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Natural Anti-Aging Skin Care

Instead of reaching for very expensive cosmetic products that promise to erase away all signs of aging, why not eat your way to a more youthful complexion instead? There are certain foods known for protecting your skin and your entire body in a number of ways. 

Some of them help plump up cell walls so they retain their moisture and elasticity, others work hard at eliminating harmful free radicals, and some even protect the skin against the damaging effects of UV rays. 

What’s even more amazing is that when you combine two or more of these wrinkle-fighting foods, you boost their powers significantly, boosting their benefits and giving you healthy, radiant skin.

Best Diet Choices For Radiant Skin

For healthier, more radiant-looking skin, add more of these to your diet.

Amino Acids

Proteins provide the body with amino acids, which help maintain the elasticity and firmness of our skin by assisting in the formation of collagen and elastin; two proteins that weaken with age which causes our skin to have a dull, lackluster appearance. 

Amino acids also work at repairing skin damage from the inside out. In addition, since we can’t synthesize amino acids on our own, it’s smart to incorporate foods rich in amino acids like the following into your diet.

  • Fish
  • Lean meat
  • Eggs and dairy
  • Tofu
  • Nuts
  • Some types of grains and seeds

Phytoceramides

In our youth, our skin cells produce certain molecules that keep our skin taut and firm. These molecules are known as ceramides. As we age, however, the outer layer of our skin – the epidermis – becomes thin and starts to weaken. What’s more is that we are unable to produce ceramides as quickly and as efficiently as before, causing our skin to dehydrate and start to sag.

The solution to this problem is that we do the next best thing; we start eating more and more the foods rich in phytoceramides. These plant-based ceramides protect the skin and help it stay hydrated and smooth. They can also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, as well as help heal rough, dry skin.

Phytoceramides can be found in the following:

  • Wheat germ
  • Brown rice
  • Spinach
  • Beets
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Soy-based products

Antioxidants

While we love to stay out in the sun, too much of it can cause skin damage and aging. Moreover, it’s the leading cause of skin cancer. When your skin is exposed to excessive UV rays, free radicals are formed, killing off healthy cells and causing irreparable damage. An unhealthy diet can have the same effect on your skin.

However, antioxidants have the crucial job of clearing away harmful free radicals in your body; getting rid of their negative effects and repair any damage they may have left behind in their wake. They also protect the skin from harmful UV rays.

Antioxidants can be found in bright, colorful fruits and vegetables, such as:

  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Pumpkin
  • Kiwi
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Mustard greens
  • Apples 
  • Grapes

Potassium-Rich Foods

The great thing about the mineral potassium is that it helps skin cells make the most out of the water surrounding them by counterbalancing the effects of sodium, which dries up the body and causes water retention. Potassium puts water inside the cells and helps plump up skin cells, make them suppler and definitely more hydrated which increases their elasticity.

Potassium can be found in the following:

  • Avocadoes
  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • White beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Dried fruits
  • Fresh juice

In addition, potassium regulates blood pressure and lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke. It enhances the metabolic process and muscle strength, which is why fitness experts swear by potassium-rich foods.

Fermented Foods

Scientists are trying to find the link between gut bacteria and healthy-looking skin. While there is still no tangible proof, it is a well-known fact among doctors that when you eat foods that contain probiotics, you’ll enjoy wrinkle-free, glowing skin. The reason for it is probably because when your digestive system is in tip-top shape, then it’s able to supply the rest of your body, mainly your skin, with the nutrients it needs to shine.

Healthy Fats

Omega-3, 6, and -9 fatty acids are the good kinds of fat that we want more of in our diets. Even though we know that aging and fats don’t go hand-in-hand, holding on to some of the healthy types of fats can actually help you hold on to that youthful appearance by keeping skin taut and smooth which reduces the appearances of wrinkles and fine lines. These fatty acids are also essential for the functioning of our brains and hearts, helping us slow down the effects of aging from the inside and outside.

Some of the foods that contain healthy fatty acids:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Oysters
  • Sardines
  • Walnuts
  • Flax seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach

Water 

The most important tip of all, stay hydrated! Water’s benefits are infinite. To remind yourself to get your 8 glasses of water a day, fill a 2-liter bottle and leave it next to your desk, in your car or even carry it around with you. It may seem like a heavy load at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll notice a huge difference in the evenness of your skin tone, and how the fine lines around your eyes and mouth are starting to disappear. 

Water is also good for your whole body, helps you shed pounds, and enables your brain to concentrate more and focus better. Who can say no to that?

Foods To Avoid

Try to cut down on these to help slow down the effects of aging, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle:

Inflammatory Foods

“Foods that create inflammation are pro-aging,” said Dr. Frank Lipman, an integrative and functional medicine physician and author of “The New Health Rules.” 

Foods that cause inflammation

  • Processed foods
  • Packaged foods
  • Fast foods
  • Junk food
  • Saturated fats
  • Gluten
  • Sugar
  • Dairy

White Bread and Sugar

When you eat more sugar-rich products and refined carbs than your body can process, the excess sugar molecules team up with proteins and create something called AGES (advanced glycation end products). 

AGES are harmful to your health in general and have been proven to cause damage to your skin by preventing it to normally repair its collagen and elastin levels; both are crucial for taut, smooth, youthful skin. According to a British study, when you consume an extra 50 grams of carbohydrates daily, your risk of adding wrinkles to your face gets boosted by 28%!

Another very negative side effect of sugary products is that affects your teeth. “Sugar sticks to your teeth, encouraging bacteria, decay, and discoloration,” says Brian Kantor, a cosmetic dentist who practices in New York City. To help reduce buildup, brush your teeth afterwards or simply just swish water around your mouth for a few seconds.

Of course the main reason we’re all told that sugar is bad is that it causes weight gain. This reflects directly on your face, causing signs of aging, dark circles, puffiness, dryness, and an increase of wrinkles and fine lines. All these factors rid your face of its youthful, healthy glow and radiance.

Charred Meat

What’s more enjoyable than eating a delicious, juicy grilled burger? Nothing! Except if it’s covered with a black layer of soot. That char covering your burger contains hydrocarbons that cause inflammations and eventually break down collagen essential for keeping skin supple and taut.

If your burger is charred, make sure you scrape it off before eating. Moreover, if you’re doing your own barbequing, make sure you clean the grill afterwards so you don’t leave residue that may char food the next time you use it.

Alcohol

When you have a liver that’s functioning well, the toxins that can wreak havoc on your skin are regularly carried out of the body giving you healthy, radiant skin. However, if toxins aren’t broken down properly but left to build up in the liver it causes numerous skin problems, such as acne, wrinkles, rosacea and sagging skin.

What’s more, alcohol prevents you from getting quality sleep and is dehydrating, both of these issues play major roles in the aging process by reducing the elasticity of the skin, drying it out, and creating wrinkles.

In addition, if that wasn’t enough, once the liver starts metabolizing the alcohol, it inadvertently creates free radicals, which kill off healthy cells causing the skin to look haggard and dull.

Salty Foods

Even though you may be reducing the amount of salt you use when cooking, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not getting large amounts of salt from other sources. 

Foods that are preserved with sodium cause water retention in your body making you look puffy. In addition, sodium prevents water from reaching inside your cells so they start dehydrating, which is one of the main causes of aging skin.

These foods that may contain higher levels of sodium than you thought:

  • Canned foods; meat, fish, or poultry
  • Frozen breaded dinners
  • Salted nuts
  • Vegetable juice
  • Flavor packets and condiments
  • Sauces
  • Cottage cheese
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Processed meats

Red Meat

Red meat contains more fat than lean meats. This high fat content metabolizes in the body and forms free radicals. These highly reactive molecules roam the body in search of electrons found within healthy cells. Once they’re found, free radicals snatch the electrons they need, breaking down the healthy cells in the process. 

When healthy cells are damaged, they are no longer able to synthesize collagen nor protect themselves against further damage. When cells are susceptible and vulnerable like this, it shows on the outer layer of the skin in the form of uneven pigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines and a dull complexion.

Try to limit the number of times you eat burgers to a couple of times a month, and opt instead for leaner meats such as turkey or chicken meat. Also, increase your intake of antioxidant-rich foods since they help fight off free radicals by eradicating them and repairing any damage they left behind.

Acidic Drinks

White wine is extremely acidic which makes your teeth more susceptible to long-term damage and discoloration. 

Energy drinks tend to strip teeth of their enamel more than any other type of sports drink or soft drink because of its high acidic content, making your teeth more vulnerable to stains and discoloration.

Black tea is loaded with the reddish tannin, sometimes referred to as tannic acid. Even though tannin is found in other types of food, it’s especially concentrated in black tea, which causes stains and can erode the enamel on your teeth. Adding milk to your tea will reduce your risk of stains.

Lemonade may have several health benefits, but the high levels of citric acid in lemons make your teeth more susceptible to stains since it makes the enamel more porous.

You don’t have to pass on acidic beverages all together, but there a couple of precautions to be aware of:

  • Brush your teeth an hour after drinking. If you brush directly after your drink, you can augment the erosion of your enamel. Give your teeth time to remineralize before brushing.
  • If you can, use a straw to sip on your drink. It will decrease the contact between your teeth and the acids in your drink minimizing the damage on your enamel.

Caffeine

Drinking one or two cups of coffee or tea daily is fine. It’s when you drink caffeine to excess that the problems start appearing. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it makes the body excrete larger amounts of fluids than normal. When this happens, your body gets depleted of its moisture and where will it show first? Your skin, which will quickly start showing signs of lack of color and dryness. If you want to drink more coffee, just counteract this effect by drinking lots of water.

Cigarettes Kill The Skin

The smoke in cigarettes is mainly comprised of carbon monoxide, which takes place of the oxygen in your cells, ultimately killing them off. Cigarette smoke also contains nicotine, which decreases the amount of blood reaching your skin’s surface. 

This means your skin cells aren’t getting the nutrients they need to produce the collagen and elastin they need to remain vibrant and healthy. The result? An uneven skin tone, and dry, damaged skin.

If you smoke, or know someone who does, you may have noticed some serious lines around the lips, this is from puckering the lips when inhaling cigarettes.

Final Thoughts

Modify your diet with just a few, simple adjustments and tweaks here and there, and you’re well on your way to reversing the effects of aging. And while there are a number of factors that play a part in your aging process, helping things out with these age-busting tips will do wonders for the health of your skin in the long run.

Even though, eating a well-balanced diet of age-defying foods helps keep skin young, you can always help them out by regularly applying moisturizer on your face, neck, and hands. You must also remember to use a nontoxic sunscreen each and every time you’re exposed to the sun. 

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