Eat Fat For Younger Skin
Low-fat dieting was the biggest nutrition mistake ever made. Back in the 1970s, the government started urging us all to stop eating fat.
Not long after that, obesity rates in America went through the roof.
But that’s not the only damage a low-fat diet will do. It can make you look old before your time. Let me explain.
Each one of your skin cells is surrounded by two layers of fat. It’s called the phospholipid bilayer.
When this fatty cell wall is strong, it gives the cell a solid structure and integrity. It protects cells from sun damage. And it helps keep your skin hydrated.
You see, fluid on the inside of skin cells prevents your skin from drying out. It’s the key to plump, young-looking skin. But to keep that fluid inside the cell, you need a strong fatty membrane to hold everything together.
A low-fat diet starves your cell walls. Skin cells start to collapse leaving you with dry, old-looking skin.
Healthy fats give your skin cells the raw materials they need to keep cell walls strong and skin moist.
Where Middle-Aged Women Look 20
And eating fats can even reduce wrinkles. I’ve seen it in primitive cultures in Peru, Brazil, and Africa, where saturated fats and tropical oils are a major part of the diet. Middle-aged women there look like they’re in their 20s.
And studies confirm what I’ve observed.
In Japan, researchers examined the faces of 716 women. They measured elasticity and hydration. The women who ate more total fat, saturated fat and monounsaturated fats had much better skin elasticity. Those who ate more saturated fats also had fewer wrinkles.1
And a French study examined almost 3,000 people. Those eating more monounsaturated fat from olive oil had a much lower risk of skin damage from the sun.2
American researchers confirmed it. They examined skin aging in 4,025 women. Those women who had more linoleic acid in their diet had a lower likelihood of developing dry, wrinkled or sagging skin.3
Linoleic acid is an essential omega-6 fat. We can only get it from food.
Americans get most of their linoleic acid from highly processed vegetable oils in junk food. That’s a mistake. I tell my patients to avoid processed vegetable oils, like canola, corn and soybean oil.
Instead, I recommend getting a small amount of high quality linoleic fats from whole nuts and seeds. Good sources are sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pecans and Brazil nuts. Cheese is another good source especially blue, Brie and Swiss cheeses.
One reason linoleic acid is so good for skin is that your body converts it to the omega-3 essential fats called EPA and DHA. These fats have been proven to protect skin from sun damage that leads to premature aging.4
Essential fats like omega-3s are also the building blocks of healthy cell membranes. They help produce the skin’s natural oil barrier. That keeps skin hydrated, plump and looking younger.
To get more omega-3s in your diet, try eating three or four servings a week of cold-water fatty fish like wild-caught salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna and anchovies.
Other sources of good fats include grass-fed beef and dairy, pastured eggs, olive oil, walnuts, avocados and coconut oil.
You can also feed your skin from the outside with these anti-aging fats. Applying fats directly to your skin strengthens the lipid barrier. It protects skin from the elements and accelerates its natural healing and repair.
Oils rich in oleic acid are particularly beneficial. Oleic acid is the main fatty acid produced by your skin’s sebaceous glands. These glands are your skin’s natural moisturizers.
Applying an oil containing oleic acid can help the skin produce sebum, its own natural oil. It replenishes the oil your skin loses as you age.
Feed Mangoes to Your Skin
One of the best sources of oleic acid I’ve found is mango seed butter.
You probably already know the tropical mango tree (Mangifera indica) for its juicy orange fruit. But the large pit inside is an anti-aging treasure. The oil pressed from the seed is almost 50% oleic acid that can boost your skin’s natural moisture production.
Mango seed butter is very similar to both cocoa butter and shea butter. The fat in mango seed butter protects skin from UV rays and lessens the appearance of fine lines. It also reduces inflammation and helps restore elasticity.
In the tropics, I’ve seen women use mango seed butter as a skin softener to moisturize and to protect against sun damage. They use it to prevent the appearance of wrinklesand to support health skin tone.
You can find pure mango seed butter online. The butter from the seed is solid at room temperature, but it melts on your body. It leaves a silky, greaseless protective layer on the skin.
I’m added mango seed butter to my new Refresh Rejuvenating Eye Lift. It helps moisturize the sensitive skin around your eyes to decrease the appearance of fine lines. Look forMangifera Indica Seed Butter on the label.
It’s coming very soon, so stay tuned!
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Nagata C et al. “Association of dietary fat, vegetables and antioxidant micronutrients with skin ageing in Japanese women.” Br J Nutr. 2010;103(10):1493-8.
2. Latreille J et al. “Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids intake and risk of skin photoaging.” PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44490. 3. 3.Maeve C Cosgrove et al. “Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women.” Am J Clin Nutr October 2007 vol. 86 no. 4 1225-123.
4. Sies H, Stahl W. “Nutritional protection against skin damage from sunlight.” Annu Rev Nutr 2004;24:173–200.