For better looking skin try to incorporate the following anti ageing antioxidants into your daily diet.
1. Astaxanthin – ‘beauty from within’ ingredient
This is a powerful antioxidant that provides broad spectrum protection to almost every cell in your body by absorbing UV radiation. As you’re probably aware, exposure to UV light can create a cascade of free radicals which in turn, enhance skin wrinkling and sagging. Astaxanthin reduces the skin’s vulnerability to UV light-induced oxidative damage.
Food sources: Salmon, prawns, crustaceans and anything that feeds on certain marine algae – the pigment in these plants is what lends the reddish hue to this seafood.
2. Ellagic acid – helps maintain skin collagen
This polyphenol is a powerful anti ageing antioxidant that blocks the production of matrix metalloproteinase enzymes that break down collagen. Ellagic acid helps keep the skin firm and makes wrinkles less visible. It decreases the production of ICAM, a molecule involved in inflammation.
Food sources: Strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate, Arctic raspberry and walnuts.
3. Flavanols – nourishes skin
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, flavanols can do wonders for your skin because of their ability to increase blood flow to the skin. The delicate skin cells will be optimally supplied with oxygen and nutrients – skin that’s well nourished looks much younger! The skin’s outer layer will be properly hydrated – a dehydrated skin ages much faster and is also more prone to wrinkles and scaling.
Food sources: Cocoa and dark chocolate.
Lycopene, is the carotenoid which imparts the ruby red colour to tomatoes. Thanks to its unique molecular structure, lycopene partially blocks UV light, thus protecting the skin against sun damage. Usually, exposure to UV-B rays causes the body to activate the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase – this enzyme initiates and controls the process that stabilises the DNA structure in the nucleus of skin cells. It also maintains the DNA double strand-break repair pathway. And guess what? Researchers found that lycopene is able to suppress the activation of this enzyme – what this means is that lycopene offers such considerable protection to cellular DNA that the body does not need to trigger its internal DNA repair mechanism.
Exposure to UV-B radiation also depletes PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen) in your skin. This compound is crucial for the synthesis and repair of DNA. And here’s where lycopene comes in handy, scientists discovered that lycopene can significantly counteract the drop in PCNA following UV-B exposure.
The skin is highly dependent on communication between cells for proper growth and renewal of its cells. By improving connectivity and communication between cells, lycopene can perceptibly improve your skin’s texture by assisting cell functions involved in maintaining your skin’s youthful appearance.
Food sources: Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, papaya and goji berries.
This antimicrobial substance is produced by plants as a protective mechanism to stress, disease, strong UV radiation or infection. Scientists have found that, in humans, reserveratrol acts as a very effective anti ageing antioxidant that can slow down skin ageing by:
- Protecting the skin against UV radiation damage
- Scavenging free radicals and inhibiting their formation
- Improving the function of fibroblasts which create healthy collagen, thus keeping the skin tight
- Protecting the skin from harmful enzymes which could otherwise promote the proliferation of abnormal skin cells
Food sources: Red grapes, red apples, blueberries and peanuts. Keep in mind that some antioxidant like reserveratrol can actually have adverse health effects when taken as a supplement – so keep it fresh!
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