diet is best for your skin?
As boring as it may sound, the
diet optimal for overall health is close to optimal for skin
health as well. The main reason is that the diet optimal for
overall health slows down physiological mechanisms of aging in
all tissues, including the skin. While we believe that it's in
everyone's best interest to adopt the diet optimal for overall
health, we should point out that some aspects of a healthy diet
are more important for the skin than others. The key guidelines
are outlined below.
The recommendation to consume a
balanced diet is plastered on every corner these days. But what
exactly does it mean? By balanced diet, nutritionists usually
imply a diet that contains all necessary nutrients within a
certain optimal range. This range is usually selected in such a
way as to prevent protein malnutrition and vitamin / mineral
deficiencies. Thus, in a strict sense, balanced diet is a diet
allowing to avoid malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies. And,
for many people, especially junk-food lovers, adopting a
standard balanced diet would already be a great improvement.
Keep in mind, however, that in order to "beat nature"
and derive significant anti-aging benefits, one may have to
consume some nutrients in greater amounts than those found in a
basic balanced diet
For most people, the simplest
and probably the most practically feasible way to adhere to a
balanced diet is to follow the recommendations of the Daily Food
Guide developed by the US Department of Agriculture. Adults are
advised to consume daily:
6 to 11
servings of breads and cereals
3 to 5
servings of vegetables
2 to 4
servings of fruits
2 to three
servings of meat and meat alternatives (fish, poultry, eggs,
dry beans, nuts)
2 servings of
milk and milk products
To ensure than all essential
nutrients are consumed in adequate amounts, it is desirable to
consume a wide variety of foods.
You may have heard it from your
grandma, but now it's official! Eating plenty of fresh fruits
and vegetables is good for your health. Fruits and vegetables
are particularly important for preventing premature skin aging
because they contain a wide variety of antioxidants. Many of the
pigments responsible for the color of fruits and veggies are --
among other things -- potent antioxidants. These antioxidants
help protect skin cells from damage by free radicals which are
especially rampant in the skin due to environmental exposure
(see also the article about antioxidant nutrients in this
section). To ensure that your fruits and veggies have all their
antioxidants intact, make sure they are fresh and uncooked (or
only minimally cooked) since heat inactivates most antioxidants.
Also, some fruits and veggies are significantly richer in
antioxidants than others.
A well-moisturized skin is
somewhat less prone to developing of wrinkles. Drinking plenty
of fluids throughout the day ensures proper hydration of the
body and helps reduce skin dryness. Experts usually recommend
drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day. Coffee and sodas are not a
good substitute for water because they contain caffeine, which
is a diuretic, i. e., a substance promoting the excretion of
water via urine. Also, do not drink too much fluid 2-3 hours
before going to bed. This may cause morning puffiness and
excessively stretch your skin.
Except for frying oneself in
direct sunlight at noon, the quickest way to get wrinkles is to
put on a lot of weight and then lose it. The reason is obvious:
when you gain weight, extra fat stretches the skin, then, when
you lose weight and body fat goes away, the skin sags and
crumples up. The degree of skin sagging after weight loss varies
with the person's age (it tends to be worse the older you are),
genetics and other factors. Let the desire to retain youthful
skin be another incentive for you to watch your calories and
avoid weight gain - even if you plan to lose weight later on.
Also, keep in mind that gaining and losing weight in cycles may
have negative effects not only on the skin but on your overall
health as well.
The central theme in cooking is
heat-treatment of foods. As written in bold print in every
college chemistry course, increasing temperature causes
exponential increase in the rate of chemical relations. What
does this mean to us, the eaters? Every time a food is heated
up, the rate of reactions of degradation and oxidation of
nutrients jumps up dramatically. In other words, cooking
depletes food of many essential nutrients and antioxidants and
increases the content of oxidative by-products (free radicals).
As a result, we consume less essential nutrients and more
aging-promoting free radicals. True, complete avoidance of
cooked foods is no fun. You don't have to stop eating cooked
foods altogether to avoid most of the negative effects of
excessively cooked foods. For starters, reduce cooking time and
avoid deep frying, grilling and cooking in large amounts of oil
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