April 8, 2004
Benefits of the Perricone Diet
Excerpted from the January 2004 Issue
The Perricone Prescription diet first hit the scene in August 2002 and has made quite an impact in the world of skincare. The theory behind the Perricone diet is sound. Dr. Perricone has you avoid dehydrating and acid foods while increasing your intake of EFAs, antioxidants, and water. This almost guarantees you will improve the health and appearance of your skin.
Dr. Perricone asks you follow a specific diet for
anywhere from three days to four weeks. Over that time period, you
are not to consume any alcohol, caffeine, sugar, or red meat. The
bulk of your diet comes from olive oil, salmon, tuna, almonds, berries,
apples or pears, cantaloupe, romaine lettuce, spinach, broccoli,
and lots and lots of water.
Let me explain why this truly does result in soft,
supple, younger looking skin.
Dehydrating and Overly Acidic Foods
Many foods have a dehydrating effect on your skin.
The worst offenders include alcohol and caffeine, as well as spicy
foods such as ginger and chili peppers. If you have already noticed
increased drying of your skin due to menopause-related hormone deficiency,
be cautious about consuming these types of foods.
Other foods such as red meat and sugar can stress
your system, causing an increase in male hormones (androgens). This
then leads to changes in the pH of your skin and overstimulates
your sebaceous gland, which responds by secreting excess sebum.
This in turn creates acne.
Refined sugar specifically as a negative effect
on your skin in a number of ways. It has vasoconstrictive properties,
which causes decreased circulation to the skin, and like androgens,
sugary foods overstimulate your sebaceous glands and can trigger
excess oil production and lead to breakouts.
The Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids
The Perricone diet also includes a large amount
of both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, in the form of
olive oil, salmon, tuna, and almonds. The moisturizing effect of
these oils has been known for hundreds of years. EFAs help to produce
your female sex hormones, and work to create moister, softer skin
The moisturizing effect of these oils has been
particularly evident in my younger female patients who already have
a high moisture content in their skin, due to estrogen production.
(Estrogen causes fluid and sodium retention in your skin, so tissues
actually appear plumper.) In contrast, it takes a longer period
of time for the beneficial effects of these healthy oils to show
in older women, due to a diminished production of estrogen.
You can increase your intake of EFAs by:
I am also impressed by the amount of foods high
in antioxidants that are included in the Perricone plan. Foods such
as blueberries, cantaloupe, spinach, romaine lettuce, and broccoli
are high in vitamins A, C, and Epowerful antioxidants that
help to improve the overall health of your skin, specifically working
to prevent ultraviolet light-induced inflammation, dryness, and
damage to the skin.
Each vitamin benefits your skin in different ways.
Vitamin A is especially helpful in suppressing oily skin and acne.
Vitamin C is needed for collagen production and helps to strengthen
the connective tissues underlying the superficial layer of the skin.
Finally, vitamin E is useful for a wide variety of dermatological
complaints, including hyperpigmentation, warts, herpes, keloids,
and atopic dermatitis.
In addition to consuming lots of soups, salads,
and whole, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, I recommend taking
10,00025,000 IU of vitamin A as beta-carotene, 6003,000
mg of a mineral-buffered vitamin C in divided dosages, and 4002,000
IU of vitamin E a day. If you take my Daily Balance Multinutrient,
you are already getting these dosages.
Water, Water, and More Water
Finally, everything in your body depends on water.
In fact, water makes up 82 percent of your blood, 75 percent of
your muscle, 25 percent of your bone, 76 percent of your brain tissue,
and 90 percent of your lung tissue! Plus, water neutralizes acidity
which can dry out your skin.
I recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of filtered
water each day to keep your skin soft and supple. I have found that
if I keep a glass of water on my desk and next to my bed, I have
no problem consuming this amountand even moreof water
Try this program, not as a diet, but as a
way of life. You’ll reap the benefits of beautiful skin and so much
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