Transcript: Beauty Is More than Skin Deep
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
The skin is the largest organ in the body—about 20 square feet—and, the most vulnerable organ in the body, exposed to both the oxidizing effects of UV radiation from the sun, and the oxidizing effects of oxygen in the air.
And, years of oxidant stress can take a toll. Over the years, skin becomes thinner, more easily damaged; loses volume, elasticity, and can sag and wrinkle.
What can we do about it? “Skin wrinkling: can food made a difference?” They measured healthfulness of skin using a microtopographic method. It’s cool; they make a mold of the back of your hand with a silicone rubber, peel it off, and then look at it under a microscope.
This is what young, tight, healthy skin looks like. But, then, as we age, our skin can get all coarse and flaccid. How can we stop it? Well, three things contribute to the aging of skin: “Oxidative stress…induced by [sun]-damage, inflammation and ischemia [lack of adequate blood flow].”
Oxidative stress means we need antioxidants. “Under these circumstances, many skin antioxidants undergo depletion…and must be replaced continuously in order to delay the otherwise inevitable deterioration which would lead to skin aging.” So, plant foods would presumably help.
And then, inflammation and lack of blood flow. And so, one might predict that saturated fat (inflammation) and cholesterol (ischemia), might be associated with adverse effects on our skin.
Let’s see if our predictions hold up. “In particular, a high intake of vegetables, [beans, peas, lentils, soy] and olive oil appeared to be protective” against skin wrinkling, whereas “a high intake of meat, dairy and butter” appeared to have an adverse effect.
Prunes, apples, and tea appeared especially protective. A recent study, for example, found that green tea phytonutrients were able to protect skin against harmful UV radiation, and help improve skin quality of women. After a few months on green tea, there was a 16% reduction in skin roughness, and a 25% reduction in scaling. Here’s micrographs showing the reduction in scaling, as well as improved skin elasticity and hydration.
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