We are what we eat (and drink) My guess is that if you are reading this you have found your way to my blog and may already be aware that our diets affect how we feel, how we sleep, our energy levels and of course our overall health. What tends to be forgotten is that what we eat also impacts the health and aging of our skin. As far as eating a healthful diet is concerned I often quote Michael Pollans “seven words” advice regarding what to eat: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. To this, I add that I also strongly recommend drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of exercise and rest. It’s amazing really how simple being healthy is, yet it’s also amazing how hard it can be to pull off, (another cocktail Michele?). To add to the above I would like to spend a little time to highlight five wonderful foods that we should all be eating more of. Again eating healthfully and averting problem skin before it becomes problem skin is always the way to go. Fatty Fish Fish high in omega- 3 fatty acids are especially beneficial to skin and salmon is a top choice. The omega-3 fats help calm inflammation which can cause rosacea and acne and also lead to a breakdown of collagen and elastin which keep skin looking young. These fats are also necessary to retain skins moisture and elasticity. Fatty fish is also a source of vitamin E which is one of the most important antioxidants for your skin. Vitamin E helps fight free radicals and helps reduce the appearance of scars. The mineral zinc is also present in fish and is essential for the production of new skin cells and regulating inflammation. Other good fish choices are mackerel, herring, and sardines. Walnuts Nuts have a reputation for being a high-calorie food bit we need to look at the amazing benefits of walnuts. Walnuts are dense in essential nutrients and provide heart-healthy fats. They are an excellent source of antioxidants. They contain large amounts of antioxidant polyphenols, which are compounds that stabilize free radicals and prevent premature aging. Walnuts also have omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which help the body retain moisture. Red Bell Peppers Red Bell Peppers contain important antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamin C. One medium red pepper provides 169% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for fighting free radicals and creating the protein collagen which keeps skin firm. Beta-Carotene is converted to vitamin A which is essential for regenerating your cells and tissues. Avocados Avocados are rich in vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants and can improve skin from the inside. Avocados are a great source of vitamin C and E. Our skin needs Vitamin C to create collagen, which is the structural protein that keeps skin fit and healthy. Vitamin C also protects skin from oxidative damage caused by the sun and the environment, which can lead to signs of aging. Vitamin E works as an anti-inflammatory improving skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. It also defends the skin against free radicals to counteract the effects of aging that lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Oleic acid is an omega-9 fatty acid present in avocados. It helps maintain moisture in the epidermis, making it soft and supple. Green Tea Green Tea is made from the same plant as black tea but instead of being fermented it is dried and steamed leaving it with its lovely green color. This minimal processing and green color leave more antioxidants and nutrients in the leaves that benefit our skin. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and the powerful compounds contain the ingredient EGCG, which is a catechin that can reactivate cells. Catechins are natural antioxidants that help protect skin from cell damage, improve hydration and elasticity. The catechins have also been shown to reduce redness and inflammation associated with sun exposure. The antioxidant benefits of green tea come from a biological compound called polyphenols. A sub-group of polyphenols called catechins effectively destroy free radicals and help slow down the aging process. The most powerful of these catechins in green tea is the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). When an antioxidant meets a free radical, it engulfs the free radical to form weak, harmless free radicals that are unlikely to further damage your body.” Further, they state that a daily dosage of 300-400mg of polyphenols is essential to reduce age spots, which can be actively found in green tea.