Look at yourself in the mirror, do you see new wrinkles? You probably already know that staying out in the sun too long is bad for your skin, as is smoking and exposure to chemicals and pollutant in the air. And overexposure may accelerate skin aging and eventually lead to skin cancer if you’re not careful.
Skin aging is inevitable. It is characterized by thinning of the skin and loss of elasticity- observed as wrinkles, loss of moisture and other imperfections. We can try to protect our skin using sunscreen, but if you live in Dubai, avoiding the sun completely is definitely out of the question. We also cannot control air pollution, but we can definitely take care of our diet to slow down the process of skin aging.
Here are 4 eating habits you should consider for wrinkle-free skin:
Habit #1 – Pump Up Your Protein Intake
Protein is necessary for retaining the integrity of the skin. Some amino acids, the building blocks of protein, help speed the repair and regeneration of skin cells and collagen, which is the protein that gives your skin as a structural support. Collagen is what makes your skin look firm and supple. However, as you age, your skin starts losing collagen as it degrades faster and so your skin becomes thinner and loses its elasticity and firmness. These structural changes in your skin are usually seen as wrinkles. Some amino acids like threonine are needed to produce the protein collagen. Threonine is an essential amino acid that your body cannot make so you should get it from foods. Threonine-rich foods include chicken, beef, and shellfish.
Make It Work: Increase your protein intakes to support collagen production. Make sure you have a good quality protein source like chicken, beef or fish for both lunch and dinner.
Habit#2 – More Green Veggies
Green veggies are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals, some unstable molecules that harm cellular structure and believed to be number one culprit of skin aging. Free radicals are usually formed during metabolism and several factors were shown to promote excessive formation like sun exposure, cigarette smoke, pollution, dietary habits, and inflammation. However, as you age, your skin antioxidant defense system becomes less effective to fight those free radicals resulting in skin aging! Therefore you should boost your antioxidant intake from your diet to help your body protect from those nasty molecules that will harm your skin.
Green veggies are also rich sources of vitamin C, an antioxidant that is needed for the production of collagen. Studies showed that consuming vitamin-C rich foods on daily basis prevent from wrinkles!
Make It Work: Make sure you have some green veggies for both lunch and dinner. Eat more broccoli, spinach, and kale; these are ranked among vegetables with the highest content of antioxidants!
Habit#3 -Avoid ExcessSugar
Did you know that sugar speeds skin aging? Excess sugar in your body attaches to protein to form toxic molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). The formation of AGEs is another culprit of skin aging. So the more sugar you eat, the more AGEs your body produces. As just mentioned, collagen the protein that keeps your skin firm and elastic is the most abundant protein in your body. Once sugar attaches to collagen, it becomes rigid and inflexible and therefore your skin is more likely to sag and develop wrinkles- two things you don’t want have!
Make It Work: Remove refined sugar from your coffee or tea. Try avoiding sources of hidden sugar including processed foods, cereals, granola bars and most low-fat products like low-fat fruit yogurts!
Habit#4 – Drink More Water
Hydration is a key to keep your skin wrinkle-free. If your skin is not getting enough water, the lack of hydration will result in drying and tightening of the skin. Dry skin is more prone to wrinkling. The minimum amount of daily water intake is 2 liters which translate into 8 glasses of water. Yet, water intake recommendations vary from person to person depending on weight, sun exposure and activity levels. Multiply your weight (kg) by 35 to know the amount of water you should be drinking every day (in mL). For example, if your weight is 60kg, you should aim for 2100 mL per day (65*35).
Make It Work: Make sure you drink at least 5 small bottles of water a day. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to stay hydrated!
Masaki, Hitoshi. “Role of antioxidants in the skin: anti-aging effects.” Journal of Dermatological Science 58.2 (2010): 85-90.
Boyera N, Galey I, Bernard BA. Effect of vitamin C and its derivative on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts. Int J Cosmet Sci. 1998. 20(3): 151-8.
Cosgrove, Maeve C., et al. “Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 86.4 (2007): 1225-1231.
Baynes, John W. “The role of AGEs in aging: causation or correlation.” Experimental gerontology 36.9 (2001): 1527-1537.Written by Lauren Jacobsen, Nutrition Director