Anti-Aging Diet for Your Skin
Understanding Antioxidants: The Anti-Wrinkle Crusaders
How can what you eat affect your body so positively or negatively? â€œAntioxidants are the key,â€ explains Dr. Breiner. â€œThey are nutrients that are able to protect your body from the aging effects of free radicals, a nasty process called oxidation.â€
Free radicals are formed through natural processes in your body and the environment â€” everything from exposure to sun, cigarette smoke, chemicals, even exercise. A free radical is simply a molecule or atom that has lost one of its electrons and, now unpaired, has become unstable. This instability causes it to seek other atoms or molecules (yours) to stabilize it, resulting in a domino effect of unstable atoms and molecules in your body.
This is a problem "because the end result is a change in your cellsâ€™ DNA, which includes your bodyâ€™s largest organ, your skin," Breiner says. "Oxidative stress and inflammation are two major causes of the aging process.â€
The Anti-Aging Diet: Foods That Smooth Skin
â€œEat a fiber-rich diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables," suggests Breiner. "Eight to 10 servings a day will help keep you young. Fruits and vegetables are generally low-calorie and have the ability to detoxify and renew your cells."
Add these great anti-aging food choices to your regular diet:
- Colorful berries. The antioxidant anthocyanin is what gives berries their blue, red, and purple colors. To get a healthy dose of this potent antioxidant, eat plenty of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, pomegranate, cherries, acai berries, and blood oranges, to name a few of the best choices. Each of these foods has a variety of other powerful antioxidants that repair and protect your skinâ€™s cells.
- Broccoli and broccoli sprouts. Quercetin is another powerful antioxidant that is found in broccoli, along with other foods including cranberries, onions, and apples. It is a natural anti-inflammatory agent as well, fighting the No. 2 cause of aging. Broccoli sprouts have 30 times more isothiocyanates (yet another antioxidant) regular broccoli.
- Spinach. Lutein is found in spinach, kale, corn, and other vegetables. It has the ability to give additional antioxidant capacity to your skin and enhances skin hydration.
- Garlic. Allium is an antioxidant that packs a punch. Garlic, onions, and scallions are loaded with this free-radical fighter that is good for your skin and your immune system.
- Beans. â€œEat your beans, too,â€ says Breiner. Anthocyanin is found in very high quantities in black beans and black soybeans. Soybeans are also high in isoflavones, also linked to anti-aging properties.
- Tea. Catechins, found in green tea, dark chocolate, and red wine, are another antioxidant that packs a wallop. â€œHave four to six cups of tea a day with lemon, which enhances the antioxidantsâ€™ activity in your cells,â€ Breiner advises.
- Wine. In addition to those catechins, resveratrol is found in red wine and has many anti-aging properties. It is another potent antioxidant.
- Yellow and orange root vegetables. Put plenty of beta-carotene on your plate. These super-antioxidants are good for your skin and eyes. Good choices include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and squash.
- Tomatoes. Lycopene, in red grapefruit, tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit, is a powerful weapon against free radicals. It has the ability to inhibit sun-induced aging and can neutralize free radicals. Breiner suggests, â€œFill your glass with tomato juice or V8 juice daily.â€
- Nuts. Eat a handful of nuts and seeds a day. They are loaded with â€œgoodâ€ fat that helps â€œplumpâ€ your skin, antioxidants and lots of minerals that are good for your skin, too.
- Salmon. â€œEat salmon at least three times a week,â€ says Breiner. â€œIt has a host of benefits for your skin, from the omega-3s to the high-quality protein. Make it a regular in your diet, and you will see plumper, more youthful skin in about six weeks.â€
- Water. Stay hydrated: Drink six to eight glasses of water a day. (And if you are drinking decaffeinated tea, that counts.) Caffeinated beverages can dehydrate you, which can contribute to dry, sallow-looking skin.
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