Women who eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables are likely to have fewer facial wrinkles than those who don’t, according to researchers at the Erasmus teaching hospital in Rotterdam.
Researcher Selma Mekić studied 2,753 people over the age of 50 to assess the effect of a healthy diet on skin condition.
Mekić investigated the relationship between eating habits and wrinkles using the data of 1,140 men and 1,613 women who are participating in a long-running population study.
The participants completed a questionnaire in which they had to indicate how many grams of vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, bread, milk, sweets, 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 programme was used to determine the percentage of wrinkles.
‘Participants who kept to the guidelines for a healthy diet, with high scores for healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables, and fish, and low scores for meat, sugar, saturated fats and alcohol, showed significantly less facial wrinkles,’ Mekić said.
‘However, this was only the case for women. No difference was observed between men who ate a healthy diet and those who did not,’ said Mekić, who statistically adjusted the data for known causes of skin aging such as smoking, and exposure to UV radiation.
She also found that women who followed what is thought to be a healthy Mediterranean diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, 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,’ she said.
The research shows that in addition to not smoking and protecting the skin from the sun, women who wish to look younger longer may now have another way to delay the development of wrinkles.
In addition, ‘a healthier diet has been demonstrated to have significant effects on the prevention of diseases of affluence such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases,’ says Mekić. “So, a healthy diet could kill two birds with one stone.’
The findings have been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD). The research was carried out in conjunction with Unilever.