Introduction to Diet and Skin Care . The largest organ of the body is the skin. It protects the body against various environmental, physical and chemical insults. Consuming foods high in sugar, refined flour and unhealthy fat can damage the skin and its ability to protect the body. An unhealthy diet can negatively affect your skin and may even lead to dark spots, wrinkles and fine lines of aging. . Studies have shown that eating superfoods can work wonders on the skin. Diet and lifestyle have a huge impact on the complexion and overall skin health. . Let's have a look at the top 15 skin-friendly foods and how they protect your skin.
Avocado and Avocado Oil . Avocado is a skin-friendly fruit which helps in the production of collagen, a protein present in the skin that provides strength, smoothness and glow to your skin. Such a production is important for a wrinkle-free and younger-looking skin. . Consumption of avocado and its oil increases the content of soluble collagen and this helps in reducing the signs of aging. . Furthermore, healthy compounds present in avocado inhibit the activity of lysyl oxidase, a substance that causes damage to collagen and gives the skin a dull look . The effect is more pronounced when avocado oil is consumed as compared to the whole avocado.
Fatty Fish . Research has found that consumption of oily fish protects against acne and keeps the skin healthy. Fish is a great source of essential fatty acids (EFAs) like Omega-3 fatty acids that inhibit the inflammatory compounds and lower the level of inflammation, which is otherwise high during acne. . It further increases the blood flow to the skin and thus, helps in achieving blemish-free, supple and radiant skin. Trout, salmon, sardines and mackerel are some types of fatty fish.
Tomatoes . Tomatoes are an abundant source of lycopene, an antioxidant that protects the skin against damage caused by ultra-violet radiations and photo-oxidative stress. In other words, it prevents the generation of dangerous substances that harm the skin. . Exposure to UV radiation leads to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin. Thus, regular consumption of tomatoes can protect the skin against such harmful effects.
Green Tea . Studies have found that green tea consumption boosts skin immunity. Overexposure of skin to chemicals and environmental toxins can lead to oxidative stress. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols that fight oxidative stress and protect against toxins. . Catechins and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) are powerful antioxidants in green tea that can reduce premature skin aging and protect against the sunís damaging UV rays. Regular consumption of green tea makes one look younger and improves the skin health.
Papaya . Papaya is a super fruit which is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. Papaya is also used in various skin care preparations because it is extremely beneficial for the skin. . Research has found that papaya is a good source of vitamin A that helps to rebuild and restore damaged skin cells. It also possesses skin-lightening potential. Such an effect is attributed to the presence of the enzyme 'papain' in it. . Papaya further reverses skin aging and helps to keep the skin moist. Thus, adding papaya to your regular diet can improve overall skin health.
Strawberry . Strawberries contain polyphenols that protect against ultraviolet radiation-induced skin damage. . In addition to this, antioxidants present in strawberries fight against free radicals and boost skin health. This fruit is also loaded with vitamin C that exerts anti-aging effects and helps in skin lightening.
Cocoa . Cocoa is a rich source of flavonol, a plant chemical that is beneficial for the body. A study found that consumption of high flavonol cocoa increases blood flow and hydrates the skin. It further reduces scaling and roughness of skin. . Flavonols dilate the arteries and improve blood flow to the skin. Such an increase in the blood flow in turn increases the supply of nutrients and thus improves skin texture, and maintains skin integrity. . Flavonols present in cocoa reduce the sensitivity of the skin towards UV light. . Thus, consumption of cocoa or dark chocolate helps in maintaining skin health by improving skin function, structure and texture
Oatmeal . Oatmeal possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It suppresses the production of inflammatory compounds which are otherwise the main factors behind acne. . Healthy compounds present in oatmeal absorb the harmful ultraviolet radiations and further protect the skin against their harmful reactions. Oats contain saponin which acts as a natural cleanser and exfoliator.
Rosemary . Rosemary is not just a culinary spice but it also fights against acne and improves skin health. Bioactive compounds present in rosemary inhibit the bacteria that cause acne and inflammation of the skin. . A compound found in rosemary called carnosic acid suppresses skin inflammatory responses. Other similar compounds such as rosmarinic acid and carnosol inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds and further prevent skin damage.
Grapefruit . Grapefruit promotes the production of skin protein, collagen. It also helps fight free radicals and thus protects the skin. Furthermore, it inhibits the formation of fine lines and wrinkles and thus acts as an anti-aging agent. . Grapefruit is rich in carotenoids and vitamin A which help in the rejuvenation of the skin. Vitamin C present in grapefruit protects the skin against environmental and chemical toxins. Furthermore, grapefruit makes the skin smooth and soft.
Barley . Anthocyanins found in purple or black barley may also help slow down the aging of the skin and prevent wrinkles and age spots. They protect the skin against free radical damage and make the skin look younger. . Regular consumption of barley keeps the acne-causing hormones under check and thus keeps the skin clear and spotless. Another compound named azelaic acid present in barley kills acne-causing bacteria and reduces inflammation too.
Soy . Isoflavone, a compound present in soy, improves overall skin texture. It helps fight the signs of aging and gives a spotless, younger-looking skin. . Genistein present in soy protects the skin against damage caused by ultra-violet radiations and improves the production of collagen, thus helping to maintain skin elasticity. . It further increases dermal blood vessels and promotes the supply of nutrient-rich blood to the skin. Thus, consuming soy regularly makes the skin soft, smooth and healthy.
Ginseng . Ginseng has been used for over thousands of years to improve the overall skin health. Studies have found that ginseng is a natural and potent anti-aging agent. Compounds present in ginseng stimulate the skin's metabolism. . They also scavenge free radicals which get accumulated when the skin is exposed to pollution and UV radiations. . Roots of ginseng helps in the production of new cells. It further detoxifies and purifies blood which adds a glow to the skin.
Olive Oil . Olive oil has a beneficial effect on each organ of the body including the skin. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, which plays an important role in making the skin look younger. . Furthermore, antioxidants present in olive oil scavenge free radicals and protect against sun damage. Oliver oil further suppresses the colonization of bacteria that cause acne and other types of skin damage.
Red Wine . If consumed in moderation, red wine can do wonders to your skin. Resveratrol, a compound present in red wine and grapes (when consumed with the outer skin) protects the skin by quenching free radicals. Furthermore, it prevents cell death which can be caused due to overexposure to toxins. . Resveratrol further enhances collagen production and inhibits the activity of enzyme 'collagenase' that destroys collagen.
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