If you want healthier, better-looking skin, then it may be time to think beyond creams and topical products. A growing body of research has revealed that certain foods and supplements can benefit our skin from within, by providing it with compounds that can fight aging and protect the skin.
At the top of the list of foods with skin benefits is green tea, the most commonly consumed beverage worldwide. We hear a lot about green tea’s benefits for the heart and immune system, and its ability to help with weight management and improve digestion. But less is written about how great it is for your skin. Researchers believe that green tea protects the skin, playing a role in fighting skin aging and wrinkling.
Why green tea is so healthful
Green tea is one of the richest food sources of a potent form of antioxidants called catechins. These catechins appear to promote skin health in several ways. They appear to help:
• Neutralize free radicals (compounds that can damage cells and DNA)
• Reduce inflammation
• To protect the skin from damage due to ultraviolet light (sun) exposure
With the growing popularity and interest in green tea, many skin care companies have developed topical products such as moisturizers and masks with green tea. However, it is uncertain whether these products contain enough antioxidants to confer benefits to the skin.
If you want the benefits of green tea catechins, a better approach might be to consume them. Consistency matters, so choose the approach that works best for you.
• Quench your thirst. Green tea is a healthful beverage. The amount of catechins in the tea vary depending on the quality and type of tea (sencha and matcha typically contain more antioxidants) and how the tea is brewed. I found an interesting book about green tea that has some delicious recipes using matcha for everything from seafood gratin to cupcakes. It’s called New Tastes in Green Tea.
• Supplement. Supplements are one of the best ways to ensure that you are getting a desirable and consistent amount of catechins. Supplements also vary in quality and potency. To ensure you are taking a good quality supplement without pesticides or harmful solvents, look for a product that contains a Sunphenon green tea extract. You will find products that contain Sunphenon in a range of supplements available at health food stores, pharmacies and online supplement retailers.
And remember that green tea is just one effective ingredient in a skin-friendly diet. Other skin-friendly foods include tomatoes, nuts and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. And for a more technical review, check out Green Tea Polyphenols “Nutraceuticals of Modern Life“.