You are what you drink part two: the best beverages for beautiful skin
Besides water, there are many beverages you can drink which work magic upon the skin, helping to fortify the skin with moisture, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that all work to make skin beautiful.
Certain beverages contain plants that are rich in compounds that can help to stimulate collagen production and protect collagen from damage, helping to keep skin youthful and undo some of the damage the sun and environmental pollutants wreak upon the skin.
Working some of these healthy beverages into the skin daily can help counteract some of the more dehydrating beverages we all love, such as coffee and tea, and help flood the skin with healthy, anti-ageing, health promoting compounds.
There are certain beverages which are like magic elixirs for the skin, nourishing and hydrating you from within to give you clear, glowing, plump, hydrated skin from without.
The best beverages for skin are ones that help hydrate the tissues, detoxify the liver, and stimulate collagen production in the skin—and they are out there.
If you’re going to treat yourself to your favourite beverages that are dehydrating your skin such as coffees, lattes, and the occasional cocktail, make sure to work in a few of the beverages from this list daily, and watch your skin literally transform within months.
In addition to water, pomegranate juice is like the milk of the gods for your skin. There is literally no beverage on the face of the earth with as many collagen-fortifying, skin-nourishing compounds that pomegranate juice has.
Pomegranate juice is so collagen-promoting because it is packed with polyphenols and antioxidants that literally feed the fibroblasts of the skin. These fibroblasts are the collagen-manufacturers of your skin cells. Nourish these and you’ll stimulate the production of new and healthier skin cells and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. For this reason, studies have found pomegranate to have powerful and fast wound healing capabilities as well as decreasing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.1
Another collagen-promoting agent in pomegranate is ellagic acid, an antioxidant that has shown promising results in preventing the breakdown of collagen. As certified dermatologist, Dr. Ellen Marmur notes, “If you think of having a pillow and all the fluffy stuff goes flat, that happens to the skin when you lose collagen and elastin. Pomegranates help to plump up skin and boost your blood supply to get rid of that tired look.”2>
Because it both slows collagen breakdown and stimulates collagen-producing cells called fibroblasts, pomegranate juice is being hailed as one of the most powerful anti-ageing beverages on the planet.
Pomegranate juice is also a great detoxifying beverage. In general, if a juice or beverage is really good for you, it is going to be good for your skin as well. Often, the more tart and astringent a fruit or vegetable juice tastes, the better it is at detoxifying the liver and kidneys. Like lemon juice, pomegranate juice helps to get the “junk” out of your system that is ruining the appearance of your skin. Detoxifying beverages like pomegranate juice, then, help your liver to shuttle toxins out of your body speedily and fully, that will otherwise create acne flare-ups, rosacea, ruddy, and discolorations of skin as well.3
Pomegranate juice is rich in other compounds which work together to give you healthy skin as well:
- Potassium. Just one cup of pomegranate juice has a whopping 15% of that huge 4700 mg. RDA for potassium that is so hard to meet. Potassium helps maintain hydration in your skin and is, therefore, crucial for preventing ageing and for keeping skin taut and youthful.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C is crucial to our skin, particularly in helping you to fight ageing and premature wrinkling, as the Linus Pauling Institute explains.4
- Copper. Copper boasts the enzyme tyrosinase that aids in the production of melanin in the skin, which gives your skin (and hair) its tone.
- Zinc. Zinc regulates the growth of new basal cells which later develop into your mature skin tissue. Zinc also plays a role in wound healing and anything that can heal wounds can also generate new skin cells.
In fact, the top layers of your skin are concentrated with up to six times more zinc than your inner skin layers. Zinc is also important for skin because it helps fight off free radicals from the environment because it activates superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant protein that protects your skin from damage.5
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is like a balm for our skin. It is one of the fat-soluble vitamins which is crucial to healthy skin tissues, wound healing, and helps protect us from sun damage as well.
In short, if you want beautiful skin, pomegranate juice should be on your shopping list.
If you love soy milk, tofu, and other soy-rich foods and beverages, you’re in luck because studies show that soy can help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and the signs of ageing.
The isoflavones in soy, called aglycones, help protect collagen which keeps skin youthful, and studies have even shown that it can help defend against the formation of wrinkles due to sunlight as well. As a matter of fact, researchers have found that products rich in isoflavones cause “significant increases in epithelial thickness” and “the number of elastic and collagen fibers” in the skin.7 Of course, increasing the numbers of elastin and collagen fibres in the skin is the whole goal of preventing aging and reversing the signs of aging in the skin. So isoflavones are definitely something we want in our diet and our skin care regimen.
Several studies have demonstrated soy’s anti-ageing properties. First, a 2007 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, followed a group of 26 women, aged 30 to 40 years old, over the course of 12 weeks who ingested soy aglycones daily in the form of soy milk or soybeans. Compared to the control group, the soy group exhibited improved appearance, tone, and elasticity of their skin. 8 Another 2004 study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that soy isoflavone extract had an anti-ageing effect on hairless mice that had been aged with ultraviolet ray damage.9
Several other studies also evidence soy’s anti-ageing properties, especially for reversing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Recently, a study of women ages 45 to 65 who used a soy and jasmine moisturiser, evidenced that the combination improved the appearance of aged skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles and improving the elasticity of the skin as well. This study is noteworthy because it was the first to use multiphotonic tomography to evaluate the efficacy of the anti-aging product.10
Kale juices, smoothies, and shakes
Kale is amazingly nutritious for the skin. It is rich in all the collagen-promoting minerals we mentioned earlier, such as Vitamin A, copper, and zinc, and has more antioxidants than just about any food on the planet (besides acai berries). Antioxidants are, of course, crucial for skin health today, helping us fight off free radicals that surround us in pollutants and harsh cleansers used by most stores and businesses we frequent today.
Kale is also a rich source of vitamin K, which promotes circulation, helping you to get that healthy glow you want so badly for your skin. But what is really beneficial in kale for skin, especially redness and flakiness, are the sulphur compounds. As Dr. Jessica Krant, professor of dermatology at SUNY notes, “The sulfur content in kale aids in reducing redness and flakiness, and vitamin K help ward off cancer, while keeping circulation healthy. “This helps us maintain our glow and also removes toxins from our bodies.”11
Water, water, water, water, water (and lemon water, too)
Nothing makes your skin look younger or plumper than water. Water hydrates you from within, and gives your skin a healthy tautness and “bounce.”
Dermatologists swear by water. For example, Rachel Nazarian, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at the Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City and an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital states, “I’ve found that water makes a big difference in skin health. Without adequate water intake, skin appears duller, and wrinkles and pores more prominent.”12
Water literally swells and plumps up skin cells, much as you would plump a pillow, causing wrinkles to look filled in even if it cannot completely erase them.
Even more important for skin that water provides is that it supports collagen production.
To explain, briefly, how important water is to the skin, you have to understand a little bit about the skin itself.
Understanding collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans
The dermis layer of skin has three crucial components: collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s). These three components form the bulk of what is called the skin’s extracellular matrix (ECM).
Collagen and elastin are structural proteins and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and proteoglycans are amino acids that bind with water to hydrate the skin and fill in the gaps between the collagen and elastin fibres, giving the skin its “turgidity,” as researchers at Just About Skin note. Turgidity means “swollen.” This is why we need so much water for beautiful skin. It binds with the amino acids that swell and plump up our skin.13
As Dr. Julian Few, director of The Few Institute and clinical professor of plastic surgery at the University of Chicago adds, “What’s more, a variety of structures in the skin that support collagen require water to work effectively.”14
What’s important when trying to get more water into your daily diet, however, is not to feel like you can just get up and down 8 glasses of water in the morning or all at once.
Your body can only absorb X amount of fluid at a time and too much at once will just make your body flush out too many minerals and salts, which will negatively impact the balance of water in your body. Try to space your water intake out throughout the day instead, stopping early enough before bedtime (around 3 hours before bed) that you won’t be up going to the bathroom all night.
Lemon water has powerful detoxifying capabilities for both the skin and the kidneys, so it is wonderful for giving you clear skin. In fact, lemon juice can help the bowels, kidneys, and gall bladder to all flush toxins out of the body more efficiently. A less toxic body, of course, means clearer, brighter, more glowing skin.15
The rich amount of vitamin C in lemon juice also helps to repair damaged skin cells and help you get rid of wrinkles and fine lines.
Lemon is also full of natural antioxidants which can effectively combat free radicals in the environment.
So add some slices of lemon to a pitcher of water and let this tempt you to drink more water every time you open the fridge. Finding ways to spice up your water drinking, with berries and lemon slices, for example, will help you get more water into your diet.
Staying hydrated is crucial for plump, glowing skin. Pomegranate juice, soy milk, water, and kale smoothies are great ways to keep your body—and skin—fortified with the kind of hydration and nutrition that promotes new skin cell growth and collagen production.
Read part 1 in our series of You are what you drink by clicking here
References and Sources
- Zarfeshany, A., Sedigheh, A., and Shaghayegh Haghjoo Javanmard. (2014). Potent health effects of pomegranate. Advanced Biomedical Research. 3: 100. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007340/
- Oliver, D. (2014). Pomegranate beauty benefits: 4 Amazing uses for the seedy fruit. The Huffington Post. rel=”nofollow”https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/pomegranate-beauty-benefits_n_4611354.html
- Usta, C. et. al. (2013). The pharmacological use of ellagic acid-rich pomegranate fruit. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 64(7). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09637486.2013.798268
- Linus Pauling Institute. Vitamin C and skin. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C
- Kresser, C. (2012). Vitamins for healthy skin: Vitamins A, zinc, and vitamin C.https://chriskresser.com/nutrition-for-healthy-skin-part-1/
- Oregon State University. Linus Pauling Institute. Vitamin E and skin health. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-E
- Accorsi-Neto, I. et. al. (2009). Effects of isoflavones on the skin of postmenopausal women: a pilot study. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 64(6): 505–510. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2705153/
- >Toru, z. et. al. (2007). Oral intake of soy isoflavornes improves the aged skin of adult women. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. 53(1): 57-62. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jnsv/53/1/53_1_57/_article
- Kim, S. Y., et. al. (2004). Protective effects of dietary soy isoflavones against UV-induced skin-aging in hairless mouse model. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 23(2):157-62. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15047682
- Wallo, W., Nebus, J, and J.J. Leyden. Efficacy of a soy moisturizer in photoaging: a double-blind, vehicle-controlled, 12-week study. Journal of Drugs and Dermatology. 6:917-22. https://www.soyconnection.com/newsletters/soy-connection/health-nutrition/articles/Oral-and-Topical-Use-of-Soy-May-Provide-Skin-Benefits
- Fox News Magazine. (2013). 10 foods that can get you amazing skin. https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/slideshow/2013/07/26/10-foods-that-can-help-get-amazing-skin.html#/slide/1
- Fetters, A. (2015). Does drinking water really give you glowing skin? https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/drinking-water-for-better-skin
- Just About Skin. Collage, Elastin, and Glycosaminoglycans. https://www.justaboutskin.com/collagen-elastin-glycosasminoglycans/
- Fetters, A. (2015). Ibid.
- Group, Edward. Dr. (2013). How does lemon juice assist detoxification? Global Healing Center: Live Healthy [blog] https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/how-does-lemon-juice-assist-detoxification/