Mediterranean Diet and Skin Health

There have been many studies about how diet impacts skin disease. The exciting takeaway from most of these studies is that we can, in part, control our overall skin health and appearance through diet. One such study of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered anti-inflammatory and low glycemic, revealed several skin health benefits worth noting.

“To maintain healthy skin, one’s diet must be rich in antioxidants, which are also anti-inflammatory,” says Dermatologist Jeanette Jacknin, MD. “Free radical damage has been shown to be an important factor in the aging process, as well as in the development of cancer. It is also thought to be the root cause of wrinkles and aging skin with sagging, discoloration, enlarged pores, and lack of radiance. Unfortunately, the typical North American diet contains excessive amounts of simple carbohydrates and saturated fats, which has been shown to correlate with an increased appearance of skin wrinkles and other skin problems.”

According to Dr. Jacknin, “The Mediterranean diet is beneficial for the skin, as its anti-inflammatory effect is due largely to its emphasis on extra virgin olive oil, which is high in compounds that modulate oxidative stress and quell inflammatory reactions.” Oleocanthal, one of the components of olive oil, has recently been shown to possess anti-inflammatory actions similar to ibuprofen. It has also been suggested that a nutritional approach to sun protection using the Mediterranean diet would be a useful complement to topically applied sun protection.

Healthy skin is also well-hydrated skin, and it is recommended that we drink a minimum of eight glasses of pure or sparkling water a day, and limit our intake of dehydrating coffee, alcohol, and colas. Eat fish, rolled oats and ground flax seeds frequently, as they are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids which help the skin to retain moisture. Grapes, berries, plums, pears, seaweeds and algae all contain sorbitol, which also helps prevent dehydration. Source: Dermatology Times

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