EAT FOR BEAUTY: YOUR INTERNATIONAL GUIDE TO FIGHTING INFLAMMAGING
The Western diet that many of us have become accustomed to – one that disproportionately favors refined grains and sugars, meat, eggs, dairy, artificial sweeteners, and salt over fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, and legumes – may be keeping our bodies in a state of chronic inflammation.
Consuming an excess of Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) – for example, fried or processed foods like red meat, fried eggs, butter, cream cheese, margarine, or mayonnaise – has been connected to the progression of age-associated diseases. Glycation of the skin occurs when you have accumulated excess glucose in skin fibers, most likely after consuming a lot of sugar. This excess triggers an internal reaction in which sugar molecules adhere to the collagen and elastin proteins, which normally help keep your skin firm and supple.
In other words, your diet could be inflammaging you – AKA, accelerating signs of aging in your skin as a result of inflammation throughout the body.
While there are plenty of things you can do on the surface to depuff – like a lymphatic massage with our Cryo-Tech Facial Tool – there’s also plenty to do on the inside. Let’s open some recipe books from around the world to uncover their secrets to rolling back the years.
The Mediterranean diet has long been connected to potential weight loss, improved heart health, and longer life spans – but the benefits also run skin deep. Swap your salt and butter for herbs and olive oil instead, and replace your red meat with veggies, fruit, fish, nuts and lean protein. The best part? You can still keep the French touch and hold onto your red wine (in moderation).
Reducing your sodium and dairy intake helps reduce any facial puffiness, while the extra Omega Fatty Acids from your fish and nut intake help reinforce cell membranes for stronger, firmer skin. Antioxidants from all those veggies and red wine further contribute to fighting free radicals (a primary cause of skin aging!).
Studies have even shown that people following a Mediterranean diet were able to cut their risk of Melanoma (skin cancer) in half!
Nordic countries know what it takes to build a strong, sustainable diet fit for a Viking, so they must know a thing or two about wellness and longevity – as well as how to maintain a healthy complexion and beard!
Shown to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory-derived diseases, the Nordic diet focuses on locally-grown fruits and vegetables like berries, apples, pears, carrots, potatoes, and cabbages. Similar to the Mediterranean diet, it also swaps out red and processed meats for local fish instead, while reducing saturated fat consumption and focusing on whole grain products.
More antioxidants to fight free radical damage means slower signs of aging, while whole grains rich in Selenium help to protect your skin against environmental damage and promote skin elasticity.
Okinawa – the islands at the southern end of Japan, historically referred to as the “land of immortals” – is one of the seven blue zones of the world, where local residents consistently live long lives exceeding 100 years. The anti-inflammatory and age-defying strength of the Japanese diet rests in a triple-action foundation built upon antioxidant-rich tea, seafood, and vegetables.
While keeping the consumption of animal fat and meat low, the Japanese diet features a high amount of in-season vegetables, fish, and soybean products to feed mind and body with fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats – especially EPA and DHA, key Omega-3 Fatty Acids which help lower your risk of heart disease and strengthen your skin barrier.
The Japanese diet also focuses on the little things that make a big difference, like preparation methods and portion size. Steaming, boiling, and stewing your food instead of frying or roasting helps to maximize nutrient and water content while lowering fat & caloric density. Swap the excessive amounts of salt and sugar in your seasoning with some umami instead, and keep your portions small to support your metabolism and reduce inflammation.
Source: Stromsnes, Kristine et al. “Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Diet: Role in Healthy Aging.” Biomedicines vol. 9,8 922. 30 Jul. 2021, doi:10.3390/biomedicines9080922