As a nutrition professional, I am more aware than most people that food affects personal health and appearance. As a middle-aged woman, I have become more interested in learning about how food affects the health and appearance of skin.
As I mentioned in my recent post (Magnification: Not for the Faint of Heart), I am learning to accept skin changes that are a natural part of aging. I try not to spend a lot of time worrying about it, but I am certainly not against slowing down the process either.
Sun is probably the most damaging factor. In a previous post (Protect Against Skin Cancer – With the Food You Eat!), I talked about how fruits and vegetables can reduce oxidative damage and set the skin up to tolerate the sun a little better.
Now I am reading more about how sugar can damage the skin as well. Sugar and processed carbohydrates that abruptly raise blood sugar levels cause skin to wrinkle and become more brittle. The process, called glycation, happens when glucose in the blood binds to collagen, a protein that provides much of the structure of skin.
I consider myself a sensible, moderate eater. I include everything I like in my diet, but I try to keep the portions of healthier foods bigger than those of my “pleasure foods”. I like ice cream – a lot! I also find that ice cream goes very nicely with homemade baked treats. I like to bake, and we usually have a high-quality dessert available.
I am curious to see what happens if I eliminate my desserts for a couple of weeks. I will let you know. Don’t expect me to try that before Thanksgiving though. My absolute favorite pie is pumpkin – and it is never complete without a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side!