Fighting Wrinkles With An Anti-Ageing Diet
In our first anti-ageing blog , we discussed the changes that occur in your skin as you age and wrinkles start to form. Here we start looking at the building blocks of an anti-ageing regime that fights wrinkles and keeps your skin healthy. The first element isn’t about skincare products at all; it’s diet.
Your skin is a reflection of what you consume; what you eat and drink and what toxins you allow to enter your body. But you can fight ageing with the right foods; wrinkle-fighting foods that protect your skin in a variety of ways. Some of them hydrate your skin, some build strong cell walls, some guard against sun damage, while others protect against free radicals. What’s more, these foods often work together, boosting each other’s power. Combine them, and you’ll get far more fighting power to stop wrinkles than each one offers on its own.
Your skin is a reflection of how well your body is eliminating the toxins that build up on a daily basis. Chronic skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis stem from a combination of genetic factors, immune stress, dietary deficiencies or sensitivities, and the accumulation of toxins in the body. For your skin to be radiant and clear, it is very important that the other organs of elimination (kidneys, liver, lungs, and colon) are cleansing the body effectively. If not, your skin will be overtaxed, pores will become clogged, and eruptions of one sort or another will result.
Drinking an adequate amount of water daily is important for your overall good health. Water aids your digestion, circulation, absorption and excretion. But what about drinking large amounts of water for proper skin health? Claims have been made that drinking water gives you a radiant, healthy, younger- looking complexion, while others say it has no effect on skin’s appearance whatsoever.
Your skin is your largest organ. Just like any other part of the body. your skin is made up of cells and skin cells, like any other cell in the body, are made up of water. Without water, your skin will not function properly. So, if your skin is not getting enough water, it will become dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkles; drinking water is an essential component of an anti-ageing regime.
As water is lost in large quantities every day, you need to replace it somehow. The unfortunate truth about drinking water and skin is that water will reach all the other organs before it reaches the skin. Experts disagree whether or not drinking water really does hydrate your skin … but it certainly can’t hurt. Drinking at least eight glasses a day will help rid your body and skin of toxins and many people report that by increasing their water intake, their skin has a more radiant glow.
One last point on water; drink quality natural spring water if you can. Tap water contains powerful oxidants like chlorine; why would you focus on consuming anti-oxidants, if you then consume an oxidant!
Omega Fatty Acids
Think of your ageing skin cells as slightly deflated balls. Fatty acids plump up the walls of these cells, making them bouncy again. They form the outer membrane of cells, where the regulation of molecules which are allowed to pass through takes place and are therefore critical for healthy function of your skin cells.
Fatty acids are long chains of hydrocarbons with a terminal carboxyl group, either saturated or unsaturated. The unsaturated category includes the two primary groups of essential fatty acids; Omega-3s and Omega-6s. Other types of fatty acids such as Omega-9s are produced within the body. Whereas, your body cannot produce essential fatty acids, so you need to add them to your diet, through food but perhaps through supplements.
To get plenty of Omega-3s, eat fatty fish and walnuts, or take a high-quality Omega-3 supplement. Excellent sources of healthy Omega-6 fatty acids include; leafy vegetable, seeds, nuts and grains. Unlike cow’s milk, camel milk is an excellent source of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. Whatever the source, keeping up your Omega 3 and 6 intake is a core component of you anti-ageing regime.
You can also topically apply fatty acids to your skin to help nourish and moisturize it directly for a more youthful, wrinkles free and healthy-looking complexion; more on this in our next blog.
Collagen Rich Foods – The Secret to Wrinkle Fighting
Wrinkles form when the collagen and elastin in your skin breaks down. To erase these wrinkles, wouldn’t it be great if you could give your skin a boost of anti-ageing collagen. What if you could “mainline” collagen directly to your skin cells? But foods that actually contain collagen are rare.
If we could recommend only one food to boost collagen, it would be bone broth. Foods often contain antioxidants and other nutrients to help the body synthesise collagen, but bone broth is unique in actually containing collagen. The collagen is in a bioavailable form of collagen in sufficient quantities for your body to use right away.
There are three types of collagen; types I, II, and III. These are concentrated in the tendons, ligaments, bones and joints and cooking down these animal parts for long periods of time helps release collagen from the bones, resulting in a nutrient-rich broth which many dermatologists recognise to be superior to collagen supplements.
Beef broth is richest in type I collagen, which makes it the best choice for skin health, while chicken broth is higher in type II collagen for supporting the joints.
Chicken’s eggs are another of those rare foods that actually contain collagen, in the yolk and eggshell membranes but the quantities are too small to be significant as a dietary choice. Many collagen supplements use egg membranes as an ingredient, but the quantities are too small to be significant as a dietary choice.
Unfortunately, there are no vegan or vegetarian routes to actually consume collagen; collagen is an animal protein. If you don’t eat animal products, then your focus should be on boosting your body’s ability to synthesise its own collagen.
Amino Acids – The Building Blocks of Collagen and Elastin
Amino acids are the building blocks of collagen and elastin. If you lack the amino acids that combine to form collagen, your body’s cells can’t produce enough of it. A diet high in essential amino acids (which the body can’t make on its own) helps keep your skin firm and elastic, while a deficiency makes it thin, dry and prone to wrinkles. But what are the amino acids necessary for collagen production and how can you make sure you’re getting enough for your body?
Threonine is an essential amino acid for collagen production. An essential amino acid is one your body cannot make, so you have to get it from food or dietary supplements. You can get threonine from foods such as lentils, peanuts, eggs, milk, pork, beef and chicken. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can get threonine from soybeans, chickpeas, hummus, snap beans and asparagus.
Fermented Foods & Probiotics
A radiant gut translates into radiant skin, free from wrinkles, while a bad gut is a leading cause of skin aging. That’s because good gut bacteria help keep your body well supplied with the nutrients your skin thrives on. Bad bacteria, on the other hand, can cause a leaky gut and allow toxins to escape your intestines and create inflammation throughout your body, including your skin. The result is sick, blotchy, old-looking skin and early wrinkles.
To improve your gut health, eat fermented foods like kimchee and sauerkraut, or drink kombucha.
Other sources of essential probiotics include dairy products. Choose natural products; fermented dairy products like kefir are great sources of probiotics. It would be remiss of us not to mention the probiotic benefits of camel milk!
Camel milk kefir provides all the health benefits of fermented foods. Not only does it help reestabish your inner ecosystem, it also helps keep your skin looking moist and young and your body feeling healthier.
Our ancestors may have taken fermented foods for granted back in their day, which is why we may have lost an understanding of kefir’s valuable benefits. Unfortunately raw camel milk cannot be sold for consumption in Australia.
Here’s a simple tip. Switch from table salt to sea salt. Why? Regular table salt is sodium chloride, which pulls water out of your cells by osmosis, leaving them flabby and prone to promoting wrinkles.
But sea salt, which is high in potassium, does just the opposite. It pulls water into your cells, making them firm. You can also get skin-hydrating potassium from fruits and vegetables, nuts, meat, poultry and fish. And, of course, camel milk.
Actively seek foods that are rich in essential minerals, such as root vegetables. Choose organic if you can, ideally from known locations where the soil is mineral rich.
Be wary of mineral supplements; many of them do not offer minerals in a bio-available form that makes it easy to absorb. Indeed, one of the great advantages of camel milk as a source of essential minerals is that is does not congeal in your stomach so its minerals can be absorbed throughout the digestive process. Colloidal minerals are a far better source of trace minerals than tablets.
Vegetables and Non-Citrus Fruits
Vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, helping prevent oxidative stress, the damage to cells caused by free radicals. So it’s not surprising that a study of Japanese women found that a higher intake of green and yellow vegetables (along with a higher intake of healthy fats) reduces wrinkling.
We know green vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet for disease prevention, but they may also be a powerful way to prevent collagen breakdown. All green plant foods (such as bok choy, green algae, arugula, kale, lettuce, green beans, and broccoli) contain chlorophyll, which is the pigment that gives plants their vibrant green color.
Studies have shown that consuming chlorophyll increases the precursor to collagen (procollagen) in the skin. Liquid chlorophyll supplements and greens powders are an easy way to get a highly concentrated dose of chlorophyll, which has also been shown to provide strong antioxidant activity against sun damage and the free radicals from toxins that promote premature ageing.
Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which has been shown to protect the skin from sun damage and prevent collagen breakdown. Some say lycopene also helps with collagen synthesis, although few reputable studies have confirmed this. Either way, tomatoes contain a variety of antioxidants (including Vitamin C), which protect the skin at a cellular level, so it never hurts to include them in your diet.
Berries contain a nutrient called ellagic acid, which has been shown to prevent collagen breakdown from UV damage. In addition to being protective against the signs of aging, berries may also help produce collagen. Like citrus fruits, berries are rich in Vitamin C, which as you now know, helps link specific amino acids together for collagen formation.
Citrus fruits are amongst the richest sources of Vitamin C, an essential
vitamin. Your body cannot synthesise Vitamin C. Eating plenty of fresh citrus fruits will increase your body’s levels of Vitamin C. Whether Vitamin C consumed as food actually reaches the skin in quantities significant enough to provide much anti-ageing effect is questionable. But it will certainly reduce the oxidative stress on your skin. Remember, your skin is a reflection of how well your body is eliminating the toxins that build up on a daily basis.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin against toxins found in the air, food and water supply. By removing free radicals, it slows the break down collagen and subsequent damage the skin’s inner layers. Vitamin C may also help with skin cell repair and regeneration. To achieve this, most experts believe that you need to supply your skin with Vitamin C topically, which is why wrinkle prevention products often contain Vitamin C. More in our next blog, when we focus on anti-ageing skincare.
Finally, Vitamin C helps to “link”the amino acids together that form collagen, such as proline, which makes it an essential nutrient in the pre-collagen production phase.
Nuts and Seeds
Pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews and walnuts are among the richest plant sources of zinc, which is a cofactor for collagen synthesis. Studies have also shown taking zinc supplements and zinc rich foods can aid collagen synthesis. Zinc also helps to speed up wound healing and maintain healthy cell membranes, which makes zinc a must-have nutrient for skin health.
Chia seeds are an excellent plant-based source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, contribute to anti-aging by building healthy skin cells and providing moisture to the skin, which creates a smooth, supple appearance from the inside out.
Don’t forget, though, that camel milk is an excellent source of zinc in a very bio-available form since camel milk does not congeal in your stomach.
We have skimmed the surface of wrinkle-fighting foods, but there’s no doubt that “food is medicine” when it comes to boosting your collagen intake. Eating, to help your body to produce collagen or slowing its deterioration, is a core anti-ageing strategy. Sipping on a comforting mug of bone broth each morning, trying new varieties of leafy greens and fruits, regularly eating amino-acid rich foods, maintaining gut health with fermented food and probiotics and staying hydrated should all help to boost collagen levels in your skin.
Nothing is going to happen overnight, anti-ageing requires commitment and focus. A glass of camel milk a day won’t go amiss either!