A lot of factors can affect how youthful our skin looks. Some of these factors are directly related to our age, but others are impacted by the things we put into our bodies. It’s a scientific fact that those who eat healthier diets live longer, and consequently, those who stick to plant-based diets might be healthier for many reasons. Still, the question remains, do vegans look younger than those who routinely consume animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy?
Do vegans look younger?
In general, vegans do not look any younger than people who choose to eat meat and dairy products, though many do live longer, healthier lives. Still, the effects of aging are not only determined by what we eat. There is biology to consider in this equation, as well as the environmental factors and state of mental health.
What causes skin to look younger?
When people think of healthy skin, they tend to think of the word collagen. Collagen is the protein that gives our skin volume and it is the most abundant protein in the human body. It depletes as we age, giving rise to wrinkles and saggy skin. We can minimize this protein depletion with supplements, but according to BioSpace, many of these collagen supplements are derived from the connective tissue of animals. There are also many plant-based collagen-promoting supplements out there.
Luckily, according to Hans Place Practice, even those on a plant-based diet can take advantage of the skin-softening effects of collagen. Plant-based diets are generally high in things like lysine, vitamin C, and antioxidant compounds that are all responsible for aiding the body’s production of collagen at a cellular level.
In addition, plant-based diets tend to be high in beta-carotene, an organic compound found in many fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene doesn’t just give carrots and tomatoes a colorful appearance, it can help our skin take on a healthy, glowing appearance as well. Beta-carotene can also protect skin from harmful UV light and help maintain good eye health, according to Healthline.
Why do vegans live longer?
According to Vegan Food Living, vegans live longer because they have lower blood pressure, lower risk of cancer, lower risk of diabetes, and better gut health. By avoiding meat, eggs, and dairy, vegans also absorb fewer saturated fats, carcinogens, cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics than those who don’t follow a strictly plant-based diet.
According to research conducted at Loma Linda University, vegetarian men lived an average of 10 years longer than non-vegetarian men and vegetarian women lived six years longer than non-vegetarian women. One can extrapolate that those who follow healthy plant-based diets might find similar longevity.
This longevity could be due to the fact that many vegans and vegetarians pay closer attention to their health and nutrient intake than those who don’t have to worry about where they are getting their vitamin B12 or protein from. Vegans also tend to be more sensible about where their food is coming from and might avoid food options that are highly processed, full of preservatives, or grown using pesticides.
Does eating animal products make you look older?
Animal products have been linked to a number of diseases, according to Eat This, Not That. Cured meats like bacon contain preservative compounds called nitrites have been linked to age-related diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. These don’t necessarily age your face, but they certainly affect your brain cells.
Blackened meat, however, can contribute to the aging process by breaking down collagen and causing excess inflammation in the body. The more well-done your steak, the older you might end up looking in the long run. According to Hans Place Practice, even dairy can contribute to making us look older. Individuals who reduced or eliminated dairy from their diets found an increase in skin healing from acne.
In conclusion, a vegan diet might not necessarily make you look any younger, but it will almost certainly make you healthier — provided it's well-planned and focused on nutritious, whole foods.