Though advertising would have us believe otherwise, healthy, youthful skin cannot be found in a jar quite yet. Certainly some topical skincare products can provide temporary benefits, but real lasting results comes from the inside, from healthy collagen. Over time collagen, a long, fibrous protein that works with elastin and soft keratin to create the connective tissue that holds our skin together can break down, leading to fine lines, wrinkles and even age spots. The good news is you can increase collagen production naturally with the right nutritional supplements and food.
As early as our late 20's, we can begin to see the signs of aging. Most often it's the development of fine lines around our eyes, and laugh lines that we don't really find all that funny. Even though aging is a natural, inevitable part of life, what we eat can greatly impact the ways in which our body, and especially our skin, will endure the process. The Standard American Diet has been connected to a number of health issues - - from our nation's weight problem, to heart disease and even cancer. It can also make us look older than we really are because it's lacking in key nutrients for the skin. But you can include collagen-boosting foods in your diet. Here are some we absolutely recommend:
1. Organic Grass-Fed Whey: Not only is the protein found in organic whey necessary for healthy skin, but it's one of nature's most effective foods for boosting collagen production. Research comparing whey to other protein sources found it to be 20 percent more effective than casein, and 38 percent more effective than soybeans. An organic whey product is not going to contain any of the fillers, chemical by-products, antibiotics or heavy metals found in conventional whey proteins that are bad for your health and your skin.
2. Vitamin C: Vitamin C works like glue in the body, but in a really good way. It makes cells impenetrable from intruders like free radicals, which can increase the signs of aging and let diseases fester. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C including citrus fruits (not just oranges!), bell peppers, dark leafy greens, berries and kiwi fruits. A good food-based vitamin C supplement can also have the same healthy effects that includes glowing, youthful skin.
3. Vitamin B-3: Niacin (B-3) is highly anti-inflammatory, and can help support collagen production in the skin. It also reduces oiliness of the skin and improves overall skin health, tone and healing. You can find Niacin in rice bran, peanuts, sun-dried tomatoes, fish and chicken, or opt for a high-quality supplement.
4. L-Arginine: This amino acid is crucial in the synthesis of proteins, helping to produce collagen and elastin in the skin. It can also aid in the reparation of skin damage, and speed the healing of wounds. Sesame and other seeds are great sources of L-arginine, as is spirulina, seafood, spinach, lentils and whole grains.
5. Catechins: Tea is no stranger to the good-for-you category, and compounds found in white and green tea are some of the best friends for your skin. White tea protects the skin from enzymes that can breakdown collagen and elastin. It also has a high level of phenolic acid, which can protect the tissue. Green tea is particularly high in catechins that fight against the skin-damaging free radical called superoxide.
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