As we age our skin’s natural store of collagen starts to decline. Why is collagen important? Becuase collagen gives structure to the skin and provides the foundation for elastin and hyaluronic acid. Elastin helps the skin maintain shape and hyaluronic acid cushions and lubricates the skin, keeping it moist and supple.
By replenishing your body’s store of collagen internally with the collagen-boosting foods listed below you can retain and restore your skin’s vibrancy.
Dark green vegetables contain collagen-producing agents. Add dark green leafy veggies such as spinach, cabbage and kale to your diet every day. They are packed with an antioxidant called lutein. To get results you will need 10 mg/day- which equates to about 4oz. of spinach or 2oz. of kale per day. Recent French research suggests this will boost skin hydration and elasticity, fighting wrinkles.
Beans help your body produce hyaluronic acid. Aim for at least two tablespoons of beans each day.
Red and orange fruits and vegetables also are excellent sources to boost the collagen in your body. The presence of lycopenes in these types of foods helps to act as antioxidants, which in turn increases collagen production. Add red peppers, beets, and fresh or stewed tomatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots to the diet.
In addition, research from the University of Arizona has found that the antioxidants in red and orange foods build up under the skin creating extra UV protection. “The effect is so strong that eating six portions a day for about two months will build a natural barrier equivalent to a factor four sunscreen,” says Dr Watson.
Prunes One of the biggest causes of skin aging is free radicals, which break down healthy skin tissues. Antioxidants helps neutralize these free radicals before they can do any damage – and prunes are the fruit containing the absolute highest level of antioxidants. Blueberries are a close second. Eat five to six prunes, or a small basket of blueberries daily to get a great health boost.
Flaxseed is a major sources of the healthy fat omega-3. Skin cells are surrounded by a fatty layer made from this and other fats so, the higher your omega-3 intake the stronger that layer is, and the plumper your skin cells are – which helps disguise lines and wrinkles. Mix it into smoothies or add it to balsamic vinegar and use it as a salad dressing, but try to have a tablespoon each day.
Sources: heathcentral.com, webmd.com