You are what you eat. If you want a truly fabulous, radiant, vibrant, and youthful skin, you must pay attention to your diet. Think of your skin as the largest vital organ in your immune system, and nourish it so that it will protect you against infection and disease.
According to Samantha Heller, registered dietician at the New York University Medical Center, everything a person eats becomes a part of “the body’s outer fabric.” She and other experts point out that hair and skin keep accurate histories of all you have eaten, imbibed, and smoked for at least the last six months. Just as anxiety and fatigue show on your face, so does poor nutrition.
Poor eating habits put your skin at risk of break-outs, because new skin cells fail to develop as they should and free radicals’ damage cell structures. You become far more susceptible to acne and eczema when you skip fruits rich in anti-oxidants, vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals, and fish rich in essential fatty acids.
If you do not eat enough proteins, you lose amino acids, the building-blocks of healthy new cells. Physicians and dermatologists agree a healthy diet contributes at least as much to a healthy complexion as a proper cleansing regime and medication.
Pay attention to what you do not eat. In general, avoid foods high in sugar, carbohydrates, fats, and salt; they contribute both to skin problems and to cardio-vascular disease. Sugary foods naturally affect your body’s insulin levels, and recent research has linked elevated insulin levels with chronic skin disorders.
When you shop or order from the menu, find the super-foods. Maintaining your skin’s health and rosy glow, a few vital nutrients have turbo-charged super-powers.
Vitamin A is a vital component in skin health, and your favorite low-fat dairy products are packed not only with Vitamin A but also with Vitamin D, and they deliver all the calcium you need for healthy bones, too. Not surprisingly, low-fat yogurt tops the list of nutritionists’ picks for Vitamin A-rich menu choices. Experts add that the acidophilus bacteria in yogurt cultures improve your digestive health, and if you add blueberries and strawberries, you get loads of anti-oxidants, which cleanse your body of cell-ravaging free radicals.
Add fruits to everything. Put them on your cereal and mix them in your yogurt at breakfast; make them the centerpiece of your mid-morning snack, and toss them in your salad at lunch. Pair fruit with cheese, topping whole grain crackers at your mid-afternoon lull, and include them in the appetizer and dessert at your dinner table. Blackberries, plums, blueberries and strawberries belong to a group with high antioxidant content. Antioxidants and phytochemicals help protect cells against damage from free radicals.
Complement your meals and snacks with green tea. Green tea is also a source of anti-inflammatory properties which protect your cell membranes and prevent skin cancer. Polypherols present in green tea also are anti-inflammatory, reducing the intensity of occasional acne flare-ups, and helping your skin’s overall health.
Go for essential fatty acids. They pump-up your good cholesterol as they nourish your muscles and skin. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to your skin’s natural moisture without producing excess oil. Salmon and tuna are both high in protein and contain high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids; try to eat at least two healthy servings of fish every week. Nutritionists also recommend cold-pressed virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oils, and they recommend avoiding highly processed foods, which frequently add excess oils and fats which subvert both heart health and a healthy complexion.
Walnuts, flax seed and canola oils all deliver vital fatty acids, which maintain healthy cell membranes and promote growth of new cells.
Hydrate! Most Americans suffer chronic dehydration, and more than half of American adults mistake thirst for hunger, exacerbating their dehydration. Follow the old-fashioned rule: drink your eight glasses of water every day, not only for healthy skin, but also to help your digestion and circulation. Many beverages, ironically, contribute to dehydration because they act as diuretics in your system: diet sodas and sweetened teas neither quench your thirst nor hydrate your system. Chronic dehydration slows metabolism in skin cells, impairing the skin’s natural life cycle. Your body needs pure, natural fruit juices for their nutrition and anti-oxidant benefits, but nothing can substitute for clean, properly filtered water.
Seek selenium. Selenium maintains skin health, protecting it against sun and wind damage, and maintaining its natural radiance. Whole grains, also extremely beneficial to digestive health, contain high concentrations of selenium. Seven-grain breads, bran muffins, and whole grain cereals taste much better than their highly processed equivalents, and they deliver not only selenium but also more than a dozen vital nutrients that benefit your skin and hair.