded with antioxidants.
Collagen and elastin are part of the skin’s underlying structure. Naturally, healthy cells have a stronger structure. To support healthy cells, eat fish as a regular part of your diet. The high omega-3 fatty acid content in fish supports the fatty membranes around skin cells that are responsible for keeping them safe. Therefore, omega-3 fatty acids support levels of collagen and elastin as part of stronger skin cells. Tuna and salmon are great sources of this fatty acid.
This one is about what NOT to eat. You’ve heard countless times to curb your sugar intake, but if you have younger-looking skin in mind, here’s why. Sugar speeds up the aging process when it forms advanced glycation end products (AGEs), a molecule that can break down collagen and elastin. If it helps you avoid a sweet dessert, think of how it will impact your skin in the long run.
If you’re overwhelmed when shopping for cosmetics that claim to give you younger-looking skin, simply start from within. When you add these foods into your regular diet—and stay away from sugar!—you are supporting healthy skin from the inside out. Time to get out your grocery list!
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Your friends at Swanson
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Sources: allure.com, newbeauty.com, healthyeating.sfgate.com, livestrong.com