The skin is the largest organ in the body--about 20 square feet--and the most vulnerable organ in the body. It's exposed to both the oxidizing effects of UV radiation from the sun and the oxidizing effects of oxygen in the air, and years of oxidant stress can take a toll. As we age, our skin becomes thinner, more easily damaged, loses volume and elasticity, and can sag and wrinkle. So what can we do about it?
Three things contribute to the aging of skin: 1) Oxidative stress induced by sun-damage, 2) inflammation, and 3) ischemia or lack of adequate blood flow. Oxidative stress means we need antioxidants so one might predict plant foods would help (see Antioxidant Power of Plant Foods Versus Animal Foods). Similarly saturated fat and cholesterol intake may contribute to inflammation and ischemia (see The Leaky Gut Theory of Why Animal Products Cause Inflammation and Blocking the First Step of Heart Disease). Let's see if our predictions hold up.
In my 3-min. video Beauty is More than Skin Deep I profile a study that concluded "In particular, a high intake of vegetables, legumes [beans, peas, lentils, and soy] and olive oil appeared to be protective against skin wrinkling, whereas a high intake of meat, dairy and butter appeared to have an adverse effect. Prunes, apples and tea appeared especially protective."
Another recent study found that green tea phytonutrients were able to protect skin against harmful UV radiation and help improve women's skin quality. After a few months on green tea there was a 16% reduction in skin roughness and a 25% reduction in scaling. See the video for micrographs that track the changes.
For an extraordinary report on green tea and skin health, check out: Treating Gorlin Syndrome With Green Tea.
Eating healthier can produce healthier skin, but who cares about microscopic changes? What about overt visible-to-the-naked eye changes? See my 2-min. video Preventing Wrinkles with Diet to see what dietary intervention may significantly protect against wrinkles in the crow's foot area around the eyes.
For other videos on appealing to vanity to get people to eat healthier, see:
- Golden Glow
- Produce, Not Pills to Increase Physical Attractiveness
- Rosy Glow
- Can Cellulite Be Treated With Diet?
Want to know what else green vegetables can do? I've got 45 videos on greens. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Prevent Glaucoma and See 27 Miles Farther
- Broccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells
- Kale and the Immune System
-Michael Greger, M.D.
Image credit: Orofacial / Flickr