Me & Latia

Me & Latia
Partners @ Attitude = Performance

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Eating Your Way to Smoother, Younger Skin

A recent study shows omega 3 fatty acids actually protect the skin from the inflammatory response (sunburn) after too much sun exposure. So the redness you see after a sunburn, which is actually inflammation in your skin, is much less when you have a diet high in omega 3 fats.

And, even better, the study’s findings also show that omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in preventing and reducing the damaging effects of sun—including skin cancer! Omega 3 fatty acids increase the time it takes to become sunburned, very similar to what sunscreens do. Edible sunscreen.

And there is strong evidence that dietary omega 3 fatty acids actually inhibit cancerous changes that occur after ultraviolet radiation, including decreasing tumor growth and reducing cancer cells’ ability to multiply. Omega 3 fatty acids are powerful sunscreen for sure. According to another study published in the American Health Foundation Journal:

“Epidemiological, experimental, and mechanistic data implicate omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as stimulators and long-chain omega 3 PUFAs as inhibitors of development and progression of a range of human cancers, including melanoma”.
By contrast, the same levels of omega 6 fatty acids (from vegetable oils, grains and meat from grain-fed animals) actually increase cancerous changes that occur after exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

So the “Standard American Diet” that most Americans consume which is much too heavy in omega 6 fatty acids and lacking in omega 3’s, not only contributes to a worse sunburn, but it also contributes to the aging effect of sun on the skin. A diet high in trans fats and omega 6 fats ages skin faster, and brings about older-looking skin and wrinkles.

The BEST way to avoid damaging your skin and minimizing the effects of sun damage starts on the inside, not the outside.

One of the best ways to prevent sun damage, absorb healthy vitamin D, and protect your skin, is with diet. Your body can actually create its own natural sunscreen with the right dietary components.
The best omega 3 fatty acids containing EPA and DHA, are found in animal products such as grass-fed meat; cold-water, wild caught fish such as sardines, anchovies, salmon, black cod, mackerel, and organic pastured free range chickens/eggs.

It is key to remember, though that maintaining an optimal balance of omega 6’s to omega 3’s (3:1, or lower) is critical. Most modern diets are way too heavy with omega 6 fats compared to omega 3 fats, with most people at a 20:1 ratio or worse.

Eliminate or minimize the processed vegetable oils (like soy, corn, canola, cottonseed, sunflower and safflower oil) in favor of grass fed butter, lard or tallow, monounsaturated fats like virgin olive oil and healthy saturated fat such as coconut oil for cooking or baking.

Load up on your antioxidants to protect your skin. Carotenoids are antioxidants that protect plants and animals from excess sunshine. When we ingest carotenoids, they are deposited into our skin to help prevent UV damage and oxidative stress that can lead to wrinkles and skin cancer.

Beta-carotene – one type of carotenoid found mostly in red and orange produce — is linked to reduce reactions to sunburns, and flavonoid rich orange and pink citrus fruits have also been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect against UV rays.

Beta-carotene has one other noticeable benefit for your skin. Beta-carotene gives your skin a warmer, golden color. People who eat diets high in beta-carotene actually have a healthier glow than those whose diets are low in this nutrient.

Best sources of carotenoids are free-range organic eggs, dark-green leafy vegetables (kale, collards, baby greens and organic spinach), and yellow-orange fruits and vegetables (mangoes, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash).

A research study by Köpcke & Krutmann concluded that beta-carotene is highly effective in protecting against sunburn and that the amount of time it was ingested is important:
The longer the duration of supplementation, the stronger the effect. A minimum of 10 weeks was needed to see results, and the protective effect increased with each additional month of supplementation.

The most potent carotenoid is the red pigment found in salmon, trout, shrimp, and lobsters. It is known as astaxanthin. Once in your body, astaxanthin is 1,000 times more effective at protecting skin from UV damage and oxidation than other carotenoids.

What is the best source of skin protecting astaxanthin? Most people would never guess it, but it’s Krill Oil! Approx 2 mg/day is a dose sufficient enough to have significant effects on protecting the skin from damage.

If you want one of the best fish oils that I’ve found on that market (non-rancid, which is a problem with some brands), that is also one of the best prices in terms of quantity of DHA and EPA, check out this brand.

Include lycopene in your diet. Lycopene is another skin-protecting antioxidant. It’s pretty easy to get lycopene in the summer, since it is found in red fruits such as tomatoes, red bell pepper and watermelon. Lycopene’s potency is actually increased with cooking, so tomato sauce and tomato paste have more concentrated amounts of lycopene than fresh tomatoes. In studies with lycopene, it was shown that people who consumed 55 grams (just 5 tablespoons) a day of lycopene in tomato paste had 33% more protection against sunburn compared to a control group after 12 weeks.

Also try to get a lot of your antioxidants from green tea, black tea, white tea or oolong tea. Drinking 3-4 cups of tea a day has major antioxidant and skin-protecting benefits. Green tea contains antioxidants called polyphenols that boost the ability of skin to protect itself from the sun. The polyphenols in green, white, and oolong tea actually reduce damage caused by ultraviolet rays and protect it from sun damage, both when applied externally as a topical cream or a lotion, and when consumed as a drink.

Snack on vitamin and flavanol-rich fruit and vegetables instead starchy carbohydrates and sugary snacks. Summer months bring us delicious, antioxidant-heavy berries and other fruit such as mangoes, kiwis, peaches and plums. These fruits are also rich in vitamin C, known for its role in building collagen, and preventing wrinkles and photo damage through its anti-inflammatory action.

Get your greens too! If it’s green and leafy, it’s good for your skin too! Fresh herbs, especially parsley, basil, cilantro, sage and rosemary are packed with antioxidants that prevent wrinkles from forming. Don’t forget other dark green superfoods such as spinach, kale, arugula, swiss chard and baby greens. The polyphenols and carotenoids these contain are better than the most expensive skin creams.

Cruciferous vegetables smooth out the skin with their long list of powerful antioxidants. They also contain contain sulforaphane, which is linked to increasing the skin’s ability to protect itself from cancer.

And don’t forget the dark chocolate and cocoa. Those rich flavonoids that are in dark chocolate actually improve the skin’s ability to protect itself from the sun and reduce sunburn too. And flavonoids help to keep the skin hydrated, increase oxygen to the skin and boost blood circulation. Just be sure to eat chocolate that contains a minimum of 70% cacao for the best benefit… if you can handle the less sweet and slightly bitter flavor of stronger chocolate, go for 80% or higher, and you’ll save sugar calories while also reaping even more antioxidant health benefits. Try to choose organic dark chocolate too if you can to help reduce your overall chemical/pesticide load.

You can also get a lot of the antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate with a lot less calories by using organic cocoa powder in your smoothies or in home-made hot cocoa. A heaping teaspoon of organic cocoa powder in your regular smoothies can help to lower blood pressure and gives you boatloads of protective antioxidants. You even get several grams of fiber per spoonful of cocoa without much calories at all.

Age-Erasing Anti-Wrinkle Foods:

Salmon, Trout, Shrimp, Lobster
Blue Green Algae
Cold Water Wild Caught Fish
Grass Fed Beef, Lamb, Goat
Free Range Organic, Pasture Raised Chicken
Butter (from Grass Fed Cows)
Coconut Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Baby Greens
Swiss Chard
Beet Greens
Mustard Greens
Brussels sprouts

Sweet Potatoes
Red Grapes
Red Bell Pepper
Red Grapefruit
Green, White, Red Rooibos and Oolong Tea
Dark Chocolate
Organic Coffee

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