Why eat­ing on time helps you stay young.

Eat­ing at the wrong time can make your skin age faster, sug­gests a new study. Ex­perts dig deeper into the is­sue and tell us how to dis­ci­pline our food habits

HT Cafe - - Front Page - Su­san Jose su­san.jose@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Are­cent re­search by a team of sci­en­tists from China Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity, Bei­jing, and Guangxi Med­i­cal Univer­sity,iver­sity, Nan­ning in China, and nd Univer­sity of Texas South­west­ern Med­i­calal Cen­ter, Dal­las, and Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine in USA, es­tab­lished a re­la­tion be­tween the tim­ings of eat­ing and the health of your skin.

The team dis­cov­ered ed that eat­ing at ab­nor­mal times dis­rupts the genes that con­trol the age­ing of skin. “There is a con­cept known as time-re­stricted feed­ing (TRF), which af­fects a key DNA re­pair gene called XPA,” says Dr Sau­rabh Shah, der­ma­tol­o­gist, Bha­tia Hospi­tal, Tardeo.

He adds, “The re­searchers have found that ab­nor­mal eat­ing habits dis­rupt the epi­der­mal bar­rier. This dis­rup­tion leads to skin’s in­creased sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to sun’s harm­ful UV ra­di­a­tion; thus mak­ing the skin sus­tain more sun in­duced dam­age dur­ing the day.”

Dr Rinky Kapoor, der­ma­tol­o­gist­gist and skin laseraser spe­cial­ist, SL Ra­heja For­tis­r­tis As­so­ci­ate Hospi­tal, Mahim, fur­ther breaks it down. “Eat­ing at ab­nor­mal times dis­rupts the bi­o­log­i­cal clock of the skin, in­clud­ing the day­time po­tency of an en­zyme that pro­tects against the sun’s harm­ful ul­travi­o­let ra­di­a­tion, thus, in­di­cat­ing that peo­ple who eat late at night may be more vul­ner­a­ble to sun­burn, skin age­ing and skin can­cer,” she says.

Al­though the re­search has, sos far, been con­ducted on mice, ex­perts opine that we can learn much about adding dis­ci­pline to our food habits from this. “Skin health not only de­pends on what we eat, but also on when we eat. By fol­low­ing our nat­u­ral cir­ca­dian rhythm and align­ing our feed­ing time to that, we al­low detox­i­fi­ca­tion, heal­ing and cell re­newal, all of which are crit­i­cal for the health of our skin. Around 80% of body en­ergy is taken up by the di­ges­tive sys­tem, leav­ing only 20% for other or­gans and its pro­cesses. By al­low­ing our­selves to en­ter a fasted state, we al­ter this 80-20 dis­tri­bu­tion di­rect­ing the stom­ach to shut down and fo­cus on detox­i­fi­ca­tion. Skin is the largest detox­i­fi­ca­tion or­gan and when it’s al­lowed to ef­fec­tively get rid of tox­ins (along with kid­ney, liver and lungs), we im­prove the health of all or­gans and that nat­u­rally shows on the skin,” says Luke Coutinho, MD, al­ter­na­tive medicine and founder, Purenu­tri­tion.


Caf­feine: Too much cof­fee can give rise to in­crease of stress hor­mones such as cor­ti­sol and that can lead to break­outs Dairy: Cheese, pa­neer, ice creams, sweets and choco­lates can in­crease the an­dro­gen lev­els in one’s body, which can in­crease the se­bum se­cre­tion and lead to acne Pre­served foods: Can cause in­crease of in­sulin, which causes a lot of in­flam­ma­tion.

They can also break down the col­la­gen and elastin, which causes the skin to sag

Salted food: Chips, pret­zels, cheese, etc. can cause lot of water re­ten­tion, and thus cause bloat­ing and un­der eye puffi­ness

Hy­dra­tion: Some peo­ple “for­get to drink water”. That poses se­ri­ous risk to the skin and the body. Drink­ing enough water is nec­es­sary to flush out the bad tox­ins and give the skin a ra­di­ant look

Al­co­hol: Heavy drink­ing causes de­hy­dra­tion, which can lead to dull­ness, wrin­kles and dry skin. It can trig­ger or in­crease sever­ity of skin con­di­tions such as eczema and pso­ri­a­sis

Smok­ing: Ces­sa­tion of smok­ing will lessen the bur­den of ox­ida­tive dam­age to the body.


“Sound sleep for six to eight hours a day is enough for good health and a good skin. It gives the body and skin, time to re­pair and re­ju­ve­nate. A short nap for about half an hour in the mid­dle of the day is also fan­tas­tic,” says Kapoor.

She fur­ther adds, “We feel hun­gry ev­ery three to five hours. So try to eat at the same time ev­ery day. Break­fast should be ideally eaten within one hour of wak­ing up. Con­sider an ear­lier lunch and a smaller din­ner. My per­sonal opin­ion is that those who fol­low the tra­di­tional cul­ture of eat­ing the last meal of the day just be­fore sun­set are do­ing a great favour to their skin and body.”

More­over, one should also be mind­ful to avoid emo­tional eat­ing and eat­ing af­ter sun­set in gen­eral. “Post sun­set, not only raw food but any food which is dif­fi­cult to di­gest should be avoided as th­ese foods can ac­cu­mu­late in the di­ges­tive tract, which is in­ac­tive dur­ing the night and can dis­turb the sleep cy­cle as well. The food which is not di­gested will turn into fat and add on to one’s weight mak­ing one obese. One can also have heart burns and ir­ri­ta­ble bowel at night,” says Dr Soma Sarkar, der­ma­tol­o­gist and med­i­cal di­rec­tor, Skin Inn, Ban­dra (W).

With in­puts from Dr Pooja Thacker, nu­tri­tion­ist, Bha­tia Hospi­tal, Tardeo, and Karishma Chawla, nu­tri­tion­ist, Eat Rite 24x7.

Peo­ple who eat late at night may be more vul­ner­a­ble to sun­burn, skin age­ing and skin can­cer. DR RINKY KAPOOR, DER­MA­TOL­O­GIST


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