Here’s a quick primer on skin and wrinkles. There’s a tissue in the tough inner layer of the human dermis — collagen — that tightens the skin, making it look young and healthy. As your skin ages, it loses collagen and elasticity, making it more slack, which in turn causes wrinkles. Even though wrinkles are a natural part of aging, most of us want to avoid them any way possible.
So, how can you keep the collagen in your skin?
The good news is that, in addition to topical creams and in-office treatments from a dermatologist, food can also naturally help to repair and boost collagen and keep your skin looking its best.
Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your skin, as water will keep skin hydrated, help rid cells of toxins and keep the skin moist, lessening the look of fine lines. Depending on their level of activity, men should drink approximately 13 cups of water (or other beverages) per day, while women are advised to drink at least 9 cups per day.
Also important: anti-inflammatory foods that contain phytonutrients (nutrients found naturally in plants). Phytonutrients have great antioxidant benefits that keep all cells, including skin, in great shape. Anti-inflammatory foods, such as kale and broccoli, are particularly good at supporting collagen and keeping skin healthy.
Here are five foods that will help reduce the loosening of skin and maintain its youthful glow. Try to include these in your diet a few times a week:
1. Berries — Easy to Take on Outings
Berries are loaded with antioxidants, or substances that reduce cell damage. According to Joy Bauer, nutrition expert for the Today show and nutritionist for the New York City Ballet, antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and vitamin A, have been proven to “nourish and protect skin to extend its youthful appearance.”
2. Kale — a Great Alternative to Lettuce
Kale is rich in vitamin C (one serving of kale has 82.4 milligrams), an important part of collagen production in skin. Vitamin C also helps reduce skin damage. Kale is filled with antioxidants such as carotenoids and flavonoids, and also contains magnesium, which is important for producing proteins that are transformed into collagen.
3. Cantaloupe — Not Just a Juicy Melon
Cantaloupe is abundant in beta-carotene, a nutrient that protects against sun damage and helps restore damaged collagen. The body transforms beta-carotene into vitamin A, and uses it to help grow and repair body tissues.
4. Red Bell Peppers — a Top Source of Vitamin C
Red bell peppers are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which prevents sun damage. One cup of chopped red bell peppers contains 190 milligrams of vitamin C (three times more than an orange), which helps cells fight off damage.
5. Wild Salmon — Steam, Bake or Broil
Wild salmon has plentiful amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are healthful fats that help maintain cell membranes. They also protect against sun damage, and can reduce inflammation and dry skin.