The Proof is In the Meal Plan

We have written many times about the effect of your diet on specific skin problems such as acne and rosacea.  Basically, the healthier your diet, the less severe your skin problems will become.

A recent article in the dermatology literature discussed a new area of treatment known as dermatology medical nutrition therapy.  This remarkably simple treatment is also considered to be an evidence-based approach that will attempt to treat aesthetic issues such as aging.

A 2007 study in which 4026 middle-aged women participated showed an association between skin aging appearance and their nutritional dietary intake.  The findings showed that those women with more wrinkled appearances often consumed much less protein, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A in their diets.

The women in this study who showcased less wrinkling, and therefore a younger appearance, consumed a diet rich in eggs, yogurt, legumes (such as beans), fruits, vegetables, and olive oil.  Even smoother skin was notable in those with good protein intake and higher amounts of vitamin C.

The common denominator in all of these food items is that they contain large amounts of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, which are known to be anti-inflammatory.  It has been known and demonstrated scientifically for some time that a Mediterranean type diet can reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer with a significant reduction of inflammatory markers in the blood when this diet becomes a regular habit.

The other key to these findings is that it is the foods and the diet itself that are most important, especially in terms of the anti-aging skin benefits.  Simply taking vitamin supplements does not seem to help, except in cases where there is an actual vitamin deficiency or a medical condition where the body does not absorb vitamins like A and C normally.

The added benefit of the Mediterranean type diet program is that it has been shown to reduce obesity as well.  Being obese itself is associated with higher levels of inflammation within the body, as fatty or adipose tissue is metabolically active and releases factors known as cytokines that can increase inflammation.

The takeaway lesson of this blog post and the aforementioned research is this: Eat better, and you can look better too.  If you are still unsure of what to eat with your particular medical condition, medications, or dietary preferences, an appointment with a registered dietitian through your PCP can be helpful.