So far, scientists have yet to find a fountain of youth. Research into the role of diet and skin aging, however, reveals that the foods you eat may influence how your skin ages. While no one food can turn back the hands of time, there are indications that your good dietary choices might prevent wrinkles and other signs of skin aging, while poorer choices can accelerate the signs of aging.
Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential to skin health, according to a paper published in the July 2012 edition of the journal "Dermato Endocrinology." Your body needs vitamin C to form collagen -- your skin's main structural protein. In 2007, "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" published a study finding that a higher vitamin C intake is linked to the appearance of less wrinkles in middle-aged American women. The recommended dietary intake for vitamin C is 90 milligrams daily for males aged 19 and over and 75 milligrams for females aged 19 and over. Fresh fruits and vegetables like oranges, grapefruit, broccoli and brussels sprouts are a rich source of vitamin C.
Vitamin E-Rich Foods
Vitamin E refers to eight compounds called tocopherols. These fat-soluble antioxidants work together with vitamin C to protect your skin against aging. Vitamin E protects against deterioration of lipids in skin tissue and collagen modification known as cross linking -- two contributing factors to skin aging, according to the "Dermato Endocrinology" review. Vegetables and vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower, wheat germ, soy and corn as well as oil from seeds are high in vitamin E. The recommended dietary intake for vitamin E is 15 milligrams for adults.
Foods High in Carotenoids
The carotenoids beta-carotene, astaxanthin, lycopene and retinol are derivatives of vitamin A that play a role in keeping your skin healthy as you age. In addition to being antioxidants, carotenoids appear to protect your skin against damage caused by ultraviolet light, according the "Dermato Endocrinology" review. UV damage contributes to wrinkles and other signs of skin aging. You'll know foods rich in carotenoids by their color since carotenoids are responsible for the pigment orange, red, yellow and green pigments of fruits and vegetables. Examples of foods high in carotenoids include carrots, winter squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, papaya, mango and leafy greens.
Overall Diet Research Findings
In February 2001, the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" reported the results of a study that examined the impact of food on skin wrinkling. Researchers studied the diets of adults living in Australia, Greece and Sweden and measured skin wrinkling. After accounting for certain variables, the authors concluded that a diet higher in vegetables, fish, legumes and olive oil appears to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by protecting against sun damage. On the other hand, a diet high in meat, dairy and butter appears to promote skin aging, say the authors.
- Dermato Endocrinology: Discovering the Link Between Nutrition and Skin Aging
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Dietary Nutrient Intakes and Skin-Aging Appearance Among Middle-Aged American Women
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Skin Wrinkling: Can Food Make a Difference?
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E