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Beauty food | Carbs/Carbohydrates & Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs)

Carbohydrates are a vital energy source for the body and play a crucial role in supporting skin health. While carbohydrates often receive mixed reviews in health and beauty, they are essential for providing the energy needed to fuel cellular processes, including those involved in skin repair, regeneration, and maintenance.


aloe vera juice


And don't get me wrong, we are not talking about refined or processed carbs here.


We are talking about complex carbs and fibre.


Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for the body's cells, including the cells in the skin. Glucose, derived from carbohydrates, fuels various metabolic processes necessary for maintaining healthy skin function.


Carbohydrates are indirectly involved in collagen synthesis, essential for maintaining skin structure and elasticity. Collagen is a protein that provides structural support to the skin, helping to prevent sagging and wrinkles.


Carbohydrates are necessary for synthesising glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), such as hyaluronic acid, which are crucial components of the extracellular matrix in the skin. GAGs help maintain skin hydration and elasticity.


Certain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, are rich in antioxidants that help protect skin cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. By consuming a diet rich in antioxidant-containing carbohydrates, individuals can support overall skin health and reduce the signs of ageing.


Consuming carbohydrates with a low glycemic index can help regulate blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of inflammation and glycation, which can contribute to skin ageing.


Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) & Natural sources to boost it


Glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs, are long chains of sugar molecules found in the body, particularly in the skin, joints, and connective tissues.

GAGs can hold a lot of water. For example, hyaluronic acid, the most common type of GAG can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. This ability helps keep the skin hydrated and plump.


Why is it so important?


GAGs are carbohydrates, specifically complex polysaccharides, that play crucial roles in maintaining skin health and the integrity of connective tissues. Their ability to attract and retain water, provide structural support, and aid in tissue repair makes them essential for healthy, youthful skin.


By attracting and holding water, GAGs help maintain the skin’s elasticity, making it more flexible and less prone to sagging or wrinkling.


GAGs provide structural support to skin cells by filling the spaces between collagen and elastin fibres, which are the proteins that give skin strength and elasticity.


They play a role in wound healing and tissue repair. When the skin is damaged, GAGs help create a moist environment that is conducive to healing.


With adequate levels of GAGs, your skin stays well-hydrated, reducing dryness and flakiness.

Hydrated and elastic skin looks smoother and more youthful, with fewer fine lines and wrinkles.


GAGs help maintain a smooth and even skin texture by supporting the skin’s structural integrity.


Natural Sources to Boost GAGs


Eating foods rich in vitamin C (like citrus fruits) and antioxidants (like berries and leafy greens) can support the body’s natural production of GAGs.


Greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard contain magnesium and other nutrients that support GAG synthesis.

Citrus foods are high in vitamin C, which is crucial for collagen synthesis, indirectly supporting GAGs.


Root vegetables like Sweet potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables contain beta-carotene, which helps with skin health and collagen formation.


Nuts and seeds like Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which support skin hydration and GAGs.


Avocadoes are high in healthy fats and vitamin E, which support skin health and hydration.

Amino Acids are building blocks of proteins, including collagen. Quinoa, legumes (beans, lentils), nuts, and seeds are great foods to include.

Antioxidants protect skin cells from damage and support overall skin health. Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries), dark chocolate, green tea, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds are good sources to boost GAGs.


Aloe Vera contains mucopolysaccharides, which are a type of GAG. Aloe vera is known for its hydrating and healing properties. You can consume aloe vera juice or apply it topically to boost skin hydration.


References


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