Is the raw food diet the key to younger-looking skin?
One thing’s for sure: it’s NOT a fad. It’s a lifestyle that encourages you to eat more foods in their raw form, so you can get ALL their nutrients - not just those that survive a trip on your frying pan.
More nutrients = a healthier you. Science has proven this time and time again. Here are just a few health benefits of eating raw:
- Better liver detoxification
- Improved digestion
- Lower inflammation
- Stronger immune system
Awesome, right? But what does this has to do with skin? A lot. Here are 3 ways eating raw foods help you achieve the clear, younger-looking skin of your dreams:
Raw Foods Are Low In AGEs
AGEs is short for Advanced Glycation End Products. All you need to know about them is that make you age (get the name, now?) faster.
When you eat them, they work from the inside out to cause free radicals and inflammation, the two main causes of premature aging!
The more AGEs you eat up, the more wrinkles and dark spots you get. Worse, your skin sags faster, too.
(These are just the skin problems. AGEs also give you diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other scary illnesses).
You can’t stop eating AGEs completely. Even fruits like avocados have a small amount of these nasties.
Good news: that’s what antioxidants are for. Your body knows AGEs exist and has come up with its own antioxidant force to neutralize them before they wreak their havoc on your skin.
Problem is, if you’re on the Western diet, your body is assaulted by more AGEs than it can deal with. Guess what foods have the most AGEs?
Meat. Sugar. Processed foods. Anything fried. You can find the list here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3704564/table/T1/#TFN2
Like that weren’t enough, you make more AGEs when you cook your food. For example, raw salmon has only 528 AGEs. After you’ve cooked it, AGEs shot up to 3083!
FYI, I’m not saying you should never cook your salmon (or anything else, for that matter). Eating foods high in AGEs once in a while it’s ok. Everything in moderation.
Just make sure you’re also feeding your body plenty of AGEs-low, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables that can counteract the effects of your steak.
Where to find them? Carrots, cucumber, celery and banana are all great options that help you slow down the aging process. Eat them raw.
P.S. It’s heat that makes AGEs. Next time you cook that steak, switch from high heat cooking methods like roasting to low heat methods like sous vide. Your steak’ll taste delicious - and won’t make you age as fast.
Raw Foods Have A Higher Water Content
Did you know 64% of your skin is made up of water? No wonder hydration is the foundation of healthy skin, then.
When your skin has all the moisture it needs, something magical happens: your skin plumps up so fine lines and wrinkles look smaller; its texture becomes softer; your whole complexion brightens up as if lit-from-within.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to drink your 8 glasses of water to keep skin hydrated. You can drink less IF you munch on fruits and veggies. They’re loaded with water, so they count towards your daily water intake.
But only if you eat them raw. The second you cook them, the higher temperatures make all their water evaporate out into thin air!
In case you’re wondering, raw foods with the highest water intake include watermelon, cucumber, celery, tomatoes and strawberries.
Raw Foods Have More Enzymes Than Cooked Foods
Enzymes are chemicals that speed up the rate of chemical reactions without being consumed in the process.
They’re involved in plenty of biological processes like digestion, detoxification, nutrient absorptions, DNA repair... all those functions that keep your skin young and healthy.
Normally, these reactions occur at incredibly high temperatures. But when enzymes are around, they can occur at normal body temperatures that don’t consume us. How smart is that?
Your skin needs enzymes. If it doesn’t have enough, toxins build up in your body faster and cause all kinds of havoc. Like slowing down cellular renewal (your skin’s natural exfoliation process) and dulling your complexion.
When you cook your food, most of the enzymes in them are destroyed (thank the high temperatures and loss of water).
FYI, cooking fruits and vegetables isn’t always a bad idea. Heating tomatoes, for example, increases the amount of lycopene (a powerful antioxidant) your body can absorb. Cooked cruciferous vegetables are easier to digest, too.
So, what’s a girl to do to get glowing skin? Eat most of your fruits and veggies raw and cook the rest at slow temperatures to keep most of the enzymes alive.
P.S. The best enzymes-rich foods are arugula, radicchio, kale, pineapple and fermented foods.
The Bottom Line
You don’t need to stop cooking your foods and enjoy a juicy steak or a steamed salmon fillet. But adding more raw foods, like colorful fruits and vegetables, into your diet will help you lower inflammation, hydrate skin and slow down the aging process. Who doesn’t want that?