You are what you eat: do diets prematurely age your skin?

by VAIVAIMAGAZINE • 17 Sep 2016

Have you ever wondered how your diet is affecting your skin? Are you someone who has fad diets on high rotation – switching from sugar-free to paleo, cutting carbs to dairy-free, all in under a week?

Karen Fischer, nutritionist, skin health expert and author of Younger Skin in 28 Days, to understand how dieting really affects how your skin ages.

"Your body is literally made from nutrients obtained in your diet, so what you eat has an impact on the appearance of your skin, hair and nails," Fischer says. "If your diet does not supply enough nutrients for strength and repair, the first symptoms to appear include dry skin, brittle nails, premature wrinkles and cellulite. Once you eat right for your skin type, the symptoms usually resolve and you'll also have more energy."

So how do you find the right eating plan for your skin?  Fischer says a well-balanced diet is the key to a flawless, ageless complexion.

"Low-protein and low-fat foods such as vegetables, fruits and wholegrains are wonderful beauty foods," she says. "[I recommend] a red meat and dairy-free diet that is low in sugar, as well as using rice malt syrup as a sweetener because it's handy to cook with and it's the only sweetener that is alkalising."

In Australia, premature ageing is common thanks to our abundant sunshine and beach culture. But as well as being sun-smart, you can actually help counteract the effects of your love of outdoors by altering your diet:

"According to a study of 2,000 people over the age of 70, the participants who frequently ate red meat, sugar or dairy products had more skin wrinkling than those who rarely consumed them," Fischer says. "Animal-derived foods rich in protein and fats, especially red meat, cheese and deli meats, are also rich in wrinkle-promoting molecules called advanced glycation end-products – appropriately referred to as AGEs – and some cooking methods also trigger AGE formation.

"AGE molecules attach and cross-link with collagen and elastin fibres and render them incapable of easy repair. The only way to decrease levels of these harmful molecules is to eat a healthy diet and use low-AGE cooking methods, including lower heat, steaming and antioxidant-rich marinades."

Karen Fischer's superfood suggestions to help common skin conditions.

Eczema: Eat homemade broth as it supplies collagen, calcium and magnesium for healthy skin barrier function and to boost immune function.
Acne: Eat oysters and dense wholegrains as they're rich in zinc, which regulates sebum (oil) production in the skin. 
Rosacea: Eat rolled wholegrain oats to supply silica for healthy blood vessels. 
Dull skin: Eat two handfuls of dark leafy greens (such as steamed kale) daily, to improve blood flow to the skin, giving it a healthy glow. 

Ageing skin: Eat purple and red foods (such as pomegranate and red lettuce) daily as they contain powerful pigments called anthocyanins, which help protect the skin from AGEs, UV sun damage and free radicals – the stuff that accelerates skin ageing.

And Fischer's ultimate tip for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and glowing skin? "Healthy living is easier and a thousand times more enjoyable when you have tasty, healthy recipes and a do-able program," she says. "Delicious recipes are the best motivators to help you forget unhealthy habits and eat your way to glowing and younger skin."  

Beauty by Karen Fisher






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23 09 2017


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