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How Much Does Your diet Affect Your Skin and How You Look

According Leslie Baumann, M.D., professor of dermatology at University of Miami and author of The New York Times best seller The Skin Type Solution (Bantam, 2006), "Your diet plays a crucial role in everything from skin hydration to redness, acne and aging. Even broken blood vessels on the face can be caused by diet." Most experts agree that a good diet can influence the quality of your skin. "A substantial amount of overall skin health is related to diet - probably the same magnitude as with other health states, such as cancer and heart disease, where diet is generally accepted to account for about 30 percent of overall risk," says Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., nutritional biochemist and author of Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection (Hunter House, 2007).

Certain foods help reduce the amount of oil our skin produces, as well as help keep our skin moist and supple. You may already eat these foods on a daily basis - antioxidant - rich berries and pomegranates, leafy vegetables, etc. But the truth is, we usually do not eat enough of these foods to maintain health skin.

So let's take a closer look at the foods that can restore our ageless beauty.

Grapes: New research suggests that wine grapes really do have beauty-boosting properties. ...polyphenolsóantioxidant-packed compounds in grapeseedsócan fight the aging effects of sunlight and pollution. Crushed grapeseeds act as an exfoliant.

Besides providing protection from heart attack and stroke, grape juice can also help keep your middle-aged skin from sagging. "Grapes are filled with antioxidant polyphenols that help to keep your skin flexible and elastic," says Swanson.

Grape Health Benefits & Recipes

Pomegranate: Pomegranates play a role in health for their anti-aging properties in many cultures around the world. Pomegranate is our best resource for antioxidants. Pomegranate is likely the world's most profuse source of polyphenols. This is a very powerful family of antioxidants that work primarily in the skin. It is also very helpful in escalating the protective abilities of sunscreens.

Pomegranate juice contains anthocyanins that act to strengthen the walls of the tiny blood vessels that supply nutrients to the skin. They are also great for preventing spider veins. Eating pomegranates rid of wrinkles, fatigue, appetite and indigestion. It also improves menopausal symptoms such as facial flushing or dry mouth and makes the skin firmer.

Pomegranate Health Benefits & Recipes

Apples: Apples are high in fiber and antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce oxidation and prevent cell damage. Eat 3 Ė 4 apples a day while working to clear your acne. Apples are good for skin health. Eat organic apples because you can eat the skins and most pectin is in the skin, which helps with constipation. Apples contain ascorbic acid, bioflavonoids, fiber, pectin, quercetin, minerals, and vitamins. Put apples and nuts in your salads...MMMMMMM.

Berries: slow down the aging process.

Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, plums, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, acai berriesĖtheyíre all delicious, and they give our complexions a healthy boost with phytochemicals that protect skin cells. The common link between these foods is their high antioxidant content. In a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, these four fruits weighed in with the highest "total antioxidant capacity" of any food. The benefits of these foods for healthy skin are plentiful.

Blueberries: Blueberries are considered by many experts to be the highest food source of antioxidants, which target free radicals that can wreak havoc on skin cells. The antioxidants and phytochemicals (plant sources of nutrition) in blueberries neutralize DNA-damaging free radicals, reducing cell damage. When skin cells are protected from damage and disintegration, the skin looks younger for longer. Blueberries are also an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E and riboflavin.

Anti-oxidants called anthocyanins have anti-ageing abilities, as they are believed to protect the body against chemical carcinogens and ultraviolet light. They are found in berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and cranberries. These fruits also contain the anti-oxidant vitamin C, which helps to reconstruct damaged collagen. Berries can be eaten all year round. But if fresh berries are not available, try buying them frozen from supermarkets or drink blackcurrant juice to boost your anthocyanin intake.

Blueberry Recipes Berry Recipes Berry Drink Recipes

Fish: Calms Inflammation Of The Skin

Salmon - along with other fatty fish, Walnuts, Canola Oil, and Flax Seed -- is high in healthy fatty acids that are key for achieving healthy skin. Essential fatty acids such as omega-3s help keep cell membranes healthy by keeping out harmful substances as well as allowing nutrients to enter cells and exit with waste products. Omega-3s also reduce the body's production of inflammatory agents that can damage the skin. Increasing consumption of omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods such as salmon will help keep the skin supple and youthful. A 1:1 ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s is ideal, but the ratio in the typical American diet is more like 20:1, so boosting consumption of salmon and other oily fish can help bring that ratio closer to 1:1. Salmon is also rich in protein, potassium, selenium and vitamin B12.

Salmon, Walnuts, Canola Oil, and Flax Seed:
These seemingly unrelated foods all deliver essential fatty acids, and thus are key foods for healthy skin.

Salmon, Trout, Tuna, Atlantic Mackerel, Sardines, Pacific Herring:
Just donít go overboard. As good as omega-3s are for skin (and the rest of you, too), worries about the amount of mercury in many fish mean itís smart to limit seafood to two meals a week. Thatís a must for women who are or might become pregnant or are nursing, and for young children, too. (Go here for the governmentís fish guidelines.) Omega-3s fight inflammation, now considered one of the top skin-agers, and they also help protect against sunburn, enhancing the effects of your SPF sunscreen. Protein is required to build and repair skin cells and to make enzymes and hormones that help keep it glowing.

Shellfish: Promotes Clear, Smooth Skin

The acne terminator zinc, found in oysters and other molluscs, decreases acne flareups. It also plays a major role in helping break down damaged collagen, allowing new collagen to form which, in turn, makes the skin look youthful. One of the clinical signs of zinc deficiency is dry, flaky skin. Most people need 12mg of zinc per day, so try some of these foods: 1/2 dozen oysters, 100g lean lamb, l bowl of fortified breakfast cereal, 1 cup of baked beans, 1 cup of cooked spinach, 1 slice of wholemeal bread (0.4mg).

Seafood Recipes Seafood Health Facts

Omega Options

If you are not a fish eater, add one of the following for the same amount of omega-3 fats as a 150g salmon fillet:

2 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons wheat germ oil
2 tablespoons soy bean oil
1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
3 1/2 tablespoons linseed
4 tablespoons walnuts
1 1/2 cups soy beans, uncooked

Teas - Black, Green, or White (not herbal).:
Thereís a particularly potent antioxidant known as EGCG called Epigallocatechin 3-gallate, that does all kinds of good things for skin. According to one researcher epigallocatechin-3-gallate is an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from UV radiation-induced damage.

Brew a teapot full every morning, so that sipping four to six cups throughout the day is a no-brainer.

Green Tea:
This beverage deserves a category all its own in any article about foods for healthy skin. The skin-health properties in this beneficial drink just can't be beat.

Dr. Stephen Hsu, a cell biologist in the Medical College of Georgia Department of Oral Biology found that EGCG reactivated dying skin cells. "Cells that migrate toward the surface of the skin normally live about 28 days, and by day 20, they basically sit on the upper layer of the skin getting ready to die," Dr. Hsu said. "But EGCG reactivates them. I was so surprised." EGCG seems to be a fountain of youth for skin cells.

He noted potential benefits for skin conditions as diverse as aphthous ulcers, psoriasis, rosascea, wrinkles and wounds.

In addition to consuming therapeutic quantities of green tea, salmon, blueberries, carrots and water, consumers should avoid certain foods that trigger bad skin reactions. Such ingredients include sugar, white flour, saturated fats and fried foods, which are especially bad for the skin, since they can trap oil and bacteria beneath the skin, causing acne and other skin ailments.

Green Tea and Red Wine: Wrinkles are caused by a loss of three vital skin structures: collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid (HA). The goal in wrinkle treatment is to increase levels of these three substances, says Baumann. Water, green tea and red wine can help.

Baumann recommends at least 2 to 4 cups of green tea per day. Talbott agrees: "It has a high content of flavonoid/catechins, (which can help to strengthen collagen microstructures in skin) and of theanine - an amino acid associated with relaxation and cortisol control. Too much cortisol can induce disruptions in blood sugar and inflammation." Red wine has a flavonoid/collagen effect similar to green tea and is known for its relaxation effects and blood-flow promotion, Talbott adds.

Plant and Seed Oils: Healthy Glow, Reduces Dryness

Olive oil: Anti-Aging Power For Your Skin and Body.

Oils from olives, nuts and avocados provide the skin with a healthy glow. The essential fatty acids found in these foods reduce clogged pores by thinning out the oils secreted by them. It has been suggested that people affected by eczema have an abnormal essential fatty acid metabolism and may benefit from an adjustment of the types and quantities of the fat in their diet. However, this sort of dietary manipulation is complex. The presence of vitamin E in these oils ensures the production of new cell growth, keeping the skin supple, smooth and moist. The combination of this antioxidant vitamin with others such as Bcarotene is believed to protect against erythema (redness of the skin) and therefore may be useful for diminishing sensitivity to ultraviolet light and the effects of sun damage. How much do we need? Including small amounts of these healthy oils in your diet every day would be advisable for healthy skin.

Sophia Loren uses olive oil directly on her skin and takes 1 tablespoon orally a day.

Despite all the hype about the supposed benefits of fat-free diets, it turns out that we need essential fatty acids for good health as well as for more elastic, dewy skin. Yes, certain kinds of fats are bad for us, so rather than using saturated or hydrogenated fats for cooking and eating, switch to extra-virgin organic olive oil: it is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. ďGoodĒ fats strengthen our cell membranes, helping our skin to look nourished and radiant.

Replace butter with olive oil

Consume olive oil at two or more meals per day.

Cook your fish in olive oil to maintain flaweless skin. Fish is also good for the relief of arthritis because the omega-3 acids fight inflammation, reduce pain, and decrease the number of affected joints. Olive oil fights inflammation, keeps the pain at bay and lubricates swollen joints. Double whammy Flaweless Skin and No Pain of Arthritis!

Olive oil is wonderful as a skin moisturizer and you can even make an herbal scented oil (with lavender or rosemary sprigs, etc.)! A little goes a long way and your skin absorbs it, not immediately but a little after you apply it.

Use Olive Oil in your everyday cooking. It can be used in salads or added in the cooking process of almost any recipe. Olive Oil is the healthiest type of oil with 0% cholesterol, rich in Vitamins against aging and perfect even for frying dishes. Olive oil is the best nutritional gift we can offer to ourselves. Olive oil helps us keep good in health making our life pleasant.

For best results use Pure, Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Olive Health Benefits & Recipes

Not only is it a gorgeous shape for your eyes, almonds are also great for your complexion. With 150% of your daily need for vitamin E, itís no wonder that getting a bit nutty is good for you. Vitamin E's rich oils moisturize dry skin, while its antioxidants protect against skin damage and premature aging of facial tissue.

Almond Health Facts & Recipes

The omega-3 oils in walnuts (or in salmon, if you are a fish-eater) are vitally important for flexible, plump, younger-looking skin.

Cottage Cheese:
Dairy isnít just good for your bones, itís great for your face, too. But itís the selenium in cottage cheese, not the calcium, that has us really going wild for these creamy curds.

Selenium, an essential mineral, teams up with vitamin E as a powerful free radical-fighting antioxidant duo. Plus, itís been touted to protect against skin cancer and even fight dandruff.

Acerola Cherries:
Your average cherry doesnít supply a significant amount of vitamin C, but donít tell that to this particular fruit.

Garlic: Fights Anti-Aging

Garlic's powerful antioxidant has wonderful anti-aging effects. Modern science confirms that garlic boosts immune cells, zaps disease-causing free radicals and keeps us young and vital. Fresh cloves are The best way to defy aging. Add cloves to your meals and enjoy the flavour and benefits.

Garlic Health Benefits & Recipes

Oysters: Whether theyíre an aphrodisiac or not, oysters are certainly in love with your skin. As a rich source of zinc, oysters may help fight acne. Since zinc plays a role in sebum production, a deficiency may contribute to acne problems. Zinc not only helps clear up acne, it can also help boost elastin (the skin's elastic protein) production with the help of vitamin C.

Flaxseed Oil:
Itís no secret that Omega 3s are great for your skin, but did you know that flaxseed oil is one of the best sources of Omega-3 oils? Thatís great news if youíre not a fish-lover. Just one teaspoon of flaxseed oil per day provides 2.5 grams of Omega 3s, which in turn hydrate the skin. Essential fatty acids also dilute sebum and unclog pores that can otherwise lead to acne. Try it in salad dressings, but be sure not to heat it.

Wheat Germ:
Donít let the ďgermĒ scare you Ė itís actually just the embryo within a grain of wheat, and itís very nutritious. Wheat germ is a good source of biotin, a B vitamin that is crucial to skin health. Biotin is so important to healthy skin that a mild deficiency can actually cause dermatitis, a skin condition characterized by itchy, scaly skin. Sprinkle wheat germ on yogurt for a tasty way to get more biotin in your diet.

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is a required nutrient for healthy skin. They also contain high levels of antioxidants, which prevent free radical damage of skin cells. Vitamin A is required for developing and maintaining skin cells, and a deficiency of the vitamin can cause dry skin. Carrots are also a superior source of fiber, biotin, vitamins K, C and B6, potassium and thiamine.

Carrots help protect against skin cancer. They are an excellent source of the antioxidant group called carotenoids, the most common being Bcarotene. During prolonged exposure to UV rays, blood levels of B-carotene decrease which can increase the risk of skin cancer. Studies have shown that consuming 30mg of B-carotene per day (that?s the equivalent of about four carrots) for two weeks before, as well as during, a ?holiday in the sun?, prevents the drop in B-carotene associated with increased cancer risk. It may also increase the reflective capacity of the skin. The combination of increasing the amount of carotenoids in the diet, and using sunscreen, appears to enhance the protective effects of both.

Tomatoes: Fight Collagen Damage and Premature Wrinkling

Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene, which has the potential to decrease collagen damage deep within the skin?s tissue, which is where wrinkles are formed. Many skin treatments and creams now contain lycopene, but there appear to be enhanced benefits from eating foods containing lycopene, such as tomatoes, watermelon, guava and pink grapefruit. The redder the tomato, the higher its lycopene content. Cooking tomatoes increases this level.

Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Cantaloupe:
Replenish your skinís supply of antioxidants, so they're ready to scarf up free radicals whenever they make an appearance. Free rads are highly reactive oxygen molecules that damage cells and contribute to just about everything that can go wrong with skin, from dryness to crinkles.

Baked Potatoes:
Unlike greasy French fries, a plump, steaming baked potato is actually good for your skin. One baked potato eaten with the skin supplies 75% of your daily need for copper. This essential mineral works hand-in-hand with vitamin C and zinc to produce the elastin fibers that support skin structure. Too little copper in your diet can reduce your skinís ability to heal and cause it to become rigid and lifeless.

Mushrooms: This fungi isnít just for shish kebabs and stir fries; itís also rich in riboflavin, a B vitamin thatís vital to your skin. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is involved in tissue maintenance and repair, but actually goes beyond basic skin care to improve skin blemishes caused by rosacea. This vitamin is so important for skin repair that the body will use up large amounts after sustaining a burn or wound, or undergoing surgery.

You had to know we couldnít talk about face foods without mentioning avocados. This creamy, green fruit is abundant in essential oils and B-complex vitamins that nourish your skin, inside and out.

Blend half an avocado with yogurt and frozen berries to make a tasty morning smoothie.

Try this avocado mask to instantly moisturize your skin:

1. Mash one whole avocado
2. Add 1 tsp flaxseed oil and 1 tsp honey
3. Mix together until smooth and creamy
4. Apply to face and let sit for 15-20 minutes
5. Rinse clean with warm water

Dark leafy greens rejuvenate skin:
The vitamin A found in dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are great for clearing up acne and promoting skin repair. Vitamin-rich veggie alternatives include carrots and broccoli.

Spinach, Turnip Greens, Broccoli:
Deliver a hefty supply of vitamin A, which supports skin cell turnover, the process that keeps cell growth and development humming along flawlessly. Without enough A, skin becomes dry, tough, and scaly.

Nutrients in dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach, silver beet, Asian greens and dark-green salad mix have many skinrejuvenating properties. These foods contain the anti-oxidant B-carotene (that is also found in carrots), which has the capacity to destroy cell-damaging free radicals. Iron is also present in these vegetables, and together with the vitamin C they contain, ensures that oxygen is transported to the skin?s cells. An iron deficiency can result in large dark circles forming under the eyes. Broccoli also contains the anti-oxidant vitamin C, which helps to cross-link collagen fibres and prevents collagen from being destroyed by free radicals. Collagen networks support the skin, help promote elasticity and stop it from becoming loose. Collagen also reduces bruising. To enhance the absorption of B-carotene, drizzle a little nut, olive or seed oil over raw or lightly steamed vegetables. Remember that overcooking will destroy the vitamin C.

Citrus Fruits: Keeps Your Skin Elastic

Your body canít store much wrinkle-fighting vitamin C, so you need to keep your supplies stocked. The easiest, simplest way: Have some citrus every day.

Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Grapefruit, Mandarins and Tangelos contain two compounds that are beneficial for skin health: vitamin C and limonene. Vitamin C works to preserve collagen. Short-term supplementation, under medical supervision, with high daily doses of vitamin C (3g), together with vitamin E (2g), has been shown to reduce the effects of acute sunburn. Limonene, an anti-oxidant found particularly in the peel, may help to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Actually, ounce for ounce, oranges are the top citrus C source but you can only eat so many, right? For variety, make lemonade, squeeze limes on melon, add grapefruit to salad, and instead of drinking soda, fizz up OJ with sparkling water. It all adds up.

Keep skinís vitamin C levels high. While Cís a nifty antioxidant, thatís not the key reason itís here. It helps keeps collagen -- the supportive protein fibers that stop skin from sagging -- strong and resilient. (Flimsy collagen means lines and wrinkles.) Since collagen breakdown really picks up in your mid-30s, eat citrus early and often to head off aging.

Mangoes have more than 80% of your daily requirements for vitamin A, which is why theyíre such a great face food. Vitamin A maintains and repairs skin cells; a deficiency will result in a dry, flaky complexion. As an antioxidant, vitamin A also fights free radical damage that can prematurely age the skin. And with fewer than 70 calories per serving, this succulent fruit is the perfect pick for your figure, not just your face.

Soy: keeps your skin looking youthful. Phytoestrogens in soy foods, such as soy drinks, tofu, soy and linseed bread, have been found to act like the hormone oestrogen. They help to delay the onset of dry skin and the wrinkling associated with the ageing process. Another important component which is present in soy products is vitamin E, which boosts new cell growth. The exact quantities of phytoestrogens that need to be consumed in order to reap the benefits are unknown. However, including soy products in your diet several times a week is probably a good starting point.

Wholegrain Cereals: Eliminates Toxins

The skin is a reflection of your internal health, and toxins within the body can result in unhealthy looking skin. Fibre found in wholegrains acts like a purifying system by filtering wastes out of the body. This helps to boost the skin?s potential to be healthy and clear. Calcium may also have a role to play in the removal of toxins. So the combination of a wholegrain breakfast cereal and calcium-rich milk or soy may offer additional benefits. Isovitexin, which is an anti-oxidant found in wild rice, in particular, has been touted as having antiageing properties for the skin and is also found in some skin creams.

Fill your weekly grocery cart with all of the above foods and you wonít just look younger, youíll be younger. Eating at least 1 serving of fish a week and getting the right amount of antioxidants through diet or supplements lower your biological age. In fact, the antioxidants alone can make your RealAge up to 6 years younger.

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