HEALTHY FOOD FOR HEALTHY SKIN

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(Massimo Spattini)

The skin is not just a mere covering: it is a real organ whose size and surface are second only to the intestine. Like the intestine, the skin acts as a selective barrier between the internal and external part of the body. In fact, through the digestive tube (stomach – oesophagus- mouth) it communicates with the outside. It acts like a filter, allowing the substances we need to pass and stopping the harmful ones, favouring their elimination.

Obviously, due to anatomical reasons, the skin is particularly exposed to mechanical attacks coming from the external environment. Yet, its health can be damaged by the metabolic alterations of the internal environment as well.

The health of our skin depends on proper lifestyles which include moderate sun exposure, environmental pollution, electromagnetic pollution, microwave radiations (see mobile phones), the use of particularly aggressive soaps and detergents. Eating healthy food is fundamental: it is important to limit the intake of simple sugars and saturated fats, as well as hydrogenated fats which are above all found in sweets, soft drinks and snacks.

Moreover, it is important not to smoke, limit the consumption of alcoholic drinks and do one’s best to manage stress. Going to bed early and sleeping at least eight hours a night is essential, too. Sleeping well in the first hours of the night favours the natural secretion of the GH hormone, which is known as the antiaging hormone used by Hollywood stars in their antiaging therapies.

This hormone gives back the skin tissues tone and elasticity, causing a sort of lift effect, while the lack of sleep causes a higher production of cortisol.

Cortisol, also defined as stress hormone, has a negative effect on skin proteins such as collagen and elastin, causing the process of skin relaxation. Excessive stress and wrong lifestyles increase oxidative stress, consisting in a raise in the production of free radicals which, if in excess, damage the cells and tissues. The formation of free radicals also increases when the “cleaner” system, naturally present in our body to keep free radicals under control, experiences a crisis. This is often due to an excess in “toxins” which our body cannot eliminate. This is why the intake of antioxidants – substances which are able to neutralise toxic free radicals – is fundamental for the health of our skin.

The most famous and most powerful antioxidant substances are vitamins A, C, E, betacarotene (provitamin A), lipoic acid, acetylcysteine, Q10 coenzyme. Vitamin C and Q10 are fundamental for collagen production. Lipoic acid stimulates the activity of an enzyme which digests damaged collagen and favours its regeneration. In particular lipoic acid and acetylcysteine, besides their direct antioxidant effect, also help the detoxifying function of the liver, since they are the precursors of glutathione, the most important detoxifying molecule in our body which cannot be taken orally because it is dismantled by digestive enzymes.

Other less famous yet very interesting substances with high antioxidant and regenerative power are deutrosulfazyme and silicon dioxide. Deutrosulfazyme is a saline form of deuterium (composed of oxygen and hydrogen), more specifically by deuterium sulphate enriched by amino acid minerals and enzymes. This formulation favours the fission of water into oxygen and hydrogen, allowing higher tissue oxygenation since, as doctor Artur Guyton said, “any pain, suffering or chronic disease is caused by insufficient cell oxygenation”.

Silicon dioxide is very important for the connective tissue. As the Nobel prize Metschnikov (1845-1916) said, “man is as old as his connective tissue”.

The age of the connective tissue is determined by its content of silicon dioxide, which decreases with age. The effects of such decrease are forehead wrinkles, reduced skin elasticity, opacity, hair loss and nail weakness.

The lack of silicon dioxide causes the loss of the capacity to link water to the connective tissue and this has visible consequences on the face, which loses compactness. This is why it is possible to use subcutaneous injections of hyaluronic acid, a mucopolysaccharide rich in collagen which retains water, giving the tissues more turgidity. If the use of antioxidant vitamins and integrators is certainly a good way to prevent skin aging, it is also important to consider one’s diet.

After listing the food to avoid – that is, sweets, soft drinks, snacks, alcohol, excessively elaborated food rich in saturated fatty acids, excessive consumption of bread and pasta, cold pork meat, preserved and refined food – it is now time to consider the food which is particularly effective in protecting our skin. Among this kind of food are various types of berries which are particularly rich in antioxidants. For example, Goji berries – which have been used in Tibetan medicine for thousands of years – are very rich in betacarotene and vitamin C. Acaj berries, which grow in the Amazon forest, are very rich in polyphenols (very powerful antioxidants). Elderberry is rich in mineral salts and vitamin A. Also very common berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are rich in antioxidants.

Actually, it is reductive to mention as beneficial effects only the most powerful and famous active principles of this food, since the great effectiveness of natural food is characterised by a perfect mix which only nature can generate: minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients which act synergically and in a unique way with the active principle itself.

Another exceptional food which helps avoiding skin aging is salmon, which is particularly rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids, extremely useful to fight inflammation – one of the major causes that leads to the production of free radicals – and contains Astaxanthin. This carotenoid has high antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiestrogenic power. It is contained in micro seaweed eaten by salmon, hence its typical colour (we are talking about wild salmon, since farm-raised salmon is not fed on seaweed but on specific colouring agents in order to obtain that typical colour).

Another substance which is richly found in salmon is DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol), a powerful compound which is the precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, also responsible for skin tone. Try and eat salmon and vegetables as your main meals for three days, together with berries and dried fruit as a snack… your face will become at least 10 years younger… first try and then trust!