Forget all the expensive creams, toners, and scrubs, says Mitchell Gaynor, MD, author of the recently released book The Gene Therapy Plan: Taking Control of your Genetic Destiny Through Diet and Lifestyle. To create and carry radiant skin from fall through winter, here’s what you should be eating—and what you shouldn’t!—according to Dr. Gaynor.
>> Anti-AGE Foods: Focus on lowering advanced glycation end products, aka AGEs, in your diet. AGEs are molecules that result from irregular bonding between sugar, DNA, proteins, and fats. They attach to collagen in skin, reducing its elasticity. The worst AGEs are found in animal products and foods processed with high and dry heat.
>> Edible SPF: Indian Gooseberry has been shown to protect against UV rays by blocking the formation of matrix metalloproteinase, an enzyme that destroys collagen. Not only helpful in protection, this gooseberry actually repairs sun-damaged skin as well. (But remember to apply topical SPF, too!)
>> Go Raw: Foods processed with less heat will be lower in AGEs than foods that are cooked, even when it comes to veggies. Try fitting two raw meals into your diet each day. Hint: fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch.
>> Crunchy Chips = Crunchy Skin: Because they’re processed dry and in higher temps, the typical cracker or chip has 15 to 30 times more AGEs than a slice of white bread. Always opt for “fresher” carbs.
>> Method Matters: The way your food is prepared has a tremendous impact on AGE levels. High heat is AGE producing. So is dry heat (foods cooked without a water or oil base). For example, broiled salmon has nearly three times more AGEs than salmon that is steamed for 10 minutes.
>> Punch Out Packaging: Generally, foods that come packaged in plastic and boxes were intended to sit on shelves for longer periods and are typically prepared with high-heat processing, making them safer from decay. Unfortunately, this also elevates the glycation process that produces higher levels of AGEs.