by Libby Baker
Fruits and vegetables have long been touted as the fountain of youth in food form, due to their antioxidant-rich, hydrating, and healing powers. But did you know you can take years off your face with the food that you eat? Skip the plastic surgery, nix the toxic chemical beauty treatments, and reclaim your youth by incorporating (or avoiding) these foods in your diet.
The lycopene in tomatoes can certainly brighten up your skin, and the vitamin C helps clean up blemishes. It is also a powerful antioxidant that rebuilds environmental damage in the skin, erasing wrinkles. Here are some great tomato-rich recipes to try.
Placing cucumber slices on your eyes are a popular spa treatment to help reduce swelling, but did you know including lots of hydrating raw cucumbers in your diet can create clear, radiant, glowing skin, as well as reduce blemishes? The silica in in cucumbers boost your skin’s production of collagen, plumping out wrinkles and promoting elasticity. Make sure to leave on the green peel for maximum benefits, and tantalize your tastebuds with these cool cucumber dishes.
Loaded with skin-benefitting beta carotene, eating raw carrots can keep skin supple and youthful. And you don’t have to go to the beach for that summer glow with bunches of carrots in your fridge! Eating up to one cup of carrots a day can help create a pleasing color and glow without the dangers and aging effects of sun exposure. Get your quota and your glow with these amazing carrot recipes!
While some vegetables, like tomatoes, broccoli and spinach get a nutritional boost with a little cooking, many fruits and vegetables have maximum benefits to skin, digestion, and blood circulation when eaten raw. However, if cooking is preferred, opt to lightly steam, rather than roasting, baking or frying, which changes the chemical composition of food. Fill your diet with antioxidant-rich raw fruits, nuts, and vegetables, such as cranberries, walnuts, and red bell peppers. Here are some unbelievable raw recipes to get you started.
Squeezing a little lemon juice into your water can detox and cleanse your liver, which optimizes its efficiency at detoxifying your body. A clean liver means clean, healthy skin! And don’t forget to drink lots of water while you’re at it. Keeping your body hydrated and maintaining body fluid levels is key to a youthful appearance.
When you eat sugar, a process known as glycation occurs. The sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called “advanced glycation end products,” which then damage adjacent proteins, such as collagen and elastin, as well as increasing the risk of age-related diseases such as cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and stroke. Additionally, a diet high in sugar will actually cause the body to create less resilient new collagen! So even a young person on a high sugar diet is setting themselves up for premature aging. But not all is lost! Cutting sugar from your diet can allow your body to repair the damage and rebuild weakened collagen, according to recent studies. And you don’t have to go sweet-free; swap sugar with any of these healthy alternatives.
A little imbibing once in a while can be okay, but alcohol is a diuretic, which saps the natural moisture from your skin, leading to wrinkles. Over time, excessive imbibing can cause blood vessels to swell and store fat in the form of triglycerides.
3. Meat and Dairy
According to Dr. Michael Greger, within just a few hours, a single meal of an animal product triggers inflammation in the body: an immune response to a perceived threat. In the case of animal products, the threat is a surge of bacterial endotoxins in the bloodstream. This inflammation quickly results in a stiffening of the arteries. Consistent intake of animal products can lead to a slew of diseases and illnesses, the least of which is wrinkles and premature aging! Thankfully, there are plenty of meat, dairy and egg alternatives available. Try these delicious faux-meats, ditch the dairy, and who needs eggs with these 50 egg-free recipes?
4. Fried Foods
Even good veggies can turn bad when they are fried. Frying foods changes the chemical composition of food, zapping nutrients and essential liquids, creating carcinogens and other toxins, and causing oil retention and inflammation in the body. That’s bad for you and devastating for your skin!
Like alcohol, caffeine is extremely dehydrating, leading the body to over-produce the hormone cortisol, which can stress the skin and lead to fine lines and wrinkles. These is also evidence that too much caffeine can disturb sleep cycles, leading to tired, puffy eyes and exhaustion. While a little bit of caffeine can give you a much needed boost, try not to go overboard! Try a healthy, energy boosting snack, like an apple, energizing yoga poses, or meditation to boost energy instead.
Image source: wolfgangfoto/Flickr
This content provided above is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.