It’s no secret that a healthy diet can give you a radiant and luminous complexion, but did you know it can also help slow down the ageing process?
Most women begin to notice skin changes such as fine lines and hyperpigmentation (dark spots) in their late 20s or early 30s, but Australian women report more severe signs of facial ageing sooner than those from the U.S, according to a study published in The Australasian Journal of Dermatology.
This is often attributed to our harsher environment and higher solar UV radiation levels which accelerate the ageing process.
Yet, diet is often overlooked as a way of improving your skin, with cosmetic procedures and skincare products hailed as the first line of defence against premature ageing.
So when I turned 30 eight weeks ago, I decided skip the stronger serums and instead adopt the ‘anti-ageing diet’ which promises to improve your skin from within.
The diet aims to reduce the number of toxins you consume in foods and increase the antioxidants that fight inflammation. This can help give you achieve glowing skin, while minimising fine lines and wrinkles.
According to dermatologist Dr John Sullivan, the key is reducing inflammation that disrupts the normal function of the skin and can lead to a dry, rough and more dull appearance.
“Inflammation has been shown to play an important role in many of the detrimental impacts on the body and skin we attribute to ageing,” he says.
“This can come from our harsh environment such as UV-induced damage, dryness from low humidity and winds along with pollution.”
To counteract and reduce any further inflammation, the anti-ageing diet encourages people to avoid a high-GI diet full of sugary, processed foods such as cakes and biscuits, while also limiting milk and alcohol consumption.
This is because alcohol dehydrates the body, including the skin – the body’s largest organ. Like refined sugar foods, it promotes premature ageing by causing inflammation in our cells.
“It’s not uncommon after a big weekend with alcohol and poor food choices to see many skin problems flare,” says Dr Sullivan.
Instead, the anti-ageing diet focuses on incorporating more green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli), garlic; and Vitamin C (sweet potatoes, watercress) and omega-3 rich foods (oily fish, walnuts) into your daily meals.
Research shows that Vitamin C helps protect our skin from free radicals caused by external factors (smoking, pollution and sun exposure) which age us, whereas carotenoid-rich and omega-3 foods can boost collagen production.
“These are important for maintaining a healthy skin barrier which equates with well-hydrated, healthy, more glowing skin and the reduction in some inflammatory skin problems,” explains Dr Sullivan.
However, the anti-ageing diet is no quick fix. With skin cell turnover occurring every 28 to 35 days, results aren’t visible until at least the four-week mark.
And while I didn’t stick to the diet rigidly (I still had dark chocolate and a few drinks) – two months down – the results are obvious. I’ve not only noticed my skin is plumper and firmer than before, but I’m also three kilograms lighter.
So, if you’re wanting a more youthful complexion, don’t just focus on the anti-ageing products you’re lathering on your face. Combine them with nutrient-rich foods that can also help slow down the ageing process.
If you found this interesting, you should try this healthy turmeric porridge that fights inflammation, and the fast food a dietician actually orders.
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