Got a hot date in just three days time? What do you do? Do you head off to a
trendy boutique to pick up the latest designer outfit? Do you splash out on
expensive jewellery to add a touch of sparkle? Or do you phone your favourite
hair salon for a cut, colour, and style? Well, as it happens, none of the above.
All you have to do is visit your local fishmonger and pick up some fresh
It’s salmon, salmon, and more salmon, says American Yale dermatologist,
Dr Nicholas Perricone. He believes salmon holds one of the vital keys to looking
younger. Eaten in enough quantities with certain other foods, he claims it can
actually wipe away those wrinkles.
“Salmon has a chemical in it called DMAE. My grandmother used to tell me that
fish was brain food - and she was right because DMAE actually increases your
ability to think. It also has an effect on the nerves that are connected to the
muscles in your skin. When you eat salmon every day you get more DMAE and it
increases tone also. Sagging is what really makes you look older, so by
correcting that with the DMAE in the salmon, you’re correcting all the signs of
ageing,” says Dr Perricone.
Ageing - according to Dr Perricone - is a disease. Being so committed to
finding a cure, he formed the International Conference of Anti-Ageing five years
ago - a society where scientists from different specialities exchange ideas on
how to combat this condition.
Dr Perricone describes what influenced his passion for fighting
“Medical students have to look at all sorts of diseases with the naked eye
and then look under the microscope. Whenever I would see cancer, I noticed
inflammation surrounding the cancer. And I asked the professor about that and he
said, ‘Well, it’s probably the body’s immune response’. Then when I was studying
dermatology, I was looking at ageing skin and there was never ageing skin
present unless there was the same inflammation.
”I thought that was very interesting. Inflammation and certain forms of
disease seem to be connected. So I came to the conclusion - after a lot of
research - that ageing is a disease. It’s an inflammatory disease. And therefore
if it’s an inflammatory disease I should be able to come up with some sort of
therapy, just like I do for arthritis,” says Dr Perricone.
In his book “The Wrinkle Cure”, which hit the New York best-seller lists
in March last year, one of the key factors is that you don’t need to have
surgery to get a younger-looking skin, but rather eat certain types of food.
Called “Facelift in a Fridge”, it’s the eat-your-way method to a better-looking
Dr Perricone says he wrote “Facelift in a Fridge” to prove a point: “What
we eat makes a profound difference in how we look on a daily basis, and the
changes come about very quickly. In three days you can look different enough so
that your friends and you can notice a difference,” notes Dr Perricone.
So we decided to investigate Dr Perricone’s promise of a facelift in
three days. We persuaded three Johannesburg women with busy careers and
stressful lives - and character lines to show for it - to take the diet for a
Case Study No 1 is Salome Brown: “I lead a very stressful life. I
travel a lot and I work under huge pressure. I’m a single mother now and I have
kids that are quite demanding.” As a corporate communications manager, Salome travels internationally and
often after a night on a plane has to put in a full day’s work: “What convinced
me immediately was anything that would make me look better and younger,” she
Case Study No 2 is food photographer Libby Edwards. Late-night
shoots and long hours at her digital camera have left their mark: “Recently
everyone has been saying to me that I’ve got puffy eyes … so I thought
‘wonderful’ … if I can make the eyes look better, why not?”
Lastly, Case Study No3 is Vanessa Burnett, a food stylist who
combines her brilliant career with a young child: “I don’t mind growing older, I
don’t feel any older at all. But the main negative for me is that I’ve got a
young child who is four-and-a-half. At her school there are a lot of really
young moms who are 24 or 25, and I don’t want her to be at school and people to
say, ‘Is your grandmother coming to collect you?’” says Vanessa.
All were persuaded to see if this three-day diet could wipe away their
wrinkles. Dr Perricone says the diet is really simple. “The whole core of the diet is eating anti-inflammatory fruits and broiled
salmon - about a four- to six-ounce serving. If you do that twice a day it’s
even better,” explains Perricone.
So salmon for lunch is good. Having salmon for dinner as well… that’s
even better. Don’t forget to always serve with a green salad.
Vanessa feels sceptical about the diet: “I don’t think once you’ve got
wrinkles they are just going to disappear. But I think that it could make you
look really healthy.”
For breakfast Dr Perricone favours oatmeal with berries and other fresh
fruit like melons, apples and kiwi fruit. Sounds simple enough - but will there
He thinks so: “When you have less inflammation you’ll lose body water.
And that means you lose swelling in the face, and you tend to get more contours
and a sharper jawline. Your skin will be more radiant, and fine lines tend to
disappear in two or three days too.”
Sugar is the real villain of the diet. Dr Perricone believes that sugar is
responsible for 50 percent of ageing - and that doesn’t mean only avoiding the
obvious sugar traps like cream buns and cakes.
“The thing to avoid, of course, is sugars and things that are converted into
sugars in your body - like pasta and rice and bread … when you have a rapid rise
in blood sugar, you get inflammation. In addition to that, sugar can actually
attach to collagen in our skin. And that attachment is irreversible. It’s called
cross-linking,” he explains.
Three days later Carte Blanche visited Salome and her family, to
follow up on how she survived the weekend, which included a party. Salome says
she’s noticed a difference in her skin.
“I think it’s finer. It’s certainly more smooth. I think around the eyes
there’s a bit of an improvement. I think if you stay on it for another few days
it’s going to really improve,” says Salome.
While we could certainly see a new subtle radiance to Salome’s skin, Libby
and Vanessa are divided in the effects of their three-day diet. Libby says she’s
still worried about the bags under her eyes.
“I don’t think they’ve gone. In fact I was a bit concerned this morning.
Overall my skin does feel good, but the main problem seems to still be there,”
Vanessa says she’s definitely noticed a change in her skin: “I feel much
healthier - I think my skin looks much healthier. And I feel that the lines have
been softened quite a bit. Obviously all my wrinkles haven’t gone, but I do see
a big difference.”
Dr Perricone says he has an ulterior motive in advising the diet. “I’ve been telling my patients for 15 years to eat in this manner to prevent
heart disease or breast cancer. And that’s an abstraction - they don’t believe
it’s going to happen to them. But if they can see a difference in the mirror the
next morning, it’s highly motivating. So I’m going to use vanity to get
everybody healthy,” he says.
What does he see 10 years ahead? “The anti-ageing movement is very powerful.
It’s a worldwide movement. And physicians now know that prevention is truly the
key here. The health-care bill in the US is enormous, and if the baby-boomers
reach ages 65 or 70, and they’re not healthy, the system is going to collapse.
And I think what’s going to happen is we’re not going to extend the lifespan to,
say, 120 years. But if we have a life expectancy of 70 or 80 years, our goal as
anti-ageing scientists is to make people healthy and happy and independent for
the last few weeks or the last few days.”
Essentially, Dr Perricone is convinced that the ageing process can be
II think you can really control the rate at which you age through these
options. And that’s empowering … and if you know you’re going to be healthy for
your full life expectancy, it’s going to change the way you do things,” he says.