The mass media have trained us to recoil at the thought of eating dietary fat. In reality, the body requires “good fats” (unsaturated) to do its job. You want to avoid polluting your circulatory system with “bad” fats (saturated and trans fats).
Unsaturated fats provide energy and nourish our skin and hair. They’re also an excellent source of antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E, which slow the aging process.
When we’re deprived of essential fats, our skin can become dry, scaly and wrinkled, according to Apostolos Pappas, PhD, a research chemist with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products in Skillman, NJ, and coauthor of The Saint Tropez Diet: The Delicious and Healthy Weight Loss Plan Presenting the Best Scientific Principles of the French and Mediterranean Omega-3 Diets.
In his book, Dr. Pappas encourages readers to:
- Eat more foods that contain healthful unsaturated fats, especially omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- Combine them with foods rich in vitamin A.
- Eliminate foods with unhealthful ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids (This is why I’ve eliminated tilapia from my diet, even though it’s a sustainable fish.)
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to boost consumption of nutrients with antioxidant activity.
As dermatologist Rebecca A. Kazin, MD, pointed out in Winterize Your Skin to Prevent Damage:
When shopping at your local natural and organic food store, remember your skin. Choose foods that are rich in antioxidants, including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and green tea. Also opt for foods with essential fatty acids, such as salmon, walnuts and canola oil.
Green Beauty Prediction: Expect to see more skin- and body-care products that contain vegetable oils and fruit extracts to treat and prevent dryness.