Want Great Skin? Start with Changing Your Diet, Not Your Skin Care Routine
Heard that old saying ‘you are what you eat’? When it comes to your skin, it couldn't be more true.
While it’s true that there are those who are undeniably more blessed when it comes to the genetic lottery, anyone can make small lifestyle changes to improve not only their complexion but the health and longevity of their skin cells too.
Getting enough quality time in the sun, using all the right skincare products, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly are some of the ways you can give your skin a helping hand.
But if you do all of this and don’t change your diet, you won't get the results you want to see.
If you want skin that glows with good health, you need to make sure your inside is just as good as your outside! Here’s how you can kickstart your journey to healthy skin...
Follow the Experts Advice
Over the years, doctors and dieticians have issued several general guidelines and recommendations regarding food and skin health.
Experts suggest getting at least five servings of fresh fruit and/or vegetables every day. They emphasize the value of selenium and Vitamin E for healthy skin.
Hydration is also key. It’s recommended that you drink six to eight glasses of water a day, and if you work out you need to ensure you don’t suffer from dehydration.
They also caution against so-called ‘crash diets’ that cause rapid weight loss and the inevitable re-gain. This puts undue stress on your skin, which becomes less flexible as you age.
Increase Your Fish Intake
Protein is one of the most important food groups. Proteins make up the building blocks of cells—your amino acids, which help with muscle maintenance and the growth of new cells.
Seafood in general, and fish, are some of the healthiest and most efficient (in the sense of getting the most protein per gram of food) ways to get your daily nutritional requirements. Red meat is high in protein too. But it is also higher in the kinds of fats that are bad for your cardiovascular health, your circulation, and therefore, your complexion.
That is why doctors recommend reducing your red meat intake and increasing fish consumption in general. Salmon, tuna, cod, herring, or mackerel are some of the fish recommended by dieticians. However, all fish are rich in protein, but more importantly, they are rich in omega-3 oils.
Omega-3 is partly responsible for the hydration and oil production of your skin. It helps to reduce acne and inflammation and to protect against the sun’s antioxidizing rays. Thus, a lack of omega 3 can lead to dry skin. Fatty fish are also rich in Vitamin E, which protects your immune system from disorders with dermic side-effects such as psoriasis, and it works to prevent inflammation.
Eat the Sour with the Sweet
Vitamin C is vital to maintain your skin’s elasticity, and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, satsumas, and tangerines are chock full of it.
If you live somewhere with less-than-optimal light conditions or the sun’s abundance of Vitamin D isn’t always on display, eating citrus fruit is even more important. Citrus fruits are also awash with antioxidants and other minerals such as magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and potassium important to the skin’s wellbeing.
Just remember to always consume fruit in moderation, as it is rich in sugar. Too much sugar is not good for your skin, your teeth, or the rest of your body. Other fruits such as kiwis and watermelons, and berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, are not only loaded with Vitamin C but antioxidants to boot, which we’ll touch on later.
Go Nuts for Beans and Seeds
Zinc, a vitamin known to help prevent acne and inflammation, is found in a variety of beans and legumes like edamame beans, chickpeas and kidney beans. Seeds like sunflower, flaxseeds and chia seeds are all rich in omega-3 oils, as well as protein, which is good for your nails and hair follicles.
Omega-3 oils and protein are in a variety of nuts, whether ground, whole or as a condiment. Some of the healthier nuts include walnuts, almonds, and pecans.
Indulge in Antioxidant-Rich Food and Drinks
We all hear a lot about the healing power of antioxidants, but what exactly are they?
Antioxidants are the name we give to all kinds of molecules that prevent, lessen, and retard the oxidization process in the body’s cells, the process by which environmental factors, such as the sun’s UV rays, increase the rate of natural decay.
Vitamins, minerals, the molecules selenium and beta-carotene and other carotenoids, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin all play a vital role in reducing visible signs of the skin’s aging process. So, how can you get these wonderful molecules into your body?
The good news is that you probably already are, and if not, the remedy is close at hand. Coffee and black and green teas are rich in both antioxidants and polyphenols, which can help to prevent cancer and wrinkles.
Eat Your Greens
Lutein and zeaxanthin, the antioxidant carotene compounds responsible for the skin’s pigmentation and tone are in abundance in leafy greens. Lettuces, spinach, cabbage, and kale are packed full of these molecules, and consuming them will improve the tone of your skin. These vegetables are even easy to grow at home, so you can ensure they’re 100% organic.
Selenium, another mineral responsible for skin repair, is found in mushrooms, and more colorful vegetables. Bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C and carrots are full of Vitamin A, which improves the skin’s oil production. Last but not least, broccoli is a good source of both of those vitamins, as well as Vitamin K which also hastens your skin’s natural repairing process.
Eat Your Way to Great Skin
If you change your diet, you’ll see a difference in your skin. All too often we rely on skincare products to improve our complexions when really, the answers to great skin are on our plate.