Your overall health is affected by everything you do or don’t put in your body. You are what you eat. Well this is an exaggeration, but the main message is true. Certain foods will aid in your flawless aging while others may do the opposite. Proper nutrition combined with a consistent skincare routine (+ sunscreen year-round!), anti-aging procedures, and exercise will promote your overall health and the skin’s ability to ward off the effects of aging. As the only dermatologist in the US offering DNA analysis specific to the skin, Dr. Hayag’s Skin Genomics RX provides each patient with a skincare and diet plan customized to your individual genetic code. Without further ado, read on for Dr. Hayag’s recommended foods.
- Olive Oil
Rich in monounsaturated (healthy) fats and antioxidants, olive oil helps reduce inflammation and oxidative damage. A study showed that monounsaturated fats were shown to decrease the risk of severe skin aging, which is why scientists associate olive oil with younger looking skin. A diet rich in olive oil has been linked to lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers. Choose cold pressed olive, if you have the choice, because it is less processed and higher in antioxidants. For natural anti-inflammation, try replacing your premade salad dressing with a fresh olive oil and vinegar blend!
- Green Tea
High in antioxidants, green tea aids in protecting against external aging caused by free radicals. Unfortunately, free radicals are all around us, in UV rays and pollution, but luckily antioxidants can help to stabilize these radicals before they can do damage to your cells. Keeping your diet antioxidant rich may reduce your risk of heart disease, neurological decline, and premature aging. Drinking a cup of green tea before bed is recommended for its antioxidant and external anti-aging properties.
- Fatty fish
Fatty fish are extremely beneficial for skin elasticity and hydration. This is because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a stronger overall skin barrier. They also have long chain omega-3 fats, which are beneficial against inflammation and heart disease. High in protein and selenium, fatty fish help to produce collagen and reduce DNA damage, respectively. Types of fatty fish include anchovies, bluefin tuna, whitefish, and many more, but the most popular is salmon. Whether prepared sashimi or cooked teriyaki, salmon has antioxidants that when previously mixed with collagen during research, resulted in significant improvements in skin elasticity and hydration. With so many options and ways to enjoy, including fatty fish in your diet is a no brainer.
- Dark chocolate or cocoa
Cocoa is abundant in antioxidants, especially flavanol, which has been linked to lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cognitive decline. Research has shown that consuming flavanol improves skin elasticity and wrinkles. Next time you are craving something sweet, grab a high cocoa content chocolate to treat your tummy and skin.
Vegetables are so good for you because they are nutrient dense. Many are rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, and vitamin C. Research suggests that a diet high in carotenoids, including carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, may protect the skin from UV rays. Vitamin C also protects the skin from harmful UV rays and plays an important role in collagen production. Leafy greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli are very high in vitamin C. Don’t obsess on any one vegetable, remember to mix it up with different colors because each color represents different antioxidants that will benefit your body.
- Flax seeds
Flax seeds contain lignans, a polyphenol with antioxidant effects which may help to lower risk of heart disease and breast cancer. They are also a type of omega-3 fatty acid, keeping your skin hydrated and plump. Studies have shown that flax seeds and oil make skin more hydrated and smoother. Flax seeds are great in a salad or smoothie! Other nuts and seeds, like sunflower seeds and walnuts are also good sources of antioxidants and healthy fats for the skin, respectively.
High in fiber, potassium, vitamin K, and antioxidants, pomegranates help to support your heart health. Pomegranate seeds and juice can also be considered as a quick source of antioxidants.
Rich in health fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, avocados help to promote healthy skin. Like olive oil, the high content of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants may support your skin membrane and fight free radical damage. Smash it for guacamole or cube it for a salad, either way avocados are a great source of nutrition for your skin.
Lycopene, the carotenoid in tomatoes which gives them their red color, acts as an antioxidant to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. In previous research, the consumption of lycopene and other nutrients caused a measurable decrease in wrinkle depth. Slice them for a sandwich or smash it for pizza sauce, tomatoes are so versatile they can fit into anyone's diet.
Soy contains isoflavones, a type of plant compound that mimics or blocks estrogen in your body. Isoflavones may improve skin dryness and increase collagen in postmenopausal women. Research shows that eating soy isoflavones everyday reduces fine wrinkles and improves skin elasticity. Not only do isoflavones protect the cells inside your body from damage, but they also can protect your skin from UV rays.
- Collagen peptides
Collagen protein is extremely important for the quality of your skin, hair, nails and joints. As we age, our body both breaks collagen down faster and produces less collagen, leading to more wrinkles and sagging skin. Protein and vitamin C rich foods support collagen synthesis, while sun tanning and cigarette smoking accelerate collagen breakdown. Chicken, tofu, fish, and eggs are all lean protein options.
No matter what, there is nothing that can completely halt the natural process of aging, but how we treat our body can speed up or slow down the process. Eating foods high in protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants are most beneficial for the look and feel of your skin. Along with eating a nutritious and well-rounded diet, it is important to be consistent with skin care and take preventative measures like wearing sunscreen. Our bodies are 60% water, so staying hydrated will keep your skin plump! Always remember, it’s important to keep everything in moderation, so don’t worry if not all your favorite foods are on this list.