Good skin comes from within has become a popular phrase and for good reason. But what does it really mean?
Whether your skin is dry and dull or your complexion is glowing is highly dependent on what you eat. Your skin needs the right nutrients to be its healthiest.
The right foods can contribute to a glowing complexion on a cellular level by promoting the anti-inflammatory and anti oxidative processes in your body, plus providing the building blocks needed for healthy skin.
On the other hand, the wrong foods can cause dull, dry skin and can trigger breakouts, rosacea and other skin problems.
Since summer is prime time for many foods that are great for your skin, now is a good time to get started eating foods that support your health and skin, and start avoiding the ones that aren’t.
What do you think?
Foods that benefit your skin
- Watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, and other in-season fruits and veggies. These high water vegetables and fruits are particularly good at hydrating your cells. Which can make your skin cells healthier and plumper. Plus in season fruits and vegetables vitamin content is at its highest which is great for your health.
- Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. These fruits are loaded with anti-oxidants which help protect your skin (and whole body) against free radical damage and premature aging.
- Fermented foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and fermented vegetables bring “good” bacteria into your gut and help it function better by supporting your gut (and skin) microbiome.
- Onions, garlic, leeks. These vegetables are good for your overall health, reduce inflammation, and act as prebiotics-food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
- Green tea. It’s loaded with anti-oxidants that can help with UV damage from the sun and other environmental insults. It also promotes gut health and good digestion which also contribute to skin health.
- Avocados. Avocados are loaded with healthy fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants. They can help your skin stay moist and provide nourishment your skin craves.
- Salmon and other fatty fish. These fish are high in Omega 3 fatty acids that are good for your skin, your heart health, and your overall health. Omega 3 fatty acids help to prevent inflammation. Inflammation is the root of almost all chronic disease as well as redness and irritation, breakouts, rosacea, sun damage and premature aging on your skin.
- Cinnamon. Cinnamon is a powerful anti-inflammatory (and tasty too).
- Ginger. Ginger can soothe your gut and is also an anti-inflammatory to boot.
- Kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous veggies. They’re full of fiber and also have vitamin C, anti oxidants, and polyphenols that nourish and support your skin.
Some foods to avoid
Unfortunately, while there so many foods that are good for both your skin and your overall health, there are a few that simply aren’t. Naturally, some of these are favorites.
I’m not personally a fan of deprivation because it doesn’t feel great and tends to back fire. I am a fan of moderation and mindful eating. And noticing how you feel after you eat certain foods.
What I’m trying to say is that if you have a wicked sweet tooth, for example, rather than going cold turkey (and eating a whole bag of cookies when you can’t take it any more), try cutting back on your sugar intake by substituting fruit and eating nutritious, filling, foods with fiber (like veggies or salad) before you have a sugary treat. You might find that your craving for the treat is a lot lower.
And, yes, sugar is one of those foods you really want to cut back on or avoid.
- Sugar. Sugar can cause the way your body processes collagen, increase inflammation, and damage to your skin cells. This results in more and deeper wrinkles, and dull, sallow skin.
Heads up, the biggest source of sugar in the American diet is in bottles soft drinks-sodas, flavored teas, etc. If you drink these, am easy way to cut down on sugar dramatically is to start substituting water. If you don’t love water, try adding a slice lemon, a strawberry, or other fruit for flavor.
- Alcohol. Moderation is key. The problem with alcohol is that it causes inflammation through out your body which can lead to sagging, wrinkling, redness, and problems for your skin.
- Trans fats. There are healthy fats (like the fat in avocado, olive oil, grass fed butter) and then there are unhealthy fats that are completely different in how they affect your body.
Healthy fats reduce inflammation and provide the building blocks for healthy cells.
Unhealthy fats, like trans fats, increase inflammation, harden the cell walls so they don’t work properly, and are devastating to your health.
Trans fats are found in hydrogenated oil. It’s in almost all highly processed foods, but never in naturally occurring ones. So beware of commercial baked goods, margarine and shortening, energy bars, snack foods.
- Refined carbohydrates. These are also present in highly processed foods. Think sugar, white flour, and the like. They quickly break down into sugars in your system and drive inflammation.
- Processed lunch meats. Ditto on the inflammation.
A basic rule of thumb might be eat your foods as seasonal and natural as possible, get plenty of protein, drinks water, and avoid processed foods as much as possible. You don’t need to be perfect.