True or false? Your diet affects the aging of your skin. Answer: True!

An article from Prime Journal by Howard A. Epstein, PhD, titled “The Effect of Diet and Nutrition on the Skin” showed that diet greatly affected the ability of the body to defend itself from oxidative stress.

Our skin naturally produces compounds that protect us from free radical damage. Oxidative stress UV rays, however, break down the antioxidant compounds, so the body has to produce more to replace them. Wrinkling, acne, hyperpigmentation, dry skin and poor wound healing are just some of the long-term effects from oxidative stress. The body needs many compounds such as vitamin C, retinol, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc to fight against skin damage and aging.

A study was conducted among individuals from various ethnic groups, from different countries, to examine if there was any relationship between their diet and the condition of their skin. The study showed that a diet high in green leafy vegetables, fruits, and legumes gave great protection against oxidative skin damage. Plant foods often possess anti-inflammatory properties, and have been shown to boost the immune system as well as replenish antioxidants. Foods such as tea, apples, onions, garlic and eggplant were found to be associated with reduced wrinkle formation, whereas a diet high in dairy products, fat, meats and sugar was found to be associated with wrinkle development.

Olive oil, legumes, fish, vegetables and cereal foods were some of the foods eaten by the group with the best skin aging profile. Mice studies have also shown that a diet high in green tea could inhibit cell damage from UVB radiation, preventing the formation of cancerous skin cells and regulating cell function at the DNA level.

Our choice of foods have been shown to impact the health of the body as a whole, but it is less well understood that skin aging and damage can be affected as well. Rather than expensive lotions and treatments, the secret to a youthful look may well be no further than what’s on your plate!

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Text by Dr. Liow Tiong Sin Consultant Aesthetic Physician and Executive Director of BWMC at http://cosmedmd.blogspot.com

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