You are what you eat. When it comes to skin and beauty, what you put into your body is just as important as what you put onto your body. Changing your diet can have impressive effects on your skin. As you age, your body naturally slows down the production of collagen, a protein responsible for keeping skin healthy, plump and young-looking. To combat the natural aging process, try adding the following five foods that help build collagen to your diet.
Experts recommend consuming red vegetables for collagen building due to the lycopene contained within. Brooke Alpert, a New York based nutritionist, says “lycopene acts as a natural sunblock, protecting the skin from damage while increasing collagen levels.” A study published in the British Society for Investigative Dermatology reports similar findings. Subjects of the study who consumed tomato paste had 33% more protection from sun damage than a control group of participants. If tomatoes aren’t your thing, pick up other red vegetables like sweet red peppers, chili peppers or beets.
“Fish like tuna and salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acid,” Alpert says. This benefits your skin, and collagen function, because cells are protected by a fatty membrane that surrounds them. With this fatty membrane in place, cells function properly and are able to fully support the skin structure. Aim to eat fish two to three nights per week to get your omega-3 fatty acids. Another excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids is walnuts, so you may want to keep those on hand for quick and healthy snacking.
Dark Green Vegetables
Dark green vegetables such as kale and spinach can help boost your collagen production. Orlando dermatologist, Dr. Dimitry Palceski, states “vitamin C has antioxidizing properties that stabilize the messenger enzymes that break down collagen. It also protects against free radicals to prevent weak collagen.” It’s quite easy to incorporate more dark green vegetables into your diet. Swap iceberg lettuce for more nutritious alternatives such as romaine, butterhead and arugula lettuces.
Soy contains plant hormones that serve as antioxidants known as genistein. Genistein helps to block enzymes that are harmful to collagen as well as prompting the production of collagen. Another reason to enjoy soy for great skin is the plant-derived compound isoflavones. A specific form of isoflavones called aglycones lessen visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. Tofu and tempeh are excellent sources of soy, and tempeh has tons of protein. However, you don’t have to love tofu to get soy in your diet. Substitute your regular or chocolate milk for soy milk or try a soy-based cheese on your next pizza.
You know that drinking green tea has some great health benefits, including some for your skin, but you might want to swap your green tea for white tea to help build collagen. A Kingston University London study looked at green tea skin benefits and white tea skin benefits and the data showed that white tea is estimated to have three to six times the amount of green tea when it comes to protecting the skin’s matrix. White tea is thought to protect the structural proteins of the skin, collagen included. Additionally, white tea adds antioxidant benefits that fight free radical damage.
Eating a well-rounded diet full of vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients may dramatically improve your skin from the inside out. When you incorporate the proper ingredients into your diet, your skin will reflect these healthy changes and become clearer, stronger and more radiant. The next time you take a trip to your grocery store, load up on these foods to protect your skin and help build collagen.