The way you eat is the key to protect your skin’s natural hydration and support the production of structural proteins such as collagen and elastin. Make sure your diet is well-balanced and rich in these powerful nutrients.
Research has shown that the dietary antioxidants such as vitamins C and E found in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, peppers and tomatoes can protect the skin against ultraviolet radiation damage and help reducing damage in skin cells caused by harmful free radicals, which contribute to aging skin (Godic, 2014). Besides, a daily intake of vitamin C is also found to promote the natural production of collagen in the skin (Pullar, 2017).
An intake of zinc can also be helpful! Zinc rich foods such as whole grains, cereals, beans, nuts and avocado are found to delay the visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and sagging, sooth sensitive skin and prevent dark spots (Gupta, 2014).
Dietary consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids Omega-3 found in nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds and oily fishes such as salmon and mackerel has showed to counteract with skin dryness and wrinkling and protect the skin from oxidative stress. The vitamin E content in Omega-3 acts as powerful antioxidant protecting your skin from oxidative stress (Boelsma, 2001). It helps reducing inflammation, which can cause redness and acne (De Mel, 2014). With age, women produces less estrogen which is essential for the elasticity and plumpness of the skin. Thus, phytoestrogens rich foods such as soy, flaxseeds and alfalfa may have anti-aging effect on the skin via estrogen receptors or increase in hyaluronic acid production (Sirotkin, 2014).
With regard to aging, the deposition of collagen decreases with chronological-aging and especially with the exposure to the sun. Collagen has been found to reduce visible sign of aging including skin pigmentation, dryness wrinkles and fine lines (Borumand, 2014). There are several studies showed that food-derived collagen hydrolysates can improve dermal health and skin cells by inhibiting the enzymes from breaking it down and enhancing the production of collagen (Vollmer, 2018). In one of the study, the skin roughness, skin moisture and skin elasticity of women aged 35-55 years was found to improve significantly after 8 weeks of consumption of 2.5–5 grams of collagen hydrolysate. Besides of helping in skin glowing, collagen is found to improve the appearance of stubborn cellulite (Schunck, 2015).
Wern Lli Yap, nutritionist, Bsc (Hons) Food Science and Nutrition