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The Anti-Wrinkle Diet

The skin is the largest organ in the body—about 20 square feet—and the most vulnerable organ in the body. It’s exposed to both the oxidizing effects of UV radiation from the sun and the oxidizing effects of oxygen in the air, and years of oxidant stress can take a toll. As we age, our skin becomes thinner, more easily damaged, loses volume and elasticity, and can sag and wrinkle. So what can we do about it?

Three things contribute to the aging of skin: 1) Oxidative stress induced by sun-damage, 2) inflammation, and 3) ischemia or lack of adequate blood flow. Oxidative stress means we need antioxidants so one might predict plant foods would help (see Antioxidant Power of Plant Foods Versus Animal Foods). Similarly saturated fat and cholesterol intake may contribute to inflammation and  ischemia (see The Leaky Gut Theory of Why Animal Products Cause Inflammation and Blocking the First Step of Heart Disease). Let’s see if our predictions hold up.

In my 3-min. video Beauty is More than Skin Deep I profile a study that concluded “In particular, a high intake of vegetables, legumes [beans, peas, lentils, and soy] and olive oil appeared to be protective against skin wrinkling, whereas a high intake of meat, dairy and butter appeared to have an adverse effect. Prunes, apples and tea appeared especially protective.”

For more on the power of prunes see Dried Apples Versus Cholesterol and To Snack or Not to Snack?.

Another recent study found that green tea phytonutrients were able to protect skin against harmful UV radiation and help improve women’s skin quality. After a few months on green tea there was a 16% reduction in skin roughness and a 25% reduction in scaling.

For an extraordinary report on green tea and skin health, check out: Treating Gorlin Syndrome With Green Tea.

Eating healthier can produce healthier skin, but who cares about microscopic changes? What about overt visible-to-the-naked eye changes? See my video pick above to see what dietary intervention may significantly protect against wrinkles in the crow’s foot area around the eyes.

For other videos on appealing to vanity to get people to eat healthier, see:

Want to know what else green vegetables can do? I’ve got 45 videos on greens. Here are a few of my favorites:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: Hamner_Fotos / Flickr

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Read more: Eating for Health, Health, Skin Care, Videos, , ,

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


+ add your own
1:13PM PST on Jan 10, 2014

I think the key is to put on weight as you age so that you fill out the wrinkles! That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! :-) Thank you for sharing.

12:40AM PDT on Jun 15, 2013

Anti aging foos really help to preven aging and wrinkles.

4:13PM PST on Jan 14, 2013


9:11AM PST on Dec 28, 2012

Thank you. These foods are good for you in general and should be eaten for that reason. Not just to keep your outer packaging nice!

4:51PM PST on Dec 13, 2012


1:16PM PST on Dec 13, 2012

thank you for the article :)

2:15AM PST on Dec 13, 2012

The studywas actually on which of the phytonutrients that most impacted the skin. Dr. Greger merely suggested green and yellow vegetables, but the study he is referring to actually focused on the nutrient within these vegetables. And the nutrient is.........lutein. Twenty seven mg of lutein/day had a visible impact on the crows feet over a long time. True, its best to get it in vegetable form(always take your vegetables with a little fat for best absorbtion of nutrients) because you are also getting about 4,000 other beneficial phytochemicals and nutrients along with the lutein, but it was specifically lutein.

7:41PM PST on Dec 12, 2012

Thank you.

3:20PM PST on Dec 12, 2012


9:00AM PST on Dec 12, 2012

Very interesting. Don't you wonder how many more wrinkles you would have had if you hadn't done some of this?? I do.
Thank You

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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