Eat to Look Younger!
When we are young, our bodies are able to provide our skin with a great deal of connective tissue. Connective tissue is under the first few layers of skin that causes skin to be supple, strong and flexible when we are young, and it is comprised of collagen and elastin. Throughout life our bodies absorb certain levels of collagen and elastin, but more is always produced. As we age, your skin gets thinner and dryer. Collagen and elastin — the networks of fibers that make your skin firm and elastic — become disconnected, causing skin to sag and wrinkle. Your cells simply slow down: New skin cells don’t grow as quickly and dead cells don’t shed as quickly, resulting in dull, grayish skin. Older skin is more likely to develop brown spots because pigment cells, or melanocytes, begin to grow irregularly
The best thing we can do is make sure we are eating foods or consuming vitamins & minerals that support collagen production. Believe or not, when you hit the age of 25, you should be starting to think about taking extra care of your skin! That is if you want to remain looking younger! My mother even as a teenager, made sure I took care of my skin on a regular basis from creams to eating properly. But the most important and most likely to help, is what you eat!!!
As a Personal Trainer, I am amazed at how LITTLE water 80% of people I speak to drink! This is so important for many reasons, but also for healthy skin!!! We also know that repeated exposure to the sun will make the aging processes much more apparent. The sun’s UV rays get absorbed into the upper epidermis (the dead layer of skin) which sheds off quickly. Yet, not all of the sun is absorbed this way, and some UV rays get absorbed by the melanin cells that lie beneath that upper layer of skin. Melanin cells are those that dictate the color of our skin, and when the UV rays are absorbed, the melanin makes our skin appear darker. These rays also break down the collagen and elastin mentioned earlier, so that skin loses flexibility and sags, causing wrinkles. Catch the wrong rays and you could be exposed to melanoma: cancer of the melanin cells. The sun can cause uneven pigmentation.
Collagen is a tough protein that comprises 30 percent of your body protein. This protein helps support your bones, tendons and connective tissues. Collagen also helps support the health of your hair and skin and is important for proper wound healing. Consuming a diet rich in specific vitamins and minerals is important for proper collagen formation in your body.
Here are some of the most important vitamins and minerals needed to help support collagen production. Also, the foods that these vitamins and minerals can be found:
- Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is required to produce collagen. Vitamin C comes from a number of food sources, including pineapple, citrus fruits, red peppers, tomatoes and broccoli. It is recommended to consume between 75 and 120 mg of vitamin C each day to prevent deficiency & support collagen production.
- Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that stimulates collagen production. Retinol, form of vitamin A, is the base for many skin-care products because it has been shown to change the structure of skin collagen, leading to plump appearance and reduced pore size. Vitamin A increases the activity of enzymes in collagen and improves elasticity. Deficiency in vitamin A leads to decreased collagen production. Sources include mangoes, carrots and green vegetables.It is recommended to consume 2,300 IU of vitamin A per day for women or 3,000 IU per day for men to help promote collagen production
- Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant important to collagen formation and skin turnover. It protects from sun damage and eliminates free radicals that form from sun exposure. Vitamin E has a synergistic effect with vitamin A in protecting skin collagen from sun exposure. Sources include almonds, avocado, olive oil and deep green leafy vegetables. It is recommended to consume 22.4 IU per day.
- Lysine helps the body absorb calcium and also helps to form collagen. Foods rich in protein contain the most lysine. Examples of animal and plant proteins that contain lysine are sardines, red meat, nuts, eggs and soybeans. It is recommended to take in 12mg per kilogram of body weight.
- Manganese is a mineral that plays a role in collagen production. Manganese is essential for the proper function of prolidase, an enzyme that supplies the necessary amino acids for collagen production in your skin. Therefore, manganese has an important role in proper wound healing. This mineral can be found in many dietary sources including pineapples, almonds, pecans, peanuts, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, navy beans, pinto beans, spinach, and sweet potatoes. It is recommended to consume 2mg – 5mg per day.
- Zinc is an important mineral necessary for a healthy immune system and wound healing. Zinc is also essential for the formation of protein and collagen in your body. Good dietary sources of this mineral include beef, beans, black strap molasses, egg yolks, fish, lamb, poultry, pork, milk, oysters, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and whole grains. It is recommended to take 8mg to 11mg per day.
Seems like a lot and how do you know if you are getting enough? Basically just try and eat a very balanced diet and choose the foods that are giving you what you need! If you look at all the foods, it is interesting to see how they are the “super foods” I recommend to eat. Sweet potato, dark green veggies, citrus fruit, seeds, nuts, Lean proteins, etc. We take our youth for granted. I know I have! Especially if you feel and look young. But there will come a day, if you don’t take care of yourself, where you wake up and see the age creeping up! I know I want to live life feeling and looking young! When you are 22 eating like crap and bragging about how great you look is something that will come back and bite you in the ass! But more like slap extra “bad” weight no your ass! Plus, make you age prematurely. Just because you look great young doesn’t mean you will look great old! So take care of yourself so you can enjoy life at an older age like you were still in those younger years!!!