Our pop culture is obsessed with it, we have a booming cosmetic industry that offers countless creams, pills and other products marketed to help us secure it, but what about the power of food to aid us in our quest to ‘age gracefully’?
Skincare and genes have something to do with it, but there’s a third equally important contributor to a healthy, glowing skin – the food you eat.
What makes your skin age and lose its radiance?
Skin is where the first signs of aging make their appearance. Fine lines and subtle wrinkles can appear as early as your mid-20s, and by your mid-30s, age can really start to show. As you grow older, your skin loses its elasticity and things tend to sag, droop, and generally head south.
The droopy state of affairs just described is largely attributed to a decrease in collagen, a fibrous structural protein found abundantly in young skin. Collagen’s primary role is to maintain firmness by binding the tissues of the skin together. Made up of amino acids such as glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine, collagen along with other proteins like keratin and elastin give your skin its fullness, elasticity and youthfulness.
With age, cell turnover slows down and a series of biochemical reactions trigger the breakdown of collagen in your skin, taking away its suppleness and leaving it looking wrinkled, dehydrated and, well… old. The destruction of collagen, elastin, and keratin are the major factors that contribute to the loss of skin suppleness, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and the lack of radiance with advancing age.
How can you increase collagen production?
While you can opt for a skin care regimen that works towards maintaining a youthful appearance, there’s a natural and more effective way to replenish proteins, helping keep your skin looking young and your hair shiny. Food is an excellent way to naturally boost collagen production by providing your body the nutrients it needs to build collagen and other proteins!
Scientists have found that certain nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy skin – Vitamin A, C, E and beta-carotene to name a few! These nutrients reduce wrinkles, prevent acne, and improve overall skin health and radiance. By eating foods rich in these skin-friendly collagen-producing nutrients, you’re setting yourself up to become beautiful from the inside out.
Leafy Greens & Collagen Production
Greens earn a position on every top 10 list of healthy foods. Jill Nussinow, a registered dietician and author of “The Veggie Queen” states greens are the Number 1 food to improve your health. She lists kale, collards, turnip greens, swiss chard and spinach as powerhouses of nutrition, packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
While there is a veritable laundry list of health benefits attributed to dark green vegetables, they are also excellent sources of collagen-producing agents like Vitamin C (more than what you find in Oranges and with less sugar!) that help your body manufacture collagen and utilize it effectively to rebuild skin and restore its suppleness.
Leafy greens like spinach, cabbage, and kale are rich in an antioxidant called lutein that boosts skin hydration and elasticity, fights wrinkles, and supports new skin cell formation.
Who knew that all this time, the best-kept secret to beautiful glowing skin was in your refrigerator? You can rev up collagen production with greens like kale, romaine, spinach, celery and cucumber to restore and regenerate damaged skin and delay the onset of aging.