Eat Your Way to Youthful Skin

By Mary Dwyer

You may think that expensive skincare regimens are necessary to achieve that youthful glow, so you will probably be surprised to learn that the foods you put into your body everyday can actually determine how your skin looks.  Including the right foods in your diet and limiting the wrong ones can help to maintain the healthy appearance of your skin.  In fact, the research shows that certain dietary strategies may be just as effective as those costly serums and creams.  

Limiting Sugar
You know that excess sugar isn’t good for your overall health, and it isn’t doing your skin any favors, either.  A study in the journal Biomedical Optics Express found that when mice followed a high-sugar diet, they didn’t gain weight, but their collagen was damaged.  The researchers leading the study concluded that consuming too much sugar harms the skin by damaging the connective tissue and fat that lies just beneath the skin.

Scientists writing for a publication of Anti-Aging Medicine have explained that sugar results in the formation of advanced glycation end products, which cause inflammation in the skin.  Reducing your intake of added sugars can therefore protect the skin’s tissues and keep skin looking healthy.  

Increasing Water Intake
Beyond limiting added sugars, consuming an adequate amount of water can improve skin health, especially if you experience dry skin.  A study in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology assessed water intake among a group of participants and divided them into two: one group with lower water intake and a second group with a higher intake. 

Both groups were then asked to supplement their usual water consumption, and study results showed that while both experienced improved skin hydration, this effect was greater in the group whose water intake was initially low.  If you haven’t been drinking enough water, upping your consumption can relieve skin dryness and leave skin looking more attractive; in fact, the authors of the study concluded that sufficient water consumption is equivalent to applying moisturizer to the skin.  

Consuming Adequate Nutrients 
Besides limiting sugar and drinking plenty of water, consuming enough of the right nutrients, such as certain vitamins and minerals, is essential for healthy-looking skin.  Authors of a report in Nutritional Cosmetics explain that Vitamin E has antioxidant effects and can protect the skin from sunlight and signs of aging.  The research also shows that vitamin E may be especially beneficial when paired with vitamin C, which shows strong benefits, including preventing damage from the sun and free radicals.  

Some people may opt to take vitamin supplements to achieve an adequate intake of vitamins C and E, but it is possible to promote skin health by getting these vitamins in the form of whole foods.  Citrus fruits and berries tend to be an excellent source of vitamin C, and avocados are packed with vitamin E.  

Sipping on Tea
In addition to the other nutritional strategies discussed herein, drinking certain types of tea may promote youthful-looking skin.  A study in Anti-Aging Medicine tested the effects of herbal teas on the formation of skin-damaging advanced glycation end products (AGEs).  Results showed that the herbal teas reduced the buildup of AGEs and improved the skin’s elasticity.  The herbal teas used in the study contained ingredients such as bamboo, persimmon leaf and Chinese blackberry, which may be useful for preventing skin aging. 

Adopting these healthy nutritional strategies may reduce the need for expensive cosmetic products, helping you to save money in the process. 

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