(NaturalNews) A recent study on over 1,900 French men and women analyzed diet, sun exposure, physical activity, age, and geographic location. The study followed participants for over two and a half years and found that those with the lowest levels of monounsaturated fatty acids in their diets displayed the greatest likelihood of photoaging and being classified among the group with the worst skin condition.
Monounsaturated fatty acids are found in high amounts in nuts and oils, such as olive oil and vegetable oil. They can also be found in meat and dairy products. Although monounsaturated fats are present in a wide variety of foods, olive oil is perhaps the most acclaimed source of these beneficial fats.
Monounsaturated fatty acids have been linked to improved heart health, lower bad cholesterol levels, and better blood sugar control. The recent study by scientists from a variety of research institutes across France has now made the connection between higher olive oil consumption and the healthier appearance and aging of skin.
Although this study did not seem to account for sunscreen use, it did attempt to adjust for sun exposure and other important influences on skin health (such as menopause). The connection between higher monounsaturated fat intake in the diet and healthier skin was only found among individuals getting the bulk of their monounsaturated fats from olive oil - not from animal products.
The study does not demonstrate a causal connection between consumption and complexion, but olive oil is frequently used as a topical treatment for skin disorders and can safely be used as a rich moisturizer. The benefits keep mounting in favor of olive oil as a "wonder drug," and the number of body systems helped by regular olive oil consumption appears to be growing as well.
For those who do not enjoy the taste of olive oil, vegetable oils seemed to confer the same benefits in the French study. Severe facial photoaging, caused by damage to the skin from UV radiation, was associated with lower olive and vegetable oil intake. Those individuals with higher olive oil intake had fewer wrinkles, less skin discoloration, and less skin slackening or sagging.
The researchers hypothesize that this association is due to the protective effect vegetable sources of monounsaturated fatty acids may have on cells' ability to resist damage from UV light. Readers should be aware that individuals in the study with high olive oil intake also tended to have healthier diets in general; olive oil consumption may be a marker for a healthier lifestyle, which could explain some of the association between consumption and skin health.
About the author: Katie BrindAmour is a Certified Health Education Specialist and passionate health and wellness freelance writer. She enjoys cooking, yoga, gardening, searching for the perfect wine and chocolate combination, and spending time with friends. She has a Masters in Biology and is currently pursuing her PhD in Health Services Management and Policy. She also enjoys blogging for Women's Healthcare Topics and Healthline Networks.