This week we begin a series of articles on our ingredients. Today, we focus on collagen, the most abundant protein in our bodies, and the main ingredient in Pure Elixir 01. The loss of collagen is a major cause of skin ageing – read on for guidance on how to maintain and restore your levels.
Think of collagen as scaffolding for the skin providing strength and structure; when we are young, that scaffolding is strong and flexible, held together by abundant elastin, promoting lovely, bouncy, plump skin. From as early as our mid twenties, however, collagen production begins to slow down and then rapidly diminishes in our forties and fifties – the fibres become rigid and brittle, and our skin becomes more fragile and wrinkled.
To make matters worse, just as our skin is coping with the internal ageing process it is bombarded by external aggressors such as too much sun and pollution exacerbated by poor nutrition (especially sugar), inadequate hydration and stress.
Although you can’t turn back time, you can take steps to slow the clock, minimise the damage and help your skin. We know that you know to wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water and stop smoking. But is your diet providing you with the best nutrients to encourage optimum health and combat the effects of pollution and other stressors?
Taking Pure Elixir 01 is clinically proven to reduce lines and wrinkles by 23% in just 8 weeks, and give you smoother skin, and our reviews confirm that. Our formulation contains marine collagen which studies have shown has the best bioavailability of all collagens. Some formulations use bovine or porcine collagen as they are relatively cheap but there have been issues with contamination and poor quality. We chose marine collagen because the smaller particle size of the collagen peptides means it is absorbed up to 1.5 times more efficiently, and it is more sustainable than other sources.
In addition to taking our supplement, you can ensure that your diet contains the best nutrients to feed your skin and combat the enemies of collagen.
In a nutshell, you need to eat a protein-rich diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, essential fatty acids and slowly absorbed carbohydrates, also known as low glycaemic or low GI carbohydrates.
Your body can’t store protein but it needs it every day for optimum cellular health. During digestion, protein breaks down into amino acids which help to speed up the repair and regeneration of skin cells and collagen.
Eat lean fish, poultry and also plant proteins such as hummus, seeds and nuts (which also make great snacks). Dried peas, lentils and beans are also great sources of protein.
Fruit and vegetables
Eat a good mix of fresh fruit and vegetables every day, aiming for as many colours as possible to benefit from the different nutrients:
- Red: lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that also inhibits the breakdown of collagen and protects against UV. Did you know that you get more lycopene from tomato paste than you do from tomatoes? We love Bomba! From Waitrose or Ocado http://plxr.uk/2fHTdud
- Orange: carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash are rich in carotenoids which protect the skin from free radicals and give it a golden glow, and also vitamin A which repairs damage and stimulates the production of collagen
- Yellow: citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C which is critical for the maintenance of collagen
- Green: Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and savoy cabbage are excellent sources of vitamin C, and folate required for numerous body functions including DNA synthesis and repair, cell division, and cell growth. Avocados contain vitamin B7 (biotin) which is fantastic for the skin, hair and nails
- Blue/purple: anthocyanin, another powerful antioxidant protects cells from free radicals which damage collagen. Blueberries have been the subject of many studies and have been scientifically proven to protect against many chronic diseases.
- Brown: mushrooms, garlic, chickpeas, and brown sea vegetables such as kelp contain zinc which is proven to help collagen production and general skin health including the repair of damaged tissue.
The health of your gut and your skin are linked – and probiotics help keep your gut healthy by building up the levels of friendly bacteria. This leads to the better absorption of nutrients and minerals vital for all of the body’s processes including the strengthening our immune system, and glowing skin.
Eat unsweetened, live yoghurt such as greek yoghurt which is strained to remove the sugar, lactose and whey, making it naturally thicker and more protein rich. Enjoy it with fruits and nuts for breakfast.
Essential Fatty Acids
EFA’s omega 3 and 6 work as internal moisturisers, enabling your skin's cell membranes to hold onto water. They are vital to our overall health and wellbeing and must be obtained from our diets or supplements. Great sources include oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines. For those who can’t eat fish many vegetables, nuts and seeds are great sources -spinach, kale, avocado, flaxseed oil, uncooked olive oil, brazil nuts, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
What not to eat – Sugar
Sugar, particularly refined sugar, is bad for our teeth and our waistlines but it is really, really bad for our collagen because eating it results in AGE’s, Advanced Glycosylation End Products. Put simply, AGEs are caused by glucose molecules bonding with collagen and other proteins making them stiff and weak. They are the cause of wrinkles and other major damage in the body, the accumulation of which causes ageing. Could there be a more appropriate acronym?
Take these simple steps to reduce your sugar intake and improve your skin:
- Snack on dried fruits, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate (over 70% cacao); we love Montezumas http://plxr.uk/2gaSRL9
- Precook and then reheat pasta later. Not only is it convenient to have some precooked pasta in the fridge but reheating it reduces the rise in blood sugar levels by 50%!
- Drink water instead of sweet fizzy drinks or even better drink green or white tea which contain anti-oxidants and inhibit enzymes which damage collagen
- If you need to sweeten your tea or coffee, try plant based sugar substitutes like stevia or xylitol
- Similarly, try agave syrup (one and a half times sweeter than sugar) on your cereal and in baking http://plxr.uk/2g6uFvI
If you reduce your sugar intake you will reduce the damage to your skin. If you add as many nutrient rich foods as you can, drink lots of water and get a good night’s sleep, you will be well on your way to achieving the optimum skin for your age – all helped of course by one little capsule of Pure Elixir 01 each day…..