Combat Wrinkles with a Healthy Diet
Britta Schmeis, dpa
Posted July 2, 2012
How about berries instead of Botox, tomatoes
instead of day cream, carrots instead of make-up? Many foods are
beauty aids that make expensive creams and treatments unnecessary.
Their effects are not immediate, though.
"Foods aren't medications that work overnight," noted Hans Lauber,
a nutrition expert and author from Munich. Rather than a short-term
impact, many foods have a preventative and, above all, lasting
effect, he said.
"This means it's never too late to start holding back the skin's
ageing a bit and ensuring a glowing complexion," remarked Michaela
Axt-Gadermann, a dermatologist and professor of health promotion at
Germany's Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Skin ageing
has a lot to do with subdermal inflammation and can be resisted with
the right natural products, she said.
"Meat, sausage or other animal foods are wrinkle accelerators
because they contain arachidonic acid, which is also formed in our
body when we eat foods containing omega-6 fatty acids such as
margarine and sunflower oil," Axt-Gadermann explained. The same, she
said, goes for free radicals, a type of unstable molecule that
multiplies as a result of improper nutrition, sunlight and smoking -
and attacks the body's cells.
But there are dietary counterweights: "Berries have a strong
protective effect against free radicals; that is, they've got a lot
of antioxidants," said Lauber, referring to substances that interact
with and stabilise free radicals. "And the rule is, the darker, the
According to Axt-Gadermann, a glass of elderberry juice has the
protective potential of 14 glasses of red grape juice and 55 glasses
of apple juice. A small amount of sour berries also covers a person's
daily requirement of vitamin C, which improves the elasticity of the
skin and promotes digestion.
Spinach, too, has an enormous protective effect, Lauber said, 100
grams of it packing the protective punch of 240 grams of rucola or
1,900 grams of cucumbers. Broccoli is also a highly beneficial food,
he said, with an almost medicinal effect like many other green
vegetables, which - thanks to their high vitamin-B content -
alleviate minor inflammations and thus make for a fresh complexion
and healthy skin. And Lauber swears by the beauty aid beloved of
fashion models, namely green tea.
The carotenoids in tomatoes and carrots not only delay skin ageing
but also protect against the sun, Axt-Gadermann noted. "Most people
forget that they're exposed to the sun every day and don't put on
sunscreen," she said, adding that regular consumption of tomato and
carrot products provided a sun protection factor of 4. What is more,
eating carrots results in a fresh-looking complexion.
A healthy diet also includes carbohydrates and fats, "both of
which our body needs," said Harald Seitz, a home economist and
nutritionist for the consumer information service "aid" in Germany.
He pointed out that whole grain products contain carbohydrates and
are, like fruit and vegetables, rich in dietary fibre.
"They promote regular digestion, which is also a prerequisite for
beautiful skin," Seitz said. In addition, he recommended eating
omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in walnut oil and rapeseed oil.
Proteins have anti-ageing qualities and can also repair minor skin
damage, according to Seitz. "Our skin is made up of collagen, which
is formed from building blocks of protein," he explained. Collagen is
needed for the formation and replacement of body cells.
Seitz said that ideal foods in this regard were sour milk products
such as yogurt, whey and buttermilk, which provided plenty of protein
but were low in calories.
Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH