Thursday, June 18, 2009

Healthy tip

Can Salmon Save Your Skin?
Omega-3 fatty acids may boost your skin’s defenses against UV damage.
By Fiona Kenny, R.D. ,

If you spend your summer vacation soaking up the sun, your best defense (second to sunscreen, of course) may be what you order for dinner. Healthy omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish can boost your skin’s defenses against UV damage, explains epidemiologist Adèle Green, Ph.D.

In a study published in the April 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers followed the eating habits of more than 1,100 Australian adults for approximately five years and found that those who ate a little more than 5 ounces of omega-3-rich fish—such as salmon and tuna—each week decreased the development of precancerous skin lesions by almost 30 percent.

The lesions, called actinic keratoses, are a common sign of chronic sun damage and can develop into skin cancer if left untreated.

Scientists think the omega-3s act as a shield, protecting cell walls from free-radical damage. So next time you head to the beach remember your sunscreen and hat, and make reservations at a restaurant that serves great seafood.

More promising findings on eating for healthy skin:

Researchers from Unilever linked consuming plenty of vitamin C-rich foods (such as oranges, tomatoes and strawberries) with youthful skin. Vitamin C’s youthful effects on skin may be due to its antioxidant properties, which help protect against ultraviolet rays, and its role in keeping skin firm via collagen synthesis.

A study of 177 men and women published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that people who consumed diets rich in olive oil, vegetables and legumes had the least skin wrinkling while those who ate lots of full-fat dairy and red meat had the most. "Eating foods rich in bioactive compounds (vitamins, phytochemicals) may minimize ultraviolet damage to the skin and improve its appearance," says Mark L. Wahlqvist, M.D., one of the study’s authors and director of the Asia Pacific Health and Nutrition Center at Monash University in Australia.

In one study, scientists in Germany showed that consuming tomato paste rich in the antioxidant lycopene (2 1/2 tablespoons daily for 10 weeks) reduced sunburn by 40 percent.

Research suggests that the nutrient beta carotene may help you stay young-looking by scavenging for free radicals that contribute to skin aging. Good sources of the nutrient include sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe and leafy greens.