Foods can play a role in triggering inflammation, oxidative stress, and glycation of proteins and lipids that can be damaging. Read more...
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How does what we eat impact the texture and health of our skin?
There are three ways our diet can impact our skin. Foods can play a role in triggering inflammation, oxidative stress, and glycation of proteins and lipids that can be damaging.
Some foods are known to trigger inflammation in the body. The inflammatory response to these foods can activate certain enzymes responsible for triggering a breakdown of collagen. This can impact the quality and structure of the skin.
Glycation is a process whereby sugars attach to various structural molecules in the skin. The accumulation of these products called AGEs (advanced glycation end products) can alter the ability of collagen and elastic fibers to provide structural support for the skin.
Oxidative stress on cells from free radicals can also trigger a breakdown in supportive elements of skin such as collagen and elastic fibers and impair the immune response in the skin needed to protect our skin from allergens and other environmental insults.
Can you detox your skin via your diet?
Antioxidants in our diet such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids can reduce the damage triggered by free radicals. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, carotenoids, and fiber can serve an anti-inflammatory impact on our skin. And, a low glycemic index can reduce the exposure of our body to excess sugars and their damaging impact on the structural components of the skin.
Are there foods that are good for your skin?
In studies that review diets and skin wrinkle assessments, vegetables in general have been shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in addition to leading to fewer new wrinkles in sun-exposed sites. Some studies have actually specified green and yellow vegetables. You simply cannot go wrong with leafy greens. They are great sources of carotenoids, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. Carotenoids are vitamin A derivatives with proven benefits to protect the skin against harmful UV rays that cause the signs of premature aging of the skin such as age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, and loss of elasticity.
Fish, such as halibut, mackerel, salmon, or tuna, contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation caused by UV rays. It is thought that fish lowers prostaglandin E2 levels to prevent collagen breakdown that leads to wrinkles. Some studies have shown that in combination with vitamins E and C, omega-3 fatty acids can promote collagen synthesis.
Are there foods that are not necessarily good for your skin?
It has been repeatedly shown in studies that a diet with a high glycemic index is considered ‘inflammatory’. When you think about inflammation and the skin consider how an army of cells in the skin looking for a target will behave! Inflammatory cells are ‘reactive’ cells. They are cells looking for a ‘fight’. If there is no infection or outside cause, those cells are going to attack your healthy cells and collagen. Damaging our healthy cells can lead to freckling and discoloration in the skin. Damaging the collagen and elastic fibers in the skin will lead to a tissue paper-like wrinkling of the skin and deep wrinkles. A diet with a low glycemic index has also been shown to fight the early signs of aging.
Alcohol intake can also negatively impact the skin. Alcohol can reduce the presence of vitamins and nutrients in the skin that serve an antioxidant or anti-inflammatory role. This leaves the skin susceptible to the damaging effect of inflammation and oxidative stress or damage to cells.