Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Food and your Skin...

From Women's Health Magazine (www.womenshealthmag.com)

Vote red

A recent British study found that subjects who ate five tablespoons of tomato paste every day suffered milder sunburns than those who didn't.

Researchers think lycopene, a powerful natural antioxidant found in tomatoes, provides the sun-shielding benefits. (Tip: Cook your romas--your body will absorb the nutrients more easily.)

It's no excuse to drop the SPF, but at least you have a good reason to go to your favorite Italian joint.

Forget fries

A group of researchers recently put 23 people with acne on a high-protein, low-glycemic diet for 12 weeks--and guess what? Their skin got much better.

Testers had 21.9 percent fewer blemishes, versus 13.8 percent fewer for a control group that followed a high-carb diet. (Bonus: All the low-carb subjects lost weight!)

While the researchers can't say whether it was the weight loss or the dietary changes that helped, it appears that nutrition plays a role in your skin's behavior. So pile on more lean protein and cut back on high-glycemic foods (like starchy fries and sugary candy).

Go ahead--get some Godiva

Studies show that nibbling on a few pieces of the dark stuff (milk chocolate has too much fat and sugar) will arm your skin with additional flavonols, protective nutrients that researchers believe absorb UV light and increase blood flow to the skin, improving its appearance.

In one German study, women had flavonoid-enriched cocoa every day for 12 weeks, and afterward their skin was softer, less irritated, and up to 25 percent less sensitive to sun damage when exposed to ultraviolet light. Sweet!

Got milk? Get soy

If you battle breakouts, milk could be adding to your troubles.

Three large studies have found that the more white stuff teens drink, the worse their acne gets. Researchers say hormones that occur naturally in cow juice may be to blame, and they believe women in their twenties and thirties could also be susceptible.

"If you're a big milk drinker and zits are a problem, you may benefit from cutting back," says Clement Adebamowo, M.D., an oncologist and lead researcher on these studies. "Drink milk substitutes like soy instead," he says.

Try some crunches

You could fill an entire Whole Foods produce aisle with the reams of research showing that fruits and vegetables protect and restore the skin.

So down a rainbow's worth every day, and seek out edibles packed with vitamins A and C (both are antioxidants). Particularly good: leafy greens, cantaloupe, citrus fruits (especially oranges), blueberries, strawberries, and bell peppers.

Swallow some sun protection

A study from the Queensland (Australia) Institute of Medical Research found that people who regularly took some OTC pain relievers, including aspirin, have a lower risk of developing squamous-cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer.

While the evidence doesn't justify popping pills just to protect your skin, it's one more reason to treat your aches and pains rather than power through them


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