Edible Wrinkle Protection

Start planning your diet with a guide to the best foods, vitamins and nutrients for your skin.

By Neil Wertheimer

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Can the right foods discourage wrinkles? Can the wrong foods make your skin wrinkle sooner and deeper? When researchers from Australia's Monash University looked at the diets of 453 women and men from Australia, Greece, and Sweden for clues, the answer to both questions was a clear yes.

They discovered that a high intake of fruit, vegetables, and fish could reduce skin wrinkling–even among smokers and people who spent more time in the sun. But eating lots of red meat and sweets seemed to accelerate skin aging. The researchers note that their work doesn't mean that food itself makes skin wrinkle or stay smooth; it's more likely that the right diet helps protect against the effects of the sun and natural aging, while the wrong diet aids and abets these skin wreckers.

Two types of foods seemed especially protective: high-antioxidant fruits and veggies and monounsaturated fats from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. A diet high in antioxidants may prevent wrinkling by helping skin cells cope with sunlight-generated free radicals. Meanwhile, your skin's structure includes fatty acids. Replenishing them by providing your body with monounsaturated fats keeps skin healthy and glowing; monos may also act as antioxidants, the researchers say. Reach for these skin savers.

The study volunteers with the fewest wrinkles ate the most of these foods: olive oil and olives, fish (especially fatty fish such as sardines), reduced-fat milk and milk products such as yogurt, eggs, nuts and beans, vegetables (especially leafy greens, such as spinach, eggplant, asparagus, celery, onions, leeks, and garlic), whole grain cereals, fruit (especially prunes, cherries, apples, and jams), tea, and water.

Steer clear of wrinkle promoters. More wrinkling was associated with eating more of these: saturated fat in red meat, processed meats, butter, and full-fat milk, cheese, and ice cream; sweetened drinks; cakes, pastries, and desserts; and white potatoes.

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