Functional food: what role they play in skin aging

Functional food: what role they play in skin aging


The integration of functional foods , or functional foods , in one’s diet brings multiple benefits to different parts of the body, including the skin . It seems, in fact, that they prevent and  delay its aging .

What are functional foods?

Also known as nutraceuticals , functional foods are foods that generate health benefits that go beyond their nutritional value, because they contain important elements such as vitamins , minerals, antioxidants , healthy fatty acids, proteins and fibers .

This concept originated in Japan in the 1980s and refers to two categories of foods: conventional and modified . The former are naturally dense in important nutrients , the latter are after being enriched with them.

Some conventional functional foods

  • Fruits:  berries , kiwis , pears , peaches , apples , oranges , bananas .
  • Vegetables :  broccoli , cauliflower , kale, spinach , zucchini .
  • Nuts : almonds , cashews , pistachios , macadamia nuts ,Brazil nuts .
  • Seeds: chia  seeds , flax seeds , hemp seeds , pumpkin seeds .
  • Legumes :  black beans , chickpeas , navy beans, lentils .
  • Whole grains :  oats , barley , buckwheat , brown rice , couscous .
  • Seafood :  salmon , sardines , anchovies , mackerel , cod .
  • Fermented foods  : tempeh , kombucha , kimchi, kefir , sauerkraut .
  • Herbs and spices:  turmeric , cinnamon ,  ginger , cayenne pepper .
  • Beverages:  coffee, green tea , black tea .

Eating oatmeal for breakfast in the morning also helps reduce abdominal swelling .

Some modified functional foods

  •  Fortified juices .
  • Fortified dairy products , such as milk and yogurt .
  • Almond , rice , coconut and cashew milks .
  • Fortified grains , such as breads and pastas and granola .
  • Fortified Eggs .

The benefits for the skin

Almost all organs can benefit from a diet rich in functional foods and the skin is no exception.

The quality of nutrition, in fact, greatly affects the health of the skin and is decisive for all its biological processes, from youth to ageing.

Foods that perform an anti-aging function exert their influence mainly through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects , which prevent the degradation of collagen, and by increasing the synthesis of pro-collagen.

The ingredients with the greatest anti-aging power are carotenoids, polyphenols , minerals, aloe vera , vitamins C, B and E, red ginseng , omega-3 fatty acids and collagen peptides .

The role of minerals

Water is a vital constituent of the body and regular drinking helps maintain tissue balance and function The appearance of the skin , therefore, is a direct reflection of the state of humidity of the body and of correct hydration.

The minerals contained in the water, ie the trace elements such as iron , iodine , zinc and copper , are the elements that most affect the slowing down of aging and the aesthetic quality of the skin.

Copper and zinc are very useful in patients with psoriasis , in the treatment of the disorder.

Clinical studies have shown that copper also helps improve skin elasticity, reduce fine lines and facial wrinkles , and promote wound healing .

Lack of iron and selenium in the diet weakens the UV -B induced antioxidant capacity of the skin, making it more sensitive to oxidative stress from ultraviolet radiation .

The importance of vitamins

Vitamin deficiency also affects skin health.

B vitamins counteract skin aging primarily by preventing inflammation and skin pigmentation .

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and promotes collagen synthesis, relieving skin aging .

Vitamin  D can also alleviate photo-aging because it reduces the damage caused by ultraviolet rays.

Collagen peptides: the skin-friendly proteins

The primary physiological function of proteins is to build and repair tissue and to provide energy . All tissue cells in the body are constantly being renewed and only adequate protein intake can ensure normal tissue renewal and repair. This mechanism also affects the skin.

While all are important, it is the cylindrical polymeric protein known as collagen that performs a targeted anti-aging action . It is the most abundant in the human body , it is the structural element of the skin and is not assumed through food but its production can be stimulated.

Specifically, the most significant rejuvenating effects are given by collagen peptides , a series of small molecular peptides obtained from the proteolytic hydrolysis of collagen which, having a smaller molecular weight , are easier to absorb.

They mainly come from skin, bone , tendon , muscle and other animal tissue.

Thanks to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics , they relieve skin aging .

Omega 3 and 6 and Red Ginseng are also youth elixirs

Omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids play an important role as human skin barriers and also have significant effects in the prevention and treatment of skin inflammation .

Olive or fish oil can reduce skin aging induced by chronic  psychological stress .

Finally, ginseng has antioxidant, immunostimulant and anti  aging properties. Constant intake would induce increased collagen synthesis which would visibly reduce facial wrinkles.

Ginseng would also fight inflammation .

It is also helpful to eat antioxidant foods .



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