Research has demonstrated that our diet affects our skin. So, what should we eat more of to boost our glow, and what should we try to avoid? Read on for some dietary suggestions that may enhance your health and improve the appearance of your skin. Generally, these recommendations will help reduce inflammation, which is associated with cell damage and increased skin aging.
Monounsaturated fatty acids: Found in olive oil and avocados, these healthy fats help maintain the skin’s water level and supply ceramides that keep the skin looking vibrant and intact.
Lycopene: Get your lycopene via red and orange fruits and veggies like tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, and mango. This antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory may prevent the breakdown of collagen, and boosts the skin’s natural SPF. However, you do still need to wear sunscreen no matter how much tomato sauce you eat.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, sardines, flax, walnuts, grass-fed beef and fortified eggs are good sources of this healthy fat. Omega-3s promote healthy cell membranes, which help maintain moister, softer, more supple skin. These acids may reduce the body’s production of compounds that cause inflammation, and deficiency in omega-3s can lead to eczema.
Water: Water keeps skin hydrated, helping it appear plump and smooth. If you don’t drink enough water, skin can look duller and wrinkles and pores may appear more noticeable. Structures within the skin that support collagen, which is key to supple, youthful skin, require water to function properly.
Probiotics: Gut health, considered by many experts to be the next frontier in medicine, may be linked to overall health in myriad ways science has yet to fully explore. Probiotics, found in kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha, encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria that improve digestion and may encourage clear, healthy skin.
Refined carbs: Processed carbs (think: any and all things made with flour) cause the body to produce insulin as well as hormones called androgens. Androgen elevation causes the skin’s glands to produce more oil, which can get trapped in pores, causing breakouts.
Sugar: Put down the easter basket: eating refined sugar may age the skin. Sugars can attach to proteins found in collagen, which produces compounds that cause sagging and wrinkling. The insulin spike caused by eating refined carbs and sugars is thought to cause hormonal shifts that can increase acne as well as causing inflammation.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol dehydrates the skin, causing dullness and exacerbating the appearances of fine lines and wrinkles. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol may deprive the skin of important vitamins and nutrients. Alcohol is often combined with sugar (poolside margaritas, anyone?), giving the skin a double whammy of potential damage.
Dairy: Some research suggests that dairy may be inflammatory, exacerbating acne and aging.