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Eat your way to a facelift

Published Mar 15, 2011

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London - Collagen is the main structural component of the dermis, one of the lower layers of the skin. It’s essential for keeping the skin toned and supple and from the age of about 25, our cells produce less and less collagen.

The result is wrinkled skin. While many face creams have vaunted their anti-ageing credentials with claims that they contain this magic ingredient, detractors insist that the collagen molecule is too large to penetrate the skin.

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Another way that you can boost your skin’s collagen levels is through what you eat.

Expert dermatologists and nutritionists have identified the foods most likely to help your skin retain or manufacture more collagen – The Facelift Diet

What to eat

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Tofu and soy: Menopause, and specifically declining levels of the hormone oestrogen, are associated with a sharp fall in levels of collagen.

But in studies, post-menopausal women taking HRT increased their levels of collagen by as much as 6.5 percent in six months.

Soy contains compounds – phytoestrogens – which have a similar effect on the body as oestrogen, so include soy products in your diet.

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Salmon: Salmon and other oily fish, such as mackerel, herring and sardines, are often heralded as skin superfoods because of their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which help to maintain supple skin.

US dermatologist, Dr Nicholas Perricone, also credits these oily fish with reducing inflammation in the skin. He believes that this inflammation speeds up the rate at which collagen is broken down.

Turkey: Turkey is a great source of protein, one of the building blocks of collagen, but it also contains a type of protein called carnosine, which helps to slow down the process that causes the strands of collagen to fuse together, so by eating turkey, you can help keep the collagen in your skin supple and your skin more elastic.

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Spinach: Dark leafy green vegetables are rich in an antioxidant called lutein. Antioxidants are essential to maintain levels of collagen because they are thought to help neutralise free radicals.

Free radicals are volatile chemical compounds which are generated by the body’s normal functions and by external sources, such as UV light.

Blueberries: Vitamin C is essential for making collagen and so berries, which are rich in the vitamin, are vital ingredients for your collagen-boosting diet.

People who are deprived of vitamin C develop scurvy, a condition where a lack of connective tissue causes teeth to fall out and cartilage and tendons to weaken.

A diet rich in vitamin C will ensure your body has one of the crucial building blocks it needs to produce collagen.

What to avoid

Sugar: When it comes to ageing, sugary foods or starchy foods that break down to form sugars, are the enemy.

According to Perricone, and US dermatologist, Dr Fredric Brandt, sugar produces an inflammatory response in collagen which results in the fusing and stiffening of the strands.

– Daily Mail

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