Prevent Wrinkles with Whole Foods – And Protect Your Health in the Process
Your skin, your largest and heaviest organ, mirrors the health of your body. Your 20 pounds or more of skin protect you, regulate body temperature, make essential chemicals, and allow you to feel touch, temperature, and pressure.
The complexity of your skin is dazzling and important to appreciate. In just one square inch of skin you have about 500 sweat glands, 1,000 nerve endings, yards of tiny blood vessels for nourishment, 100 oil glands, 150 pressure sensors, and millions of cells. This intricate structure is separated into an inner and outer layer of skin. Each layer, in turn, has its own distinct architecture of many additional layers.
The deeper skin layer has both tough and stretchy protein fibers. As you age, your skin becomes thinner and less elastic. The protein fibers have less ability to bind water to keep your skin plumped.
Wrinkles form. While these marks of long life can be beautiful, the larger concern is that premature skin aging signals poor eating habits that can impair longevity and enjoyment of life. A diet rich in whole plant foods shields your skin from damage that can lead to wrinkling. Here’s why.
Radiation from the sun or a tanning booth causes free radicals to form. These are electrically charged particles that can damage cells in your skin.
Note free radicals emerge as part of normal metabolism, so all your cells (skin included) are bombarded by these hazardous particles even without any sun exposure. Environmental pollutants, smoking, and manmade chemicals in most personal care and cleaning products also generate free radicals.
Vitamins and phytochemicals (beneficial substances found only in plants) are powerful destroyers of free radicals. These food molecules that attack free radicals are also called “antioxidants.”
Herbs and spices are particularly rich in protective phytochemicals. However, all the classes of whole plant foods are also excellent sources of protective antioxidants. Eat abundantly of vegetables, fruits, beans, potatoes, and whole grains cooked without added oils. Nuts and seeds in small amounts should supplement these foods four to six times a week.
You will do best to eat fresh, frozen, or dried minimally processed plant foods. Supplements – pills and liquids which unnaturally
concentrate isolated nutrients – cannot destroy free radicals and support good health with nearly the effectiveness that whole plant foods do. There’s no way around it. If you want to look better, you need to eat better.
While whole plant foods protect your skin from aging and wrinkles, meat, dairy, butter, margarine, and sugar are associated with increased skin damage. These dangerous foods contribute to free radical damage and inflammation throughout your body.
So that’s the link between premature skin wrinkling and poor health. A diet based on animal foods and manufactured foods, while deficient in whole plant foods, contributes to cell damage and illness in every part of your body.
Eating fruits and vegetables contributes to higher bone mineral density, helps maintain muscle mass as you get older, and is protective of chronic disease – including cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, and cancer.
Since your skin is the most visible part of your body, premature wrinkles should be a warning that you are not making good food choices. Your skin works hard to perform its various functions and protect you. Your eating selections can, in turn, protect your skin and make its job easier. The advantages will show up in a smoother appearance and overall better health.
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Blog by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet, a nutrition book built on sustainable food choices. Enjoy six kinds of whole foods for permanent, hunger-free weight loss and health.