5 Ways to Help Reduce the Telltale Signs of Ageing Skin - dummies

By Michele Chevalley Hedge, Dan DeFigio

Part of Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies Cheat Sheet (Australian/New Zealand Edition)

Skin creams, lifters, enhancers, fillers and smoothers. The cosmetic industry is a multi-billion dollar business. But do you realise that what you eat and drink is even more important to the look of your skin than all of the products you find at a cosmetic counter? Here’s a list of ways you can help reduce the signs of ageing.

  • Eat antioxidant-rich foods. Antioxidants offset the free radical damage we are all exposed to in our day-to-day lives. To maximise your antioxidant intake, consume meals and snacks with plenty of colour. If your diet lacks fresh fruit and vegetables, your skin will be lacking in antioxidants and important phytonutrients.

    Aim to include two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables in your diet every day; especially highly antioxidant foods like red and yellow capsicum, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, berries, broccoli and leafy green vegetables. Green tea is full of antioxidants too, as is ginger, lemongrass and cinnamon herb teas, which are very tasty chilled over ice!

  • Get more vitamin C. Among other functions, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps protect the body against free radical damage. It also plays a big role in tissue repair, the production of collagen, and maintaining the health of capillaries.

    Make sure you include citrus fruit and other sources of vitamin C in your diet, such as kiwifruit, lemon and capsicum. Research suggests that women who consume regular quantities of vitamin C are less prone than others to develop wrinkles and skin dryness that often accompanies ageing.

  • Seek ‘smart’ fats. If you’re ready to boost your skin’s appearance, opt for smart fats. Smart fats are found in a number of nutritional fresh foods that contain omega-3, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. The protein component of fish may also support your complexion.

    On your next visit to the supermarket look out for flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds, olive oil and avocados too. These types of fats are rich in linoleic acid, which may help improve the visual appearance and softness of the skin. Research indicates that consuming high levels of linoleic acid may help prevent age-related skin dryness, thinning and fine lines. For a radiant glowing complexion, avoid deep fried and processed foods, which may contain ‘trans fats’ that contribute to the body’s free radical load. Whenever possible, minimise your intake of saturated fats found in meat and other animal products.

  • Dose up on zinc. Zinc is known to support the skin’s health in a variety of ways, including assisting with the formation of new collagen. Pumpkin seeds and oysters are rich in sources of zinc.

  • Sleep well, stay hydrated and mind the sun. Early morning sun is often the best for you and hydration is essential for keeping your skin looking supple. Drink six to eight glasses of water daily, especially during the hot Australian summer.