Foods that prevent wrinkles

woman with broccoli and healthy skin

BY ANA REISDORF, MS, RD

Aging can be scary for some of
us as you start to see those wrinkles pop up one by one. You might be looking
for that magical fountain of youth that will keep you looking and feeling young
forever, I know a lot of us are. People are so interested in staying youthful that
an incredible amount of money is spent on potions, lotions, and cosmetic
surgery, making beauty a multi-billion dollar industry. But, although these
products may help, they don’t actually address the underlying cause of wrinkles
— lifestyle and diet.
As a registered dietitian, I
have found that the solution for looking and staying young doesn’t cost nearly
as much as you might think and definitely doesn’t require any surgery. Food
actually has a much bigger impact on the appearance of your skin, more than any
beauty product ever could. Here are the top foods you need to include in your
diet to help prevent wrinkles and keep your skin smooth and youthful forever.

What causes wrinkles?
woman with forehead wrinkles
Before we get to the foods,
let’s talk about what causes wrinkles. Wrinkles have two primary causes: sun
damage and skin changes due to aging. Sun exposure decreases collagen in the
skin, which is a big deal because collagen makes up the structure of the skin.
Once the collagen is depleted, the skin becomes weak, leading to drooping and
the appearance of wrinkles. Also, as you age, skin naturally gets thinner,
drier, and less elastic. The skin is unable to spring back as easily from any
damage because it is weaker, which leads to wrinkles.
Wrinkles usually begin in
areas with facial expressions — such as smiling, frowning, or furrowing of the
brow — and in those exposed to the sun regularly. Pollution, smoking, weight,
dehydration, diet, stress, and other lifestyle factors can also impact the
appearance of skin and how quickly wrinkles appear.
How food protects skin

healthy food

There has been a lot of
research focusing on the impact of diet and skin appearance. A 2001 study,
conducted with people living in three different countries, provided interesting
findings in the area of wrinkles and diet. The secret to preventing wrinkles
seems to be to consume a combination of foods that are high in antioxidants,
protective against sun damage, and that provide essential fats. 
Foods that contain these
specific properties are inherently beneficial to health and well-being,
including skin. Those with antioxidants help reduce free radicals, which damage
skin and can cause a variety of other health problems. In addition, since sun
damage is one of the major culprits of wrinkles, any food that can protect
against the effects of the sun on collagen will be beneficial to the
skin. 
Lastly, certain dietary fats
are necessary to help the skin stay moisturized. When a food is high in these
specific beneficial nutrients, adding these foods to your diet these foods can
help protect your skin against wrinkles and keep you looking youthful forever.

Legumes

legumes

Legumes are a family of foods
that include beans, lentils, nuts, and peas. They contain fiber, protein, and
are full of antioxidants. The fiber in legumes is amazing for skin. It helps
trap toxins in the digestive system, removing them from your body before they
can be absorbed and affect the appearance of your skin. 
Legumes are also high in
vitamins E and C. Both vitamin E and C have been found to be photoprotective,
meaning they can protect the skin against UV radiation from the sun. When
consumed together, these two vitamins tend to have a synergistic effect on one
another, boosting their antioxidant power even more. Of course, this
doesn’t mean you should skip the sunscreen!
Still, legumes are incredibly
versatile, inexpensive, and easy to prepare. Include legumes in your diet as a
healthy mid-afternoon snack by munching on a handful of almonds. Or consider eating
beans or lentils a few times a week as the primary protein source for a meal. A
few servings of legumes a week can give your skin the nutrients it really needs
to stay smooth and healthy.

Foods rich in vitamin C

citrus fruits vitamin C

A high intake of vitamin
C-containing foods has been connected to a decreased appearance of wrinkles and
dry skin. This is because vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it can help
reduce the effect wrinkle-causing oxidative damage, which can be caused by poor
diet, stress, and even pollution. Vitamin C is also powerfully protective
against sun damage. 
Research is still unclear if
it is just the vitamin C itself that leads to the reduction of wrinkles or if
it’s a special property of vitamin C-containing foods. Your best bet is to
always eat whole foods that contain vitamin C. Almost all fruits and vegetables
contain vitamin C. Some of the highest vitamin C foods include citrus fruits,
strawberries, and bell peppers.

Foods rich in vitamin A

carrots vitamin A

Foods containing vitamin A
have also been found to be protective against wrinkles. Vitamin A is found in
two forms, beta-carotene and active vitamin A. Beta-carotene needs to be
converted into active vitamin A and is found in most orange and yellow fruits
and vegetables. Active vitamin A is found in animal foods such as beef liver,
eggs, and butter. 
Vitamin A is used in almost
all of the body’s skin cells to help them bind together to form tissues.
Without enough vitamin A, the body cannot heal from cuts, scrapes, or damage.
This is the reason why vitamin A is such as powerful wrinkle fighter, it keeps
skin cells bound together tightly, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. 
Vitamin A can help skin in two
ways, by either being consumed from food or applied directly to the skin as a
cream called retinol. The cream is usually prescribed by a dermatologist, but
there is no need to call for an appointment today when you can get the benefit
of vitamin A without seeing a doctor by just eating vitamin A-containing foods.
Munch on some baby carrots as an afternoon snack or add eggs to your breakfast
for a healthy dose of vitamin A daily.
Olive oil

olive oil

Skin dryness leads to
premature wrinkles because when the skin is unable to hold in moisture, it
starts to sag. You may think that drinking more water can help moisturize the
skin, but this is only partially true. Without the right type of fats in your
diet, skin cells are unable to hold water inside, and your skin will stay dry.
Olive oil helps the skin in
two ways. Not only does it provide healthy monounsaturated fats, necessary to
hold water in the cells, it is also incredibly high in antioxidants. It
contains large amounts of vitamin E, more than most plant-based oils, as well
as other protective antioxidants such as lutein and vitamin A. This makes it
one of the best fats for preventing wrinkles and keeping skin moisturized.
Use olive oil as your primary
oil to add to salads and for dipping. It can be used to sauté foods at a low
temperature, but should never be used to deep fry or cook at high temperatures,
because high temps can destroy the delicate fats. Just be careful with the
portion size; even though olive oil is extremely healthy it is still high in
calories, which can add up quickly. A tablespoon or two is all you really need
for cooking or as a salad dressing.



Foods rich in potassium

fruits and vegetables

Potassium is an electrolyte
commonly found in many foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. Potassium
plays a major role in helping maintain fluid balance particularly in the
individual cells of the body. It works against the dehydrating effects of
sodium to keep water inside the cells. When water stays inside the body’s
cells, it helps the skin look hydrated, plump, and wrinkle-free.
Add potassium to your diet by
eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. A few that are the highest in potassium
are spinach, bananas, and avocado. This is especially important after you
consume a high salt meal, the potassium can help counteract the skin-wrinkling
effects of sodium.



Fish

grilled salmon

Fish is an amazing food for
skin and overall health due to its high omega-3 content. Omega-3s are an
essential fat, needed to help the skin maintain fluidity and flexibility,
reducing the appearance of wrinkles. They are also one of the primary types of
fats used to help with hydration inside the cells. In addition to these
benefits, they are also highly anti-inflammatory, which can help decrease skin
dryness. Fish is your secret weapon for smooth, radiant, and youthful looking
skin. 
Aim to eat fatty wild-caught
fish at least two to three times per week. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and
albacore tuna are the highest in omega-3 fats. Your skin will thank you.


High protein foods

meat eggs cheese protein nuts
Eating enough protein is
essential for healthy skin. Skin is made from protein, so without adequate
amounts in your diet, your skin cells will not be able to regenerate and will
begin to look dull and dry. Frequent cell turnover is what leads to youthful
looking skin, therefore protein is necessary if you want to stay wrinkle-free.
Foods that contain protein
include animal foods such as chicken, fish, pork, and beef as well as beans and
legumes, and dairy. Try to include one of these foods at every meal and snack
to get enough protein throughout the day.

Preventing wrinkles with food

woman without wrinkles smooth skin

As you can see there are
several powerful foods that can help prevent wrinkles. The bottom line is
eating foods that are high in antioxidants is not just incredible for your
skin, it also provides benefits for your whole body. Get those fruits, veggies,
and healthy fats into your diet to give you a powerful antioxidant boost. 
Foods high in vitamin A, C, E,
and potassium can also have an impact on your skin’s hydration, decrease the
collagen-depleting effects of the sun, and slow wrinkling. Lastly, the right
types of essential fats help hold water in, making cells look plump and full,
so wrinkles are less apparent. Eating a well-balanced diet can help you look
young and beautiful without breaking the bank.


SOURCE: THE LIST
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.