Emerging studies show that certain dietary items protect against the visible signs of aging, but the reality of the North American diet often causes us to shun protective agents found in foods and beverages. Research shows that we live in denial about our own dietary habits, assuming that we generally eat healthy, while it is “everybody else” that needs a change. We hope the candid discussions in this article about diet and the visible signs of aging will encourage you to make a change, to make the foods and drinks that protect against skin aging the rule, rather than the exception, and to minimize your intake of foods that attack the long-term health of the skin layers.
The problem is not just the foods we eat – but also how we prepare them. Often articles in magazines and on websites are devoted to healthy skin foods, yet there is no discussion about how food preparation impacts the health of the skin and its aging process. We will introduce you to an entirely new concept that is ignored by beauty experts, even those who claim to be nutrition experts: Advanced Glycation End-products, or aptly named AGEs, in foods that are cooked on high heat in the absence of moisture. These food-based AGEs cause inflammation and oxidative stress and attack your collagen.
With the recipes provided by Tokyo native Yoshiko Sato, we will help you end this vicious AGE nutritional cycle by taking a leaf out of Japanese food preparation. Until now, beauty experts have focused primarily on the fact that too much dietary sugar could cause collagen-damaging glycation in the skin. As you will see, turning off the oven, using a steamer, and poaching, boiling, simmering, or stewing your foods can go a long way in the effort to maintain a youthful and glowing appearance. In the coming years, we expect AGEs in food to be considered as important as the food’s fat or sugar content.
The intestinal tract is an organ that can make or break youthful skin. For more than a century, researchers have made connections among healthy gut bacteria, healthy skin, and the aging process itself. It may seem implausible that your gut could have anything other than a minimal impact on the condition of the skin. Yet in many ways, so-called friendly intestinal-tract bacteria can positively influence skin health and minimize chemicals that promote the development of visible signs of aging. We will discuss these complex pathways in straightforward and understandable terms. By the time you are finished with the gut-skin article, you will agree that yogurt, fermented foods, and other sources of good bacteria are the skin’s best friend. Any book that attempts to discuss nutritional skin care – or nutritional aspects of any disease, for that matter – in the absence of stress and lifestyle considerations is an incomplete work.