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Healthy diet links to fewer wrinkles

A healthy diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, associates with fewer facial wrinkles in women. In men, on the other hand, the link between wrinkles and a healthy diet was less conclusive.

This is the finding of a study carried out among 2,753 over 50s in Rotterdam by research physician Selma Mekic of Erasmus MC's department of Dermatology. 

fruitThe findings have been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD), an influential scientific journal of dermatology. These findings reaffirm that a healthy diet is associated with the aging processes in the body.

Eating habits
Mekic investigated the relationship between eating habits and wrinkles using the data of 1,140 men and 1,613 women who participated in the ERGO study, a long-running population study in the Rotterdam district of Ommoord. Because previous studies had already shown that different factors play a role in the development of wrinkles in men than women, both groups were investigated separately in the study.

The participants completed a questionnaire in which they had to indicate how many grams of vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, bread, milk, candies, alcohol, and a number of other products they ate over a period of one month. This data was used to calculate dietary patterns. In addition, 3D images of the face were made, after which a computer program was used to determine the percentage of wrinkles. "Participants who adhered to the guidelines for a healthy diet, with high scores for healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and fish, and low scores for meats, sugars, saturated fats, and alcohol, as established in the Dutch guidelines for healthy nutrition, showed significantly less facial wrinkles. However, this was only the case for women. No difference was observed between men who ate a healthy diet and those who did not", observed Mekic, who statistically adjusted the data for known causes of skin aging such as age, smoking, and exposure to UV radiation.

Dietary patterns
It was also striking that women who followed what is thought to be a healthy Mediterranean diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, little meat, plenty of fish, olive oil, and a glass of wine daily, did not have significantly fewer wrinkles. "It's possible that the alcohol negates the effect of the healthy diet with regard to the development of wrinkles, but further research is required to confirm this hypothesis. We especially focused on the dietary patterns rather than  separate food groups, as people don't only eat fruits and vegetables but also consume other foods. These food groups can either enhance or curb the development of wrinkles". paprika's

"In addition to not smoking and protecting the skin from the sun, this work suggests women who wish to look younger longer may now have another way to delay the development of wrinkles. Furthermore, a healthier diet has been demonstrated to have significant effects on the prevention of diseases of affluence such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases", says Mekic. "Hence, a healthy diet could kill two birds with one stone"

Date published: 4 April 2018.

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