If you’re scrutinizing over your dull, dry winter skin and fine lines and wrinkles, you’re not alone. According to a recent national survey by Allergan, Inc., approximately 60 percent of women 21- to 65-years-old said they would rather have a younger-looking face than a younger-looking body.
Yet experts say it’s time to forget the expensive creams and procedures. The key to aging gracefully is simple: Eat healthy.
Here, find out which foods to avoid and which to add to your plate for beautiful, younger- looking skin..
1. Cut out 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.” Nix processed, packaged and fast foods, as well as gluten, dairy and sugar.
“Eating too much sugar will make you more prone to wrinkles and make you age quicker,” he said.
2. Omega fatty acids.
Keeping your skin well-hydrated from the inside out is one of the best ways to prevent dry skin and wrinkles. Omega fatty acids -3, -6, and -9 found in healthy fats and oils are vital because they become part of the skin cell walls.
“If the skin cell walls are plump and healthy, the skin will look more hydrated and dewy as well,” said Paula Simpson, a nutricosmetics formulation expert and beauty nutritionist.
Salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, coconut oil, olive oil and avocado are all great choices.
3. Amino acids.
Another cause of wrinkles is the weakening of collagen and elastin in the skin that happens as we age. Amino acids found in protein sources can help rebuild and repair damage. Meat, fish, eggs, tofu, some grains, nuts, and seeds are all excellent sources.
4. Leafy green vegetables.
Broccoli, kale, spinach and mustard greens will keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Green juices are also an easy way to help absorb the nutrients more quickly.
“It’s like a liquid multi-vitamin full of antioxidants,” Lipman said. Be sure to limit the added sugar and fruits with a high glycemic load.
“As we age, the epidermis (the skin’s outer layer) thins and weakens, making it susceptible to dehydration and wrinkling,” Simpson said.
What’s more, production of ceramides— molecules that keep the skin firm —starts to slow down. Phytoceramides, plant-based ceramides found in wheat germ, brown rice, spinach and beets, can help to protect the skin’s outer layer.
Too much time out in the sun is a leading cause of aging. The sun creates free radicals that can permanently kill off healthy skin cells. Yet the sun is not the only culprit— an unhealthy diet can do the same. Load up on a variety of brightly colored, antioxidant-rich foods that contain carotenoids like tomatoes, carrots, kale and pumpkin that can protect the skin and reverse some of the damage.
7. Potassium-rich foods.
If you have dark circles under your eyes, it’s probably genetic but they can also be caused by water retention or sodium-rich foods. Many fruits and vegetables, as well as potatoes, nuts, beans, legumes, meat, poultry and fish are potassium-rich and can offset the sodium. Plus, cutting down on your salt intake is a wise choice for your skin and your overall health.
8. Rooibos tea.
High in polyphenols that help protect the skin from premature aging, rooibos tea hydrates the skin and is an alternative to coffee, which can dehydrate your skin.
9. Fermented foods.
Probiotics regulate digestion and put the good bacteria back in the gut, which can also help skin look healthy, Lipman said. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and fermented vegetables are all probiotic-rich.
Julie Revelant is a health journalist and a consultant who provides content marketing and copywriting services for the healthcare industry. She's also a mom of two. Learn more about Julie at revelantwriting.com.