How to boost your midlife skin
Can what you eat improve your skin?
The market place is awash with beauty and skin products aimed at ‘mature’ or ageing midlife skin. But can focusing on what you put into your body also maintain or improve the condition of your skin?
In this article we’re going to look at a couple of the changes in our skin we might expect in our midlife, and the types of foods which can improve our skin health.
As we age, you may see the appearances of fine lines and wrinkles, and maybe even suffer the breakout of spots.
For women going through perimenopause, this can be attributed to the role of oestrogen. Oestrogen is a hormone in our bodies that stimulates oil and collagen production (both of which support moisture and firmness).
During the peri-menopause oestrogen levels in our bodies fluctuate. As our bodies’ oestrogen production drops, oil production slows down, and the skins’ moisture barrier is affected. This ‘dryness’ can increases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
And if you’re suddenly getting breakouts and spots like you did when you were a teenager, again it may be a results of a hormonal shift.
Whilst oestrogen levels fluctuate and drop during menopause, androgens like testosterone remain stable, and this shifts the bodies’ hormonal balance. Testosterone is known to be a trigger for spot breakouts. These breakouts tend to show up in areas we consider the ‘hormonal regions’: chin, jaw and around the mouth.
So, can you start boosting skin health by focusing on foods that are known to promote healthy, radiant skin?
What are the best foods for midlife skin?
Brightly coloured vegetable and fruits.
Vegetables and fruits are filled with vitamins, vital minerals, and polyphenols that support healthy skin.
Carotenoids, (for example carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and peppers), support the development of healthy skin cells.
Citrus fruits, (oranges, grapefruits , etc.) papaya, broccoli are all excellent sources of vitamin C, and these Vitamin C rich foods aid the production of collagen, and can improve dryness and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
We’re hearing more and more, that gut health is essential for overall wellbeing – and this extends to skin health.
Gut imbalances may cause an inflammation which can lead to eczema, redness or irritation, and acne.
A simple way to maintain gut health is to include fermented foods regularly into your diet.
Fermented foods include unsweetened yogurt, kimchi, kefir and miso, which are filled with probiotics and support the population of ‘good’ bacteria in your gut.
Seeds and Nuts.
We often see Vitamin E as an ingredient in many face and body creams, but there are also benefits to eating food with a high Vitamin E content.
Skin appearing ‘aged’ is often linked to free radical damage, and Vitamin E is an antioxidant that may help combat this. (Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells throughout the body)
Many seeds and Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds, for instance) are high in Vitamin E, as well as being In rich in protein, fibre, and healthy fats.
Many nutritionists advice that the benefit of eating Vitamin E rich foods may even be more effective when eaten in conjunction with vitamin C.
Broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower.
Broccoli, kale, cabbage, wok chop and cauliflower are cruciferous vegetables, not only do these vegetables provide vitamin C and carotenoids, but they are also contain a high content of a compound called sulforaphane. (a sulphur rich compound that protects against free radical damage), and recent research indicates it may even support collagen formation.
It’s best to avoid boiling or microwaving cruciferous vegetables. Instead, try eating them raw or lightly steamed to maximise their sulforaphane content.
Raw vegetables have the highest sulforaphane content. (One study found that raw broccoli had ten times more sulforaphane than cooked broccoli.) If you do choose to cook them, steaming them (for one to three minutes) may be the best way to optimise sulforaphane levels.
Choosing foods that are higher in fibre and lower in sugar can support a healthy blood sugar balance. And here’s why – eating refined sugar and carbohydrates stimulates the release of insulin in your body which shuttles sugar out of your blood and into your cells. Insulin can also trigger androgens to be released into the body. An increase in androgens, especially testosterone, can lead to skin breakouts.
Whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa, starchy vegetables with skins on (think sweet potatoes and carrots), and high fibre fruits such as apples and berries are all skin-supporting choices.
Essential fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids (like omega-three) support healthy oil production which keeps your skin moisturised, while also promoting a healthy skin barrier.
This can be especially crucial if you suffer from dryness or eczema.
Fatty fish like sardines, tuna and salmon are all high in omega-three. Plant-based oils and fats from avocados, olives, and flax oil are also high in healthy fats.
Because they contain antioxidants which combat free radical damage caused by exposure to the sun, and environmental pollution.
Improving your skin doesn’t always have to come out of a jar.
Adding nutrient-rich foods to your diet can help boost the body’s ability to strengthen and repair the skin. It can be hard to have a radical diet overhaul, but incorporating more of these foods into your daily intake is a good way to start. Eating your way to healthier skin is possible (and tasty too).
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