Eat Your Way To Youthful Skin – Kiran Nijjer, B.S. NBC-HWC, M.S. – Medium

Beauty is an inside job. What we eat directly affects our complexion and determines how we age.

Illustration by: Kiran Nijjer, featuring photographs from Ellen von Unwerth and Maurizio Di Iorio via Pinterest.

Most of us want to age gracefully and feel confident in our own skin. We know the cardinal rules: limit your UV exposure, get enough sleep, exercise regularly. But what if the most effective anti-aging strategy were right in front of you — on your plate?

Keeping your body healthy on a cellular level is essential for making it strong, resilient, and youthful. Some of your daily eating habits may be causing premature aging and accelerating the aging process. This article highlights key ways to make sure your diet is helping you fight aging and leaving you with a glowing complexion.

Beauty starts from within — specifically, in the gut! “A problem in the bowels will lead to jowls.” When your digestive system isn’t functioning optimally, this shows in your face. An unhappy gut won’t deliver enough of the antioxidants, vitamins, proteins and minerals that are key to good health. If you want to reverse the signs of premature aging and begin glowing from within, having a healthy gut and tackling inflammation is crucial to brighter, clearer and youthful skin.

What we eat directly affects the appearance of our complexion and is a major determinant of how we age. When we consume fatty, sugary, processed foods, our skin is likely to react by becoming inflamed, swollen, and lackluster. Meals that contain healthy fats, protein, greens and healthy carbohydrates are crucial for slowing down the aging process. Here are some essentials for maintaining youthful, glowing skin.

The Building Blocks

Three crucial components of a skin-friendly diet are protein, healthy fats, and good carbohydrates. Besides yielding beautiful skin they also have protective and preventative effects that slow the aging process and give you a radiant glow from within.

Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for cell repair.

Healthy fats have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, improving the skin’s texture, suppleness and overall health. Omega-3 is necessary for healthy, supple skin and to repair the protective barrier that keeps moisture locked in. They also protect heart health, inhibit inflammation, bring balance to our hormones, support brain health and increase feelings of well-being. The most potent plant-based source of omega-3 is chia seeds, with more omega-3 than flax seed or wild Alaskan salmon. Omega-3 eggs are a phenomenal source of protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids. The key is to purchase certified organic eggs from cage-free chickens that are fed flax meal. Not only are they much more nutritious due to the high quality diet they recieve, but they taste incredible. High quality and toxin free salmon fish oil and cod liver oil are also powerful sources of omega-3’s.

Carbohydrates can get a bad rep, but would you still be avoiding them if you knew the anti aging power behind them? Eat good carbohydrates by increasing your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables high in antioxidants, such as broccoli and cauliflower. Antioxidants counteract free radicals, which can cause cell damage. Good carbohydrates also help your body release estrogen, which is known to fight wrinkles and increase collagen production.

The Power of Superfoods

Collage by: Kiran Nijjer, featuring photographs from Andrew B. Myers and Maurizio Di Iorio via Pinterest.

Dark leafy greens are rich in the antioxidant plant pigments known as carotenoids, which enhance immune response, protect skin cells against UV radiation, and help the liver enzymes that neutralize carcinogens and other toxins. Their important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects reduce the risk of heart disease and block sunlight-induced inflammation in the skin — which leads to wrinkles and skin cancer. The Vitamin A in these leafy greens also helps normalize the production of oil, while Vitamin C, Calcium and several other phytochemical’s help add fibre into the diet making it one of the most powerful superfoods to consume.

Isoflavones are found in foods such as chickpeas, miso and edamame. They mimic natural estrogen, which combats aging of the skin. Higher estrogen levels decrease the body’s production of collagen and elastin, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and dry, sagging skin. Isoflavones make your body believe it’s producing higher levels of estrogen than it actually is, so your collagen and elastin levels stay up.

Load up on antioxidants to maintain youthful, supple and radiant skin. Acai, berries, watercress and chlorella are all incredible sources of antioxidants that help maintain healthy skin. These foods fight free-radical damage that leads to fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, sagging, and lacklustre skin. Berries are powerhouses of antioxidants and vitamins and are superb for your skin. Blueberries, already well known as antioxidants, also alleviate inflammation and support digestion, which is critical for healthy skin. Raspberries contain antioxidants too and are a rich source of Vitamin C, which is key for collagen production. They’re also very high in ellagic acid, which reduces cell damage from pollution and free radicals.

Turmeric has been used since ancient times for health and beauty. An outstanding anti-inflammatory, the active antioxidant properties of turmeric helps to brighten and even out out overall skin tone. It also has superior cell-protecting properties, helping to keep skin soft and supple while protecting against the oxidative stress that accelerates skin aging.

Extra virgin olive oil is a great example of a healthy fat that helps to prevent and reverse inflammatory, age and disease-related changes to the heart and skin cells. It is mainly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids, the most important being oleic acid. Oleic acid is known to be incredibly hearthealthy and has the capability of fighting oxidative stress while improving focus and memory. Extra virgin olive oil also contains a type of antioxidant called secoiridoids, which helps activate gene signatures which contribute to anti-aging and a reduction of cellular stress.

Extra Support

Collage by: Kiran Nijjer, featuring photograph from Sara Shakeel via Pinterest.

Probiotics. To keep your gut happy and healthy, it’s important to load up on probiotics. These are plentiful in yogurt, kimchi, and coconut kefir. Increasing the diversity of bacteria in your gut (your “gut flora”) not only will keep your microbiome in balance and help ward off illness but also will support digestion so you can reduce bloat, detoxify more efficiently and clear any pesky pimples that may have popped up on your face after a night of overindulging in food and drink. Probiotics can also help with clearing acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Most of us don’t have perfect gut flora — everything from antibiotics to high-carbohydrate diets to being born via a C-section can compromise the balance of bacteria in our microbiome. Supplementing with a probiotic can help correct imbalances in your microbiome and support your immune system ward off illnesses. Aim to swallow 100 billion CFU (colony forming units) a day.

The two main species you want to look for are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Within these two species is a diverse range of strains. Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Bifidobacterium longum have been shown to help modulate the immune system, lessen autoimmunity conditions, and counteract infections in the gut.

Bone broth is great for the gut because it contains gelatin, which restores the strength of the gut lining, reduces inflammation and supports immune system function. The collagen present in bone broth helps form elastin within the skin, which is responsible for maintaining a youthful appearance by helping reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Consume enough water. Water is vital to help flush out toxins and keep the skin clear and hydrated. To assess how much water you should drink each day, take your weight in pounds and divide it by two; this is how many ounces of water you should drink, as a minimum daily.

Sweat it out. Lower your stress levels and boost your skin’s health by “sweating it out” on a daily basis. The skin is our largest organ, and sweat is one of the main channels for removing toxins from your body. Whether you do a workout or have an infrared sauna session, sweating daily will help your body’s natural detoxification processes, leaving you with youthful, glowing skin.

The “Hero” Product

Want to nourish your skin from the inside out? Dr. Sturm has formulated Skin Food.

Dr. Barba Sturm via Molecular Cosmetics.

How It Works

The star behind this key compound is called reservatrol. When used with Japanese knotweed, these substances offer potent antioxidant, cardiovascular, liver function and anti-aging support. A combination of the highest-quality extracts of grape skins, red wine and Japanese knotweed yields a well-rounded product that supports a nutritional approach to healthy aging.

The Ingredients

Dr. Sturm’s star ingredient is purslane, a super-plant with powerful skin benefits, including anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. It also activates the “fountain of youth enzyme,” telomerase, which is proven to stimulate cell renewal and impede the aging process while healing inflammation. Alongside purslane, glucosamine supports healthy skin by improving the body’s own natural production of essential hyaluronic acid. Rounding out the formula are the high-quality antioxidants kudzu and astragalosides, which neutralize free radicals and protect against the aging process. This is a daily supplement you’ll never forget to take.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.

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