What causes wrinkles and sagging skin? Sun damage, sure, but also inflammation, according to renowned dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone. His recommendation: an anti-inflammatory diet.
LISA: I'm Lisa Birnbach for howdini.com. What is the best way to fight wrinkles and sagging skin without having to risk a facelift that leaves you looking like you've been in a wind tunnel? Do you have to get wrinkled as you get older? World-renowned dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone, whose new book is Ageless Face, Ageless Mind, says no. But we hope you like salmon. Dr. Perricone joins me now. Dr. Perricone, thank you for being here. What factors do cause inflammation in the skin?
DR. PERRICONE: You know that's a great question because, as you know, my philosophy is and my science indicated to me that there's a low inflammation that goes on in our bodies all the time. The problem is we can't see it and we can't feel it, but it is truly there. And when that inflammation happens in the skin it becomes visible in terms of wrinkles. But if it's happening in the brain, it shows up later as senility or Alzheimer's. In the arteries: heart disease. In the pancreas: diabetes. So I believe that we have to fight this microscopic inflammation not just to look good, but for health. So my philosophy is beauty from the inside out because when you decrease inflammation inside of your body it shows up on the skin as making you more radiant and fights the onset of wrinkles.
LISA: So these are all connected? Every single one of these deficits becomes related.
DR. PERRICONE: It sure is. And you know it's funny as a dermatologist, um as a specialist, people think just in terms of their organ systems. So derms think of skin in terms of this outer covering--
DR. PERRICONE: But, in reality, all the organ systems work together. So, if you truly want to have beautiful skin you've got to be healthy because I've never seen beautiful, radiant skin on an unhealthy patient.
LISA: Microscopic inflammation suggests that it's really hard to detect visually. How would you know that you have it if you look fine?
DR. PERRICONE: Yeah, well if you're alive you have it. Okay, inflammation goes on all the time because it's created by normal metabolism. But, what I found was, when I discovered inflammation is the key to age-related disease and ageing, the next question was well, what's causing this inflammation. I found out that something we do everyday, we eat. If we're eating the wrong foods like a pro-inflammatory diet, it actually accelerates the process of ageing and increases our risk of age-related disease. And there are foods that are anti-inflammatory. So we don't want to just cut out the pro-inflammatory foods, we want to add those theraputic, anti-inflammatory foods and that will appear on our skin very rapidly. For example, if I put you on the three-day anti-inflammatory diet--
DR. PERRICONE: You would look so different in three days it's photographable. We can point to it and say, wow look at the difference here because the skin is a perfect reflection of what's going on inside of us. So, we use the skin as a barometer.
LISA: Now, what are some of the foods that make up the anti-inflammatory diet?
DR. PERRICONE: Well, kind of what Grandma's been telling us all along. We want to eat a lot of fresh fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, and you want to stay away from processed foods and junk foods. One of the biggest mistakes we've made in this country is the no-fat, low-fat diet.
DR. PERRICONE: Because you need fats to have beautiful, radiant skin. You need fats to be healthy. You need fat to burn fat. So with the no-fat, low-fat diets what did we see? We saw an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and mental depression. You have to use common sense, you know, and if we use common sense then we say, okay we need a variety of things in our diet. So we look at a dish, you know, what's my source of protein? A nice piece, slice of chicken or a nice, fresh piece of salmon--not that I'm prejudice towards salmon. And we have fresh fruits and vegetables--lots of colors, we see lots of colors present. It means there are lots of anti-oxidants there and all anti-oxidants are natural anti-inflammatories.
LISA: Now, carbohydrates convert into sugar, so that means no simple carbohydrates?
DR. PERRICONE: Right, and you know I don't like the word--you know there's low-carb/no-carb-- that was another disaster. Okay, because when you're on a low carb diet you go into ketosis, which is the idea of some diets, those chemicals, those ketones are toxic. They create inflammation. So I say the right kind of carbohydrates and the right kind of carbohydrates are things like legumes, you know beans, lentils. All those things are really good for us. They provide loads of carbs, but they're slowly digested and slowly converted to sugar to maintain stable blood sugar. Let's say, for example, you want to maintain a fairly nice weight. So you decided that you're going to go on a diet, and you have black coffee and a bagel for breakfast.
DR. PERRICONE: And I have a large piece of salmon...
DR. PERRICONE: Oatmeal, fresh fruit, and some yogurt. You've had two hundred calories. I've had a thousand calories. I have loads of energy all day and I'm using up my body fat because my insulin is low because insulin, when it goes up, puts a lot on body fat. You take that bagel with a glycemic index of like a hundred, your blood sugar shoots up, your insulin goes up, your falling over because you've had no calories for energy, and you've put a lock on your body fat.
LISA: And you're probably not smoking either.
DR. PERRICONE: Trying not to.
LISA: Haha. Thank you so much Dr. Perricone.
DR. PERRICONE: My pleasure.
LISA: For howdini.com I'm Lisa Birnbach.
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