Aging is an inevitable process, and while we are learning to accept it, we are still looking for new and effective ways to delay it and postpone its effects as much as possible. It is worth remembering that in addition to aesthetic medicine treatments and advanced cosmetics, powerful rejuvenating agents are at our disposal… on our own plate. Because diet has a huge impact on the condition of our skin and its rate of aging!
Our menu affects the entire functioning of our body. After all, we build health, vitality, immunity, and ultimately beauty primarily by what we eat. No cream will help the skin if it is not properly hydrated, just as no cosmetic treatment will work externally as effectively as protein, vitamins and minerals provided with the diet. And what is most palatable to the skin? Water, of course, but immediately followed by good fats, proteins, vitamins and antioxidants.
Let’s start with the obligatory (and beautifying!) so-called „beauties. good fats, or essential fatty acids (EFAs). They have an anti-inflammatory effect, build the structure of cells and help retain water inside them, so they are responsible for the elasticity and proper hydration of the skin. You can find them in nuts and almonds, vegetable oils (especially flaxseed, canola and olive oil), flaxseed, avocados and sea fish. What about the other animal fats? Rather, avoid them, and certainly limit them. They are needed, but there are too many of them in our diet – as well as, unfortunately, hydrogenated, hydrogenated fats. The latter group, coming from highly processed foods, should be banned altogether!
Proteins are the building blocks of every cell in our body, therefore also of the skin. Skin-building proteins are elastin and collagen, and since the amount of these proteins in the skin slowly decreases with age, resulting in the appearance of wrinkles and loss of skin tone, it is essential to ensure their adequate supply in the diet. The most popular source of protein is meat, but it’s worth remembering that it’s not the only one – collagen-rich prosciutto, pork or veal legs, offal and pork knuckles are not among the healthiest or lightest foods we should be eating. And nutritionists recommend not eating more than half a kilogram of red meat per week! So let’s also reach for other sources of protein on a daily basis – fish and eggs, dairy products and the still underrated legumes. It is best to intermingle them with each other, as each type of legume contains a different set of amino acids needed by the skin. And the complete set of amino acids contains egg whites!
The good news is that elastin and collagen production depends not only on age, but also – to a large extent! – From what lands on our plate. Elastin production takes place with the help of vitamins – especially D, which in our climate from autumn to spring needs to be supplemented, because it is produced in the skin under the influence of UV radiation (and we don’t get enough sun in the cold months), and vitamin C, as discussed below
Vitamins of youth
The skin needs all vitamins, but there are four that it needs especially. Why should you include them in your daily diet and how to do it?
Vitamin A is the skin’s best friend. It helps it by enhancing and accelerating the processes of exfoliation and self-cleansing. The result? The skin is better circulated, brighter, radiant, smoother and more resistant to the sun – there’s a reason our grandmothers already knew to sip carrot juice before summer! However, vitamin A, or more precisely, its precursor beta-carotene, is also waiting in many other products – all red and orange vegetables and fruits, as well as green leafy vegetables.
The skin will also be grateful for vitamin E. It’s a powerful antioxidant, present in many creams, by the way. Vitamin E is also responsible for proper skin hydration, and you’ll find a whole lot of it in almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts and walnuts, as well as whole grains. This is what a slice of whole grain bread can do!
Vitamin C has many functions, including antioxidant, but most importantly it co-produces collagen and elastin, proteins that are the scaffolding of the skin. That’s why you should reach for it as often as possible! Since it is quite unstable and easily lost during heat treatment of products, it is advisable to eat it in raw form. Fortunately, there’s a whole lot of them: vitamin C is waiting in peppers, citrus, pomegranates, cranberries, kiwi, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts, currants or rosehips (also great in juice or infusion form!).
Vitamin B7, or biotin
There is another vitamin on which the good condition of the skin particularly depends. Biotin determines the proper synthesis of proteins and fats, and is therefore responsible for the strength and elasticity of not only the skin, but also the hair. You can find it in liver, egg yolks, whole grain flours, soybeans or walnuts, as well as tomatoes, cauliflower, spinach and carrots.
Antioxidants – the superpower of youth
Antioxidants are true miracle workers – the quality of the skin’s important defense processes depends on them. Antioxidants are plentiful, but the most important are polyphenols, coenzyme q10 and resveratrol. You will find most of them in vegetables and fruits. That’s another reason to eat them differently and in different colors – each dye carries information with a different antioxidant load. For example, lycopene (tomatoes!) has a photoprotective effect, resveratrol in grapes makes blood vessels more elastic, and antioxidants from green tea have an astringent and antibacterial effect.
I mention it at the end, but of course it is not the least important. Water is life – and beauty. Gray, tired and wrinkled skin is the result not only of age, stress, excessive sugar intake or poor diet, but especially dehydration. An adequate supply of water determines the appropriate level of water retention in the tissues, including the skin. Hyaluronic acid, which we love so much in cosmetics and dietary supplements, on the other hand, loves precisely water – it has an outstanding ability to bind water molecules, but… it has to get it from somewhere. Therefore, sip water (and other liquids, as long as they are not sweetened!) all day long, in small sips. How much? About 30 ml for each kilogram of body weight. And younger!