You already know that eating fish is beneficial to your health in many ways. Getting at least two servings of fish a week, about 8 ounces, can prevent heart disease and diabetes, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. So if it’s doing your body good, will it improve the way you look on the outside as well? Check out these 4 foods that are secretly aging you.
“Yes, eating fish that contain omega-3s—oily fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, anchovies, and tuna are the best sources—can help your skin,” says Dr. Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, UCSF clinical instructor.
There are three types of fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Fish oil only contains DHA, which is responsible for the growth and functioning of the brain, and EPA, which is thought to protect the skin and fight wrinkles.
Getting ample doses of EPA can prevent damage from the sun, according to a 2005 study in the Journal of Lipid Research. The study found that exposure to UV rays releases certain enzymes that damage collagen, the connective tissues that keep our skin supple, leading to lines and sagging skin. EPA blocked the release of these enzymes, slowing down the skin’s aging process. And because EPA is both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent, it has the added bonus of preventing sun damage and helping repair the skin once it occurs. Eat a delicious fish dinner, prevent wrinkles and repair skin? Sounds like a win-win situation!
For those with skin disorders, omega-3 fatty acids may also help. Studies have shown that patients with sun sensitivities experience less sensitive skin after taking fish oil supplements (though it’s not a substitute for sunscreen!). Psoriasis patients may also reap the benefits of a fish-friendly diet: A small study found that people who took EPA in addition to psoriasis medication showed greater improvements than those treated with medication alone.
But there’s more to fish than omega-3s. Seafood is also rich in selenium, a mineral that protects against free radical damage and may prevent everything from high cholesterol to thyroid problems. Though some studies have hinted that selenium supplements may prevent cancers, including skin cancers, the evidence is still inconclusive. ] Talk to your doctor to find out how much selenium they recommend for you.
To get in 8 ounces of seafood a week, use these as guides: A drained can of tuna is about 3 to 4 ounces, a salmon steak ranges from 4 to 6 ounces, and 1 small trout is about 3 ounces.
Need ideas on how to add more seafood to your diet? Try these mouthwatering swaps:
You can read the full article on HowStuffWorks.
Get Diana Kelly Levey’s weekly e-newsletter with actionable freelance writing tips . When you sign up for her weekly email newsletter, she’ll send you her “15 Best Freelance Writing Tips” PDF as a thank you gift.
See a recent example. Like it? Sign up.
Diana can help with:
Email Diana about opportunities: Diana(at)DianaKelly.com.