From the ads in glossy high fashion magazines to television infomercials, advertisers would have us believe that flawless skin and a beautiful complexion comes in a jar. When in reality the secret to younger-looking and blemish free skin is the result of a clean and healthy diet.
Believe it or not, you are what you eat. Anything that you consume has a direct effect on how your skin appears on the outside. It has a direct effect on the texture and health of your skin. And it is because of this that it is essential to eat the right foods to keep your body healthy and in shape.
With the right diet, you can keep your skin looking young, healthy, bright and radiant. Unfortunately, if you don’t make the right choices in terms of food; it can turn on you.
As we have learned in basic science, our skin is the biggest organ of the human body. Like any other organ in your body, it gains its nourishment from nutrients coming from the things that you eat. Basically, the better the quality of the nutrients, the healthier your body becomes.
The nutrients that you receive from your diet help your skin to become healthy by preventing damage, preventing inflammation (or breakouts) and promoting natural factors that keep your skin young.
The best way to keep your skin healthy and glowing would be to have a balanced diet that is filled with nutrients. If you are not able to get all the necessary nutrients from your diet alone, then you can consider taking vitamins and other essential supplements. Spending for facial treatments is simply not enough.
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Keeping Your Skin Hydrated
Aside from eating right, proper hydration is another important factor that you should keep in mind. Water helps to keep the skin supple and moisturized. This nutrient can be sourced from two different means: from the things you eat and by drinking ample amounts of water.
Scientific studies have shown that by simply adding a gallon of water to your daily consumption can help fix some of the common problems we have with the skin.
Adding More Produce to Your Diet
Aside from what we have mentioned above, it is also highly recommended to add more vegetables and fruits to your diet. Certain substances such as antioxidants can help promote healthier skin. These can be found in vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes. With eating more leafy greens, the upside is that you can never get too much nourishment.
Since not all nutrients can be derived from your diet, you can also take in supplements to help your body (especially your skin) look healthy. Below are some vitamins and minerals that you should consider.
Zinc –studies have shown that adding zinc to your diet decreases the risk of breakouts. Basically, this mineral, when in the body, helps to make the skin less desirable for bacteria; hence, it has lesser tendency to cause skin breakouts.
Good Sources of Zinc Rich Foods: Oysters, cocoa powder, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, pecans and figs, grass-fed beef, liver, green peas, crimini mushrooms and spinach.
Antioxidants (Vitamins C & E) – now these two vitamins have actually grown quite popular in today’s market. They work together in order to prevent damage in the skin due to free radicals. In a nutshell, they slow down the aging process by hindering the destruction of skin cell components.
Good Sources of Vitamin C: Bell peppers (especially red peppers), broccoli, kale, lemons, kidney beans, kiwi, cantaloupe, mustard greens and balckberries.
Good Sources of Vitamin E: Avocado, red bell peppers, broccoli, almonds, spinach, sunflower seeds, hazel nuts and mango.
Vitamin A – this vitamin helps to regulate the normal cycle within cells in your skin to keep it radiant and blemish free as well as help promote the growth of new skin cells.
Good Sources of Vitamin A: Liver, egg yolks, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, cantaloupe, mangos, apricots and peaches.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – these are commonly found in fish and fish by-products. These nutrients keep the skin naturally supple by contributing to the natural defense system of the organ.
Good Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: There are two types of omega-3 fats; animal-based and plant-based.
1. Animal-based fats include fresh or canned wild caught salmon, sardines, alaskan halibut, cod liver oil, krill oil and fish oil.
2. Plant-based fats include flaxseed, hemp, chia seeds and walnuts.
If you find it difficult to get your daily requirement of omega-3’s from food you can always add an omega-3 supplement (such as krill oil) to your daily diet.
What Foods You Should Avoid
There are foods that make you look healthy, but there are also foods that can make your skin look worse.
1) Processed Foods – The first thing that you must avoid is processed foods. These are usually packed with lots of artificial sweeteners or high amounts of salt, which can be attributed to breakouts and other skin problems. A diet with high salt content can lead to dehydration, puffiness of the facial region, break outs and loss of skin elasticity. In other words, processed foods can make your skin look oily, dry and drab. Get the picture?
2) Foods High in Sugar – A diet with high sugar content can also lead to dry skin. It hinders some of the normal processes within the skin, which leads to breakouts and lowers down the natural defenses of the skin against secondary invaders like dirt and bacteria. If you’re a coffee person, you might want to cut down a bit on your caffeine. These types of beverages can lead to dehydration, breakouts and loss of skin vibrancy.
3) High Glycemic Foods – You want to avoid foods that are high on the Glycemic Index because they raise your blood sugar levels very quickly. High GI foods are more processed or have more added sugars, they include refined carbohydrates such as:
- white flour, white sugar, white rice
- sugar, candy, ice cream and cookies
- most breads and cereals
The Real Deal Between Your Skin and Your Diet
To put things into perspective, healthy skin can only be achieved when you take care of your body properly. Skin breakouts can occur when the oil glands in your skin become blocked and then trapped under piles of debris. Eventually, opportunistic bacteria living on the surface of your skin infect it and inflammation begins. At this point, you’ll see more puffiness and reddening on your skin’s surface.
Now, if you are not completely sure which particular type of food is causing your breakouts, it is probably best to keep a food journal. Keep a list of all the food that you have consumed during the day. Whenever you get breakouts, backtrack to a couple of days to identify the culprit. Of course, you also need to take into consideration other factors such as your period and stress – which can also cause breakouts.
Another advantage of keeping a food journal is that you will be able to see your progress – in terms of eating healthy. This can help keep you on the right track when it comes to eating the right foods. Educating yourself about the foods you eat is key to making the right food choices to maintain a truly healthy and radiant complexion.