Want to prevent wrinkles? Put down the harsh creams. It turns out, there are simple lifestyle changes you can make to stave off premature aging. (Spoiler: eat your fruits and veggies!)
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Before We Start: A Special Gift For You
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Clean eating is the new skincare routine. And it doesn't get any cleaner than plant-based foods.
A plant-based diet helps detox your system from the inside out. Our skin can tell us a lot about the state of our health. Much like tonsils, our skin reacts when something isn’t quite right internally.
Did you know many common foods promote inflammation and make skin flare-ups like eczema and acne worse?
What does "clean eating" even mean?
We've said it before...the term"clean eating" is thrown around a lot on the internet and by wellness gurus...but isn't always clearly defined.
Kind of frustrating, right? If you don't know what "clean eating" is how can you reap its benefits? We're here to help clarify things so you can get the best skin possible, naturally.
When we talk about eating clean at MamaSezz, we really mean eating nutrient-dense whole plant-based foods.
A plant-based diet boosts longevity. The switch to a whole food plant-based lifestyle you can extend your life by an average of 7-10 years with an improved quality of life.
Besides improved health and more energy (i.e. feeling great!), you will notice visibly less wrinkles, and tighter, more supple skin.
1. Kick inflammation with antioxidants (Vitamins C and E)
Oxidation is a chemical process that occurs naturally in the body. When oxidation is not met with antioxidants, or occurs at high rates, it produces an excessive amount of free radicals. Free radicals are unattached electrons that are highly unstable and reactive. They can cause accelerated aging, inflammation, and disease. To stabilize these free radicals and to neutralize the oxidation process, we need antioxidants.
Inflammation can harm your skin by causing acne, uneven skin tones, eczema, and wrinkles.
Vitamins C and E are both powerful antioxidants that are highly successful in trapping free radicals.
Plant-based foods high in antioxidants:
- Red peppers
- Dark leafy greens
- Colorful veggies
3. Prevent skin damage with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory. Why does this matter? Inflammation is one of the main causes of disease and premature aging.
Plant-based foods high in Omega-3s:
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
3. Swap retinol creams for Beta Carotene rich foods
Beta Carotene, found in high concentrations in orange foods, is the strongest of the carotenoids, which are pigments produced by plants. Our bodies use beta carotene to produce and store Vitamin A, a nutrient you've probably seen in anti-aging skincare products (AKA retinol). Its anti-oxidative effects trap and prevent free radicals, which we just learned helps to destroy carcinogens and protects the skin from UV damage.
Plant-based foods high in Beta Carotene
- Sweet Potatoes
- Dark Leafy greens
4. Protect your skin from the sun with foods high in lycopene
Another powerful carotenoid is lycopene, most common found in red fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes are an especially excellent source of lycopene. Similar to beta carotene, lycopene can prevent oxidative UV damage...so it's kind of like sunscreen that you eat.
Lycopene is best paired with fat, so make sure to eat it in conjunction with healthy plant-based fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, beans, or coconut.
Plant-based foods high in Lycopene:
- Red cabbage
5. Avoid wrinkles and skin sagging with selenium
Selenium is yet another powerful antioxidant. Like Vitamin C, selenium works with Vitamin E to protect cell membranes and fight free radicals. Protecting cells can reduce physical signs of skin damage such as wrinkles and skin sagging. Beyond skin, selenium helps promote a healthy thyroid, which regulates metabolism and can lead to healthy weight loss.
Luckily for us, it’s not hard to get your recommended daily value of selenium: eat just 1 brazil nut to get 174% of your DV.
(Over-consuming selenium can lead to selenium toxicity, so do not exceed 1 brazil nut a day.)
Not only can chronic stress cause fatigue, overeating, weight gain and sweet cravings, but it also contributes to the way our body heals itself.
The adrenal gland helps to regulate the body's response to stress. It releases a hormone called cortisol which regulates our reaction to stress and plays a part in sleep. Cortisol elevates your blood sugar when it indicates a stressful situation, and an overproduction of cortisol can cause a number of symptoms from the destruction of brain tissue to wrinkles and acne.
Relaxation is a key component to healthy, clear, supple skin.
Yep - the secret to healthy skin is often just chilling out.
Something as simple as 15 minutes of meditation a day can help to suppress stress hormones and oxidative stress, not to mention reduce the signs of aging, reduce the risk for developing diseases, and increase cognitive function.
Many find spirituality or religion to offer similar benefits if practiced regularly.
10 minutes of meditation or yoga a day can relieve stress, along with deep breathing.
While adding nutrient-dense foods to your diet will promote a natural glow, eliminating other toxins is just as important.
Unhealthy habits like sleep deprivation, getting to many UV rays, smoking and heavy drinking, and lack of exercise can all play a role in damaging skin cells and putting you at risk of disease which will be reflected in your skin.
The good news is that when you choose clean eating with a plant-based diet, making healthy choices across the board becomes easier. Here are 4 other healthy habits to adopt for supple skin:
Chronic stress can accelerate the negative effects of aging by shortening telomeres. Telomeres protect the end of a chromosome from deterioration. Studies links having shortened telomeres with the on-set of age-related illness, like heart disease, hypertension, dementia, and type 2 diabetes.
The good news is? Meditating can help reduce your stress and keep those telomeres in tact longer.
2. Move your body
There are loads of benefits to exercise -- including boosted mental health, improved heart health, better immune function, healthier sleep. But did you know moderate exercise a few times of week may reduce wrinkles and clear pores? Yep! Adding endurance and high interval training to your workout can also slow down the effects of aging?
(Don't forget to fuel your workouts with the right foods so you can recover faster and prevent injury.)
3. Stay out of the sun
The number one cause of wrinkles is UV damage.
Cover up your skin with UV protectant clothes, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
4. Find your tribe
A sense of community can lead to longevity. Whether your tribe is a close-knit family, friend group, neighborhood, or shared interests group, this personal connectedness will reduce stress, leading to a healthier you, inside and out.
5. Get enough sleep!
Sleep is crucial. When we sleep our bodies repair. If you are go-go-going all the time, your body has no time to cleanse, repair and reset. The ideal amount of sleep for adults is typically 7-8 hours a night.
Drink loads of water. Dehydration leads to premature wrinkles.
Try to drink 2 glasses for water when you first wake up, and then at least 6 more throughout the day.
If you want to make sure you’re getting enough water, pour yourself a pitcher of a minimum of 64 oz of water, and don’t go to bed until you’ve finished it. After that first night of chugging half a pitcher at 9 pm (and consequently making frequent bathroom trips in the night), you won't make that mistake again.
Add some lemon juice or a tea bag to your water for an antioxidant AND flavor boost.
- The things we eat, or don't eat, can have a huge effect on our health across the board - from our cardiovascual health to our mental health to our skin health.
- The 5 best plant-based foods to eat for healthy skin include those with antioxidants (like vitamins C and E), omega-3s, beta carotene, lycopene, selenium
- Smooth, clear, supple skin is as simple as eating plants, avoiding toxins, and relaxing. Let your body do the rest.
Get $10 off the MamaSezz Beauty Bundle
Use the code: GLOW for 10$ off here
No harsh chemicals or supplements necessary. The MamaSezz Beauty Bundle and Meal Plan contains tasty plant-based foods to give your body the nutrients it needs to produce its own natural collagen and implement its own damage defense.
Filled to the brim with all the nutrients listed above -- without synthetic chemicals, extracted bovine hormones, or harsh supplements -- the MamaSezz Beauty Bundle is a natural (and delicious) way to glow from the inside out.
Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.