Poor nutrition is one of the biggest causes of premature ageing along with chronic sun exposure, smoking, pollution, dehydration and sleep deprivation. From my personal observations, I noticed that most leading health experts agree that 80-90% of skin ageing is thought to be caused by diet and lifestyle. Prevention is the best and most effective way to work against extrinsic ageing caused by these environmental factors.
A balanced nutritional diet rich in hydrating foods, high in antioxidants, and low in glycotoxins (AGEs) can influence the way our skin ages and the way we look at the food its purpose. Mother Nature provided us with all the essentials to thrive and age gracefully, so why not take advantage of it?
There are three ways where you can ascertain ether the foods you eat are building healthy skin or destroying it:
Low in AGEs
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) contribute to increased oxidant stress and inflammation, which can cause collagen and elastin protein fibre to cross-link, rendering them non-functional. This process is called glycation. It can also decrease circulation and increase “free radical” generation when a sugar molecule bonds to a protein or lipid molecule. These adverse effects can make the skin thinner, less supple and more wrinkled.
So what are these dietary influencers that cause such havoc? There are exogenous dAGEs that are formed when high fat/high protein foods are heated. Meat is one of the worst foods for dAGE consumption, especially after being grilled, fried or roasted. And there are endogenous AGEs formed in the body when the diet is high in refined sugar. All this takes us to conclude that meat, grilled fatty foods and refined sugar are not the foods we are focusing on in our beauty diet.
So what are the beauty foods?
Beauty foods are fruit, colourful vegetables, greens and leaves, grains, nuts (in moderation), seeds and botanicals. All these delicious and nutritious foods have low AGE count even after cooking—the higher percentage of these foods in our diet, the more dramatic the results.
High in antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that may help delay or even prevent cell damage in the body. Our blood’s oxidation process can damage cell membranes and other structures such as cellular proteins, lipids and DNA. Free radicals formed by oxidative damage speed up the ageing process and may increase the risk of developing many chronic illnesses and health problems. Some researchers suggest that free radical damage to cells leads to the pathological changes associated with ageing. Eating a diet rich in antioxidant foods helps prevent illnesses and works as an internal skincare regime.
Antioxidants are present mostly in plant foods. We can ascertain that foods that we eat high in beautifying antioxidants by using ORAC values. Most of the top ORAC foods are spices and botanicals, followed by delicious, colourful fruit and vegetables.
Our skin has a limited capacity to get water from the outside. The primary skin cell that makes up the epidermis in the skin is called keratinocyte. It produces a tough protein called keratin. It gives skin much of its resistance to physical wear and tear and makes skin waterproof. Our skin is designed to keep water out, not to keep it in. That is why internal hydration is vital. Plant foods are rich in structured water which is rich in hydrating salts, minerals and powerful antioxidants. Structured water found in fruit and vegetables closely mimics the fluid found in our bodies; therefore, it provides the best hydration for our cells!
The bottom line
As we figured, the beauty diet is about nutritionally dense plant-based foods, and It goes very closely with a whole foods plant-based diet, that is so great for your health. In fact, the Global Burden of Disease Study presented the data showing that the number 1 dietary risk factor for death was low fruit intake along with low whole-grain intake and too much sodium. This proves that improved nutrition focused on a higher intake of beauty foods like fruit could profoundly impact health outcomes worldwide!
So which foods are best for our skin? With my TOP 35 BEAUTY FOODS guideline, you can have a peek on the most popular and convenient beauty foods.
The beauty diet is not about restrictions but about the abundance of beautifying foods in everyday life. With my guidelines and recipes, you would learn how to adapt most of the functional beauty foods into your lifestyle. I’m going to show you how you can eat your way to fabulous ageless skin!
- Schagen SK, Zampeli VA, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):298-307. doi:10.4161/derm.22876
- Uribarri J, Woodruff S, Goodman S, et al. Advanced glycation end products in foods and a practical guide to their reduction in the diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110(6):911-16.e12. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2010.03.018
- Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010;4(8):118-126. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.70902
- Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, The Lancet, Volume 393, Issue 10184, 2019