Studies have shown that a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet can aid in slowing down skin aging. Along with this, it either helps to prevent or reverse the development of certain chronic diseases. Due to these benefits, healthcare experts are asking their patients to eat more plant-based food like fruits and vegetables for better overall health. Also, research has shown that WFPB increases the antioxidant potential of cells by different methods. It provides vitamins like A, C, and E, coupled with eliminating gerontotoxins and carcinogens from the bloodstream. Read on to know more about the anti-aging effect of a plant-based diet.
What Is A Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?
A WFPB diet involves eating plant-based food that is unprocessed or minimally processed. So, people who follow this type of diet avoid consuming food made using refined flour and sugar like pastries, cookies, etc. Instead, they consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and so on as part of their diet.
What Is The Link Between Whole Food Plant-Based Diet And Skin Aging?
A whole food plant-based diet is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Also, plant-based food has lower amounts of saturated fats. This helps with maintaining younger cells and tissues. Studies have shown that a WFPB diet slows the shortening of telomeres of DNA and thereby slows down cellular aging. Also, it reduces gerontotoxins in the blood; they act as biomarkers of skin aging. This, when combined with increased amounts of antioxidants, results in healthier and younger-looking skin.
The Link Between Inflammation And Skin Aging
Inflammation is linked to skin aging and this is a natural intrinsic process. Also, due to this reason, dermatological issues that cause inflammation accelerates skin aging. Apart from this, other factors like exposure to UV radiation from sunlight, smoking, improper sleep, pollution, poor nutrition, etc., contributes to inflammation. This accelerates the skin losing its elasticity, moisture retention capacity, sallowness, and formation of fine wrinkles.
Gerontotoxins are a group of toxins that causes the aging of cells. One such well-studied toxin is advanced glycation end-product (AGE). The accumulation of AGEs in the skin causes stiffening of collagen, laminin, elastin, and vitronectin. As a result of this, the healing of the skin is delayed and causes skin ulcers. Finally, oxidative damage due to reactive oxygen species (ROS) also accelerates the process of skin aging.
What Is The Role Of Plant-Based Food In Skin Health?
Both AGE’s and ROS are the two major causes of accelerated skin aging. The oxidative damage due to the latter is neutralized with the help of antioxidants present in the skin. Vitamins E, C, and A are the three major antioxidants found in the skin. Vitamin E is the primary antioxidant; it neutralizes harmful antioxidants by oxidizing itself. After it is oxidized, it must be regenerated, and vitamin C helps in this regeneration process. Due to this, vitamin C is considered a secondary antioxidant. It is replenished through the diet or by a tertiary antioxidant like vitamin A. Plant-based food, especially vegetables and berries are rich in these vitamins. Also, the regular consumption of food rich in antioxidants helps in the prevention of circulation of oxidized fats through the bloodstream. This is beneficial for cardiovascular health because fat can damage the walls of blood vessels.
The Primary Antioxidant, Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a complex consisting of eight compounds called tocopherols. It is required for the proper maintenance of skin health because of its antioxidant properties. Because of this, it is important to ensure sufficient systemic levels of vitamin E, and this is done by the consumption of tocopherol sources. Also, there must be vitamin C in the skin to regenerate the antioxidant effect of vitamin E; this is because these two vitamins act synergistically.
Listed below are some of the plant-based food rich in vitamin E:
- Wheat germ oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Spinach, beet greens, and collard greens
- Red bell pepper
Also, during plant-based food preparation, you can use sunflower, safflower, or soybean oil because they have high amounts of vitamin E.
The Secondary Antioxidant, Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, has excellent antioxidant properties. It neutralizes free radicals and thereby helps to regenerate vitamin E. Also, it promotes the expression of the gene that is responsible for the production of collagen. Moreover, this vitamin boosts the immune system and hence enhances the wound repairing capacity of the skin.
Listed below are plant-based food rich in vitamin C:
- Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C
- Brussels sprouts
- Bell peppers
The Tertiary Antioxidant, Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an antioxidant that is required for skin health because it neutralizes singlet oxygen species.
Listed below are plant-based food rich in vitamin A:
- Sweet potato
- Baby spinach
- Butter squash
The reasons that are mentioned above are also the reason vitamins A, C, and E are used in skincare products. We hope that the details shared above gave you a good understanding of the antiaging effect of a plant-based diet.