As you get older, stores of collagen deplete. As collagen’s job is to provide structure to the skin, once the stores start shrinking, the skin loses elasticity, sags, and forms fine lines and wrinkles. Botox and injectable fillers offer a temporary solution, and facelifts and other surgical procedures offer a more permanent fix. You’ll get better results, however, if you pair these procedures with foods that help your skin cells and collagen regenerate.According to a 2012 report from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, men and women spent more than $8 billion on cosmetic surgeries and injectables. Another $1.8 billion was spent on skin rejuvenation procedures. That’s a lot of money being spent to look young. If you’re willing to spend money on cosmetic surgery, it shouldn’t be too hard to add some of these anti-aging foods to your refrigerator or pantry.
Foods Rich in Antioxidants
Certain antioxidants protect the skin against damage from the sun. Vitamin C is one of the biggest, so are selenium and vitamin E. You do have to be careful about vitamin E, however, especially before and after any cosmetic surgery. Vitamin E can increase bleeding, so you need to talk to your doctor about how much vitamin E is too much.
Most people associate oranges as having a powerful punch of vitamin C (82.7 mg per naval), but there are better choices. One small papaya has more than 95mg of vitamin C. One cup of raw red bell pepper has more than twice the amount of vitamin C found in a papaya. Two cups of kale has twice the vitamin C found in an orange. Berries are especially good choices when it comes to boosting vitamin C and other antioxidants.
When it comes to selenium, snack on Brazil nuts. A 200-calorie serving of these nuts contains 585 mcg of selenium. Pork is another good choice. When cooked the meat has 413 mcg per 200-calorie serving.
Finally, round out your antioxidant choices with foods rich in vitamin E. Just one tablespoon of wheat germ oil has 20 mg of vitamin E. Sunflower seeds and almonds are also good choices with 7.4 mg and 6.8 mg per serving.
Foods Rich in Amino Acids
Some amino acids help boost collagen production. If you want to add these foods to your diet, you’ll find it’s not very difficult.
Egg whites are rich in threonine, an amino acid that both relaxes muscles and helps with collagen production. A 200-calorie serving of dried egg whites contains 1,949 mg of threonine. Turkey breast is another good source with a 200-calorie serving coming in at 1,981 mg.
Proline, another amino acid, also helps boost collagen production. Sugar-free gelatin is a good choice with proline levels of 5,153 mg per 200-calorie serving. It’s even better if you use the dry gelatin powder to make your own gelatin using the powder and natural fruit juice. Otherwise, one-percent milk fat cottage cheese is a great choice with more than 3,900 mg per 200-calorie serving.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acid. As your skin cells have a protective barrier, it’s important to keep the barrier in place. Salmon and tuna are two excellent choices. Just make sure that you’re monitoring how much fish you eat per week because fish does contain mercury.
Learn more about the links between skin health and the foods you eat by reading Eat Well magazine’s Foods for Beautiful Skin. Pair your diet choices with cosmetic procedures performed by Dr. Jessica Kulak, a Virginia plastic surgeon who specializes in aging. To schedule a consultation, call (703) 481-0002 (Virginia) or (301) 222-2020 (Maryland).