Our skin is bombarded both inside and out on a daily basis with stress, hormones, junk food, lack of H2O and weather to name a few. The good news is, a healthy diet will help us withstand this barrage of attacks, with nutrients that help repair, maintain and enhance the skin.
Free radicals initiate the deterioration of the skin’s structural support and decrease the elasticity, resiliency and suppleness. Just what are these free radicals? To get into the ‘science’ of it for a moment, they are oxygen molecules that have lost an electron and are thus unstable and reactive. These reactive oxygen molecules bounce around cells and tissues setting off a chain reaction, robbing electrons from healthy molecules, causing damage and creating more free radicals in the process. Collagen, a protein molecule that gives skin a youthful, supple look, is especially susceptible to free-radical damage. For the most part, exhaust fumes, overexposure to sunlight, radiation (x-rays) and cigarette smoking are the main culprits of free-radical damage.
Luckily for us, antioxidants in the form of phytochemicals help us survive this onslaught of damage that comes our way. These phytochemicals prevent and reverse damage by simply giving free radicals the electrons they need to become stable. So, how does all of this affect your skin? Studies are showing that wrinkles and other age-related skin factors are directly related to free-radical damage that is not countered by antioxidants. Phytochemicals are found all around us – in our vegetables and leafy greens. They are chemicals that are not required to sustain life – nonessential nutrients but are proven to protect humans against diseases and damage. There are more than a thousand known phytochemicals each working differently to protect us … a very important reason to be eating a diet rich in plant-based foods.