The recipe for younger skin: nutritional options combat aging

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

The recipe for younger skin: nutritional options combat aging

Related tags: Nutrition, Protein

What we eat and the way food is prepared can affect the way our skin ages due to its effect on the elastin and collagen in our bodies; and is something often overlooked according to exclusive insight from the AGE Foundation.

Earlier this month new research revealed there is a link between the sugars in the foods we eat and the wrinkles we find on our faces and bodies​, due to glycation and its effect on the proteins in our skin.

The AGE Foundation tells USA that this is down to Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) which are harmful compounds that develop in the body or are ingested through certain foods, forming in the body when excess sugar and protein combine.

Aging from the inside out

When too many AGEs are created or consumed, they accumulate in our tissues and accelerate the aging process from the inside out.

“As AGEs build up in our skin, they weaken the elastin and collagen proteins that are responsible for maintaining the support and elasticity crucial for skin health,”​ reveals an AGE Foundation spokesperson.

“Collagen makes up 75 percent of skin and wards off wrinkles as we age. When AGEs reach high levels in skin tissue, the collagen protein becomes less effective, causing the formation of wrinkles and fine lines to increase.”

While research surrounding the impact of AGEs has been going on for more than 40 years, AGEs are only recently making their way into the public health and wellness discussion; and awareness needs to be increased according to this organization.

Preparation and diet are key

Because AGEs are one of the primary causes of skin aging, one of the most effective ways to reduce AGEs is through good nutritional habits as it can help slow AGE-related damage to the skin.

AGEs are found in many foods that are sugary or processed, and the AGE Foundation says it is best to avoid these products. 

It’s an age-old tale, but fruits and vegetables are the preferred food choice as they contain iridoids, which are phytonutrients found in certain plants that are known to fight infection, disease and AGEs.

Because cooking methods contribute to AGE formation, they can also be limited through modifying the way foods are prepared, with methods such as barbecuing, sautéing or toasting on the forbidden list, whilst slow cooking is preferred.

The best methods? AGE Foundation claims them to be steaming, poaching or boiling.

Smoking and sun damage also increase AGEs in the skin, making it more susceptible to damage. Beyond the effects of high levels of AGEs on the skin, research also identifies AGEs as major contributors to complications associated with diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and more.

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