The use of foods and herbs as medicine has been a common practice in civilizations since the beginning of time. In recent years, the medical science field has reported the miraculous healing properties that some foods can have on the body as well. Most of the foods that we associate with being healthy in general have unique qualities that make beneficial in fighting particular conditions in the body.

One of the conditions that commonly plagues the elderly is the loss of elasticity in the skin. As we age, the body’s supply of collagen, the nutrient that provides our skin with its elasticity, is depleted. Collagen loss is accelerated by exposure to UV rays and many other conditions within the body, such as certain medications. However, no matter which precautions we take to protect our skin, the loss of collagen and elasticity are both parts of the aging process that cannot be avoided.

The good news is they can be deterred. Certain foods have qualities that greatly reduce the rate at which collagen is depleted in the body and others have qualities that give the skin a more youthful appearance. Aside from collagen, another important nutrient for the skin is Lutein. Lutein is an antioxidant that helps with the skin’s absorption of blue or ultraviolet light. Lutein has also been found to help deter the progress of eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Lutein concentrated on the macula of the eye works to deflect harmful light stressors and UV rays that cause damage. Lutein is found in dark, leafy green vegetables and in animal fat products. Some examples of foods that contain high levels of Lutein are broccoli, kale, spinach, collard greens, egg yolks, soy proteins, and corn. Other foods that contain beneficial antioxidants besides Lutein are a variety of berries and artichoke hearts.

Aside from antioxidants, water is the most important nutrient required by the skin and the body as a whole. Drinking enough water ensures that the skin stays hydrated and remains pliable. While no one is likely to have a reaction to water, some of the aforementioned foods could pose allergy or gastrointestinal issues in some of the senior population. There is a variety of foods that are equally beneficial to the skin that may be substituted for the ones already mentioned here. When beginning this kind of diet regimen, it is prudent for caregivers to consult with the client’s health care provider to ensure that none of the newly introduced foods will pose health risks when incorporated into their regular diet.

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