DR MEGAN ROSSI: My 10 Best Foods For Spots And Wrinkles

What you eat doesn’t cause acne, but it can affect how wrinkled you look. These seemingly contradictory facts are because the condition of your skin is closely related to your gut health, although not necessarily in the way you think.

Your skin and gut are very similar: they both help defend the body against invaders. They are also both in a constant state of renewal, shedding their lining (gut) or outer layer (skin) about every week and month respectively, leaving them hungry for good nutrition.

And last but not least, each is home to a community of microbes essential to health.

Yes, microbial communities live in – and on – us.

These gut and skin microbes are key players when it comes to skin blemishes.

What you eat doesn’t cause acne, but it can affect how wrinkled you look. These seemingly contradictory facts are because the condition of your skin is closely related to your gut health, although not necessarily in the way you think.

Those skin microbes also help protect our skin from environmental damage.

A recent University of California study involving nearly 9,000 people found that the microbes on our skin (there are billions of them) are a better predictor of age than the gut or oral microbiota — making it the ideal testing ground for anti-aging treatments.

That’s not all: We know that imbalances in the skin microbe colony (microbiota) play a role in common conditions such as acne, eczema and certain skin cancers.

This is why oral and topical antibiotics are the best treatment for acne, which is related to an overgrowth of bacteria, including Cutibacterium acnes.

The problem is that antibiotics can also knock out the beneficial bacteria, which is why scientists are looking to probiotics for treating skin problems.

What we eat and how we treat our gut flora really plays out on our skin, as anyone who has experienced a rash after one too many glasses of wine knows

What we eat and how we treat our gut flora really plays out on our skin, as anyone who has experienced a rash after one too many glasses of wine knows

Particularly exciting work has been done on the potential benefits of topical probiotics (applied directly to the skin) to protect against skin cancer, for example.

Early research also suggests that we may be able to transplant a healthy person’s skin bacteria as a way to treat acne and eczema.

Did you know?

Research shows that large, coarse, jumbo oats have a 33 percent lower effect on blood sugar than instant oats — suggesting that less processed versions are better for blood sugar.

However, you don’t have to wait for the scientists and new products. You can target your skin health through that other microbial community — in our gut.

What we eat and how we treat our gut flora really plays out on our skin, as anyone who has experienced a rash after one too many glasses of wine knows.

That’s because there’s a two-way conversation going on between your gut microbes and your skin — the gut-skin axis.

Most of this gut-skin communication takes place through your immune system; an imbalance in your gut bacteria seems to trigger an immune system response, causing inflammation.

And guess what, many skin problems — acne, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and even premature aging — are inflammatory in origin.

However, having a more abundant and diverse gut microbiota keeps the microbes aligned and can have anti-inflammatory effects (thanks in part to the compounds — short-chain fatty acids — the bacteria release when they digest plant fiber).

There are other food factors at play. Take acne. There is mounting evidence to suggest that diets that do not include healthy, plant-based foods, but are rich in things like fruit juice, sugar, and refined starches (e.g. white bread or pasta) may worsen symptoms.

That’s because they have a high glycemic index (high GI), meaning they raise your blood sugar faster than other foods.

Blood sugar spikes have been linked to inflammation and can also trigger the release of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a hormone that can cause your sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (which mixes with dead skin cells to form an acne plug). ).

Large amounts of dairy, especially skim milk, can also be a trigger (by ‘large’ I mean more than 500 ml of milk per day). The proteins in dairy have been shown to increase IGF-1.

However, fermented dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, don’t seem to cause any symptoms. The fermentation process changes the profile of the proteins, making them anti-inflammatory.

However, let me reassure you that there is no evidence that food alone can cause acne.

The condition has a strong hormonal and genetic component that cannot be corrected with diet alone. I know this, I have suffered from pimples all my life. Sebum production, skin microbes and pore size cannot be improved by diet and lifestyle alone. Nor is there any evidence that any of the above foods, as part of an otherwise balanced diet, will worsen acne.

As I’ve seen over and over in the clinic, the stress of trying to follow a “perfect” diet can often cause more problems, thanks to the stress hormone cortisol.

(And if you’re prescribed antibiotics for your acne, don’t worry: It’s an effective approach, but book medication reviews regularly and pay extra attention to supplementing those gut microbes with fiber from plant foods.)

Focus on plant diversity, replacing high GI carbohydrates with low GI complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, legumes (beans and pulses), vegetables and fruits.

If you needed confirmation of the benefits, a recent study in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology found that a Mediterranean diet can help reduce acne symptoms.

The gut-skin axis is also involved in skin aging.

As we age, our body’s production of collagen, a protein key to the structure of skin and connective tissue, slows down.

Environmental factors such as the sun’s UV rays, pollution, stress, and poor diet or sleep all contribute as well.

But if you thought collagen supplements were the answer, a recent review in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology concluded that most of their claims, such as “shiny skin” and “youthful radiance in weeks” are unfounded. You see, collagen is a protein that is largely broken down during the digestive process into amino acids, the building blocks for the skin.

Once absorbed into your bloodstream, your body can’t tell whether those amino acids come from collagen supplements or whether they come from other protein sources, such as fish.

However, polyphenols – plant chemicals – have been shown to improve aging skin. A 2016 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that cocoa polyphenols reduced facial wrinkles and improved elasticity after 24 weeks, compared to a placebo.

A plant-based diet has also been shown to improve telomere length — the terminals on our DNA strands and a marker of cells aging — effectively reversing aging.

There are four important steps for youthful skin:

1. Stay hydrated. The water you drink means thick, hydrated skin cells.

2. Eat a diet rich in the foods I listed in the box below (which contain skin-supporting nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E, zinc and selenium).

3. Feed your gut microbes anti-aging polyphenols like prebiotics, types of indigestible fiber that act as fertilizer for them (e.g. chickpeas, garlic, onion, beetroot, and dates). This, in turn, results in the release of beneficial nutrients such as short-chain anti-inflammatory fatty acids.

4. Finally, protect and nourish your skin by keeping it clean, using a moisturizer to maintain the skin barrier, and applying sunscreen.

Try This: Irresistible Cookies

I always have a batch of these on hand for those cookie craving moments. Because they are high in fiber and flavor, it’s worth baking a batch and storing them in the fridge or freezer so they’re always ready.

Makes 12 cookies

  • 8 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp nut butter of your choice
  • ¾ cup ground almonds
  • ¾ cup oats
  • 1 tbsp mixed seeds

Preheat oven to 200/180c Fan/Gas 6. Place dates, banana and nut butter in food processor and blend for 60 seconds, or until smooth.

Add the ground almonds and oats and pulse until a loose and wet dough forms.

Stir in the mixed seeds by hand. If the mix feels too wet, add some more ground almonds.

Spoon the mixture onto the baking sheet, make about 12 biscuits and gently smooth into flat circles about 5 cm wide and 1 cm deep.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Foods Scientifically Proven to Help Your Skin

Green tea: Contains flavanols, a type of polyphenol (a beneficial plant chemical)

More than 70% dark chocolate: for cocoa flavanols

Citrus fruits: For vitamin C

Soy: for isoflavones (a type of polyphenol) and zinc

Tomatoes: for lycopene, a plant chemical that helps protect against damage from UV rays

Walnuts: For vitamin E, zinc, selenium and omega 3 (a type of anti-inflammatory fat)

Chickpeas: For zinc and prebiotics (fertilizer for gut bacteria)

Sweet potato: for vitamin A

Avocado: For Vitamin E

Oily fish: for omega 3

Write to Dr. Megan Rossic

If you have a question for dietitian Dr. Megan Rossi, you can email her at [email protected] or write to Good Health, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT — please include contact details.

dr. Megan Rossi cannot enter into personal correspondence. Answers should be taken in a general context; Always consult your doctor in case of health problems.

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