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It’s not just by chance that more and more clinics throughout the world are offering a healthy, varied and balanced diet as their rejuvenating cure. We now know that food plays a key role in defining the quality of the skin, its suppleness, firmness and resistance to the signs of ageing. Let’s spell it out: the fountain of youth is on your plate!
One action on two levels
What is within our food that can provoke skin ageing? The answer lies with two chemical processes which go by the names of oxidative stress and glycation.
Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals produced by certain foods attack the body’s healthy cells. Consequently there is a reduction in the amount of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid produced in the dermis which provokes the formation of wrinkles. The skin cells deteriorate and die without being renewed as quickly as required. The result : dark age spots quickly appear.
As to glycation, that is a rather complex chemical reaction often caused by a diet that is rich in sugar and protein, resulting in loss of suppleness and sagging skin and the formation of wrinkles.
Foods to avoid
To keep your body in great shape and your skin glowing with good health, stay away from the foods which cause oxidative stress and glycation. This is the case with red meat and charcuterie, which you can replace with poultry and eggs to receive “good” protein. Also avoid products which are made from white flour (bread, biscuits, pasta) and go instead for foods made with whole grains which will satisfy you for even longer. Ditch the added sugar: it is mainly hidden in drinks and processed foods (juices, desserts, cakes). Other taboo foods – charcuterie and tripe products which can encourage the development of spots.
Finally, remember: processed foods are full of sugar, salt, additives and preservatives which are no good for your skin! If you feel slightly lost when you are doing the shopping, it’s simple: choose the products that have been the least processed. For example, it is far better to have a plain yoghurt with some honey than a processed yoghurt with more sugar in it than fruit!
Give priority to anti-oxidants!
The body does not generally produce enough anti-oxidants to fight against free radicals, the molecules which attack the DNA of the cells, especially those of the skin, making it age prematurely. It must therefore be provided with a greater quantity of certain foods.
With fruits and vegetables you certainly can’t go wrong: they are full of them. Those which contain vitamin C and carotenoids are at the same time your complexions best friends and the worst enemies of free radicals. In order to recognize them, it is not difficult – just choose the most colorful ones!
Fresh blackcurrants, fresh parsley, red and green pepper, broccoli, radishes, carrots, kiwi, orange, lemon, cauliflower, mango, clementine, gooseberries, raspberries… Let’s enjoy some salads and smoothies!
Another tip: vary your salads by including lentils or chickpeas, which are rich in zinc and season them with vinaigrettes made with vegetable oils (sunflower, grape seed, colza, olive, peanut) and for their vitamin E content: you will therefore benefit from veritable ‘anti-radical’ bombs.
A few hunger pangs at 4pm? A hot chocolate and a handful of peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds will soothe your stomach until dinnertime, whilst providing you with flavonoids and magnesium, which have anti-oxidant properties.
Vary what is on your plate
Anti-oxidants are not the only foods to prioritize in order to maintain firm and supple skin. The famous polyunsaturated fatty acids cannot be left to one side because they go on to constitute part of the cells membranes, reinforce the lipid layer and promote good hydration. You can find it in great quantities in oily fish (salmon, mackerel…) as well as in seafood, seaweed, nuts and in various oils (rapeseed, soya, linseed, peanut, sunflower, corn and grape seed).
Fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts, eggs, fatty fish, white meat…. Eat all of them in small quantities to ensure a balanced food intake with enough vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Get eating!