Nutrition and Skin Health

Everyone agrees that healthy skin makes everyone look younger, healthier and better. The most important factor was thought to be genetics, but evidence demonstrates that genetics is a small part compared to environmental hazards, the worst being excess sun exposure and smoking. So what an you do to keep your skin from aging? A healthy lifestyle is the answer, and nutrition plays an important role.

Youthful skin appearance is skin that has clarity, a good color with some pink hue for those with light skin (which comes from a good blood supply), no pigmentation spots or wrinkles or sagging. More subtly the skin is thicker, smoother, firmer and brighter. Anything that helps to achieve those goals should be at the top of your list, and nutrition is definitely a factor.

Wrinkles, fine lines and sagging are all the result of collagen and elastin loss and the skin losing the ability to hydrate itself as we age, meaning it is thinner and more leathery. Good news is that in addition to proper skin care and reasonable sun avoidance, tweaking your diet can slow your skin’s aging process. Nutrient rich diets can definitely slow the aging process by producing firmer, better hydrated skin. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids as well as high in Vitamin E and C and other anti-oxidants also can produce more collagen. Knowing what not to eat and drink is also important. Alcohol is on the top of the list because it dehydrates skin, and as skin becomes drier, leathery and less elastic, it will begin to sag.

A good night’s sleep is also crucial to skin health. When one does not get enough sleep, the body produces excess cortisol, a hormone that actually breaks down skin cells. Cortisol is catabolic, meaning it breaks down tissue, as opposed to anabolic, which builds tissue. Rest helps provide your body with more human growth hormone, which in turn helps skin remain supple and elastic resulting in less premature wrinkling. Growth hormone helps virtually everything, which makes it a subject of it’s own, but it definitely helps health and appearance.

By improving one’s diet, cutting back on alcohol and increasing sleep can make one look
2-3 years younger.

The worse one’s diet is the more sallow one’s complexion will be. A good diet is mostly a common sense diet. Eat mostly the healthy fats, which are unsaturated fats or monosaturated fats—and no transfats, which is a tall feat because transfats are in many processed foods. They are called many things including partially-hydrated fats. There’s evidence that people with diets high in refined sugars get a dull, yellow cast to their skin. If it were possible, one would be better served to stay away from most all simple, especially refined, carbohydrates such as sugar, white bread, white rice, deserts, and all but whole grain pasta, and for rice, use brown rice.

So what is a nutrient rich diet? The answer is lots of leafy green vegetables and foods rich in fatty acids such as avocado, nuts, seeds, etc. A good description is to “eat the rainbow,” as the pigments in various vegetables are nutrients and antioxidants. Eat 7 to 8 vegetables a day, even if small helpings. Essential fatty acids help to regulate cellular function and have anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate skin redness. Anti-oxidant rich foods like blueberries may also help even out your complexion by reducing hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage to the skin’s DNA. Resveratrol is an interesting nutrient from grape skin that protects DNA and turns on our longevity gene, called the Sirtuin gene.

Exercise also revitalizes and adds radiance to your complexion by increasing oxygen flow to skin cells, which results in better tissue health. Resistance exercising actually increases your growth hormone.

Therefore, loading up on healthy foods and exercising at least three times per week may get you looking 2-4 years younger. It will usually take a month or more to see those results.

To give your skin a fresh boost, view our list of facial treatments.





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