You might not know this, but our skin is our biggest organ - functioning continuously day in and day out. We can spend so much of our time focusing on what the food we put in is doing to our insides, that we tend to forget that it will also have a huge impact on our outsides, too.
Our skin is incredibly clever! It can tell us so much about our health and what is going on within. Take this as an example, dark circles appearing under your eyes can tell you - and a lot of people around you - that you’ve been having a few sleepless nights.
So, just like the amount of sleep you get, your diet has a huge impact on your skin. See below a few simple tips to optimize your diet so that your skin can be at its best - all year round.
1. Avoid the Sugars
It can be difficult to completely cut sugar and refined carbohydrates out of your diet – they’re pretty much everywhere - but reducing your intake could do wonders for your skin. It is thought that high levels of sugar in your diet can increase your chances of breakouts and damage your skin's collagen (the protein need to keep skin firm and youthful) levels. There are two main types of refined carbs:
- Sugar; high fructose corn syrup, sucrose (table sugar) and agave syrup
- Refined grains; white flour made from wheat.
Stripped of almost all minerals, fiber and vitamins, refined carbohydrates are considered as empty calories. Our bodies digest them very quickly, which will lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels after meals. This can lead to larger issues than wrinkled skin! You may find yourself dealing with serious, life-changing health issues like diabetes or heart disease.
The good news is that you can avoid these problems by switching your white grain with whole grain carbohydrates; oats and barley. It’s quite easy to get scared of the word carbohydrate, but not all of them are bad for you or your skin . Vegetables, fruit, and root vegetables are perfect examples of good carbohydrates. Not only will these foods help you feel better, but they will be more beneficial to the health and appearance of your skin.
2. Avoid Free-Radicals In Your Food
Ever heard of free-radicals? They’re pretty big in the health and beauty world right! Left to their own devices, they can get out of control and cause some pretty serious cell damage to our skin. Free radicals naturally occur in the body, and for the most part, your own defense can keep them in check. But there are a number of common everyday factors that could be increasing your levels of free radicals, including an unhealthy diet.
Without adding antioxidants into the body through what you eat, these free-radicals can take over. At this point, your body is undergoing ‘oxidative-stress’ and this is when the damage begins to show. Common aging signs such as brown spots, broken blood vessels, fine lines, and wrinkles begin to appear as cellular damage is accelerated and collagen and elastic fibers - associated with tighter, healthier looking skin - are weakened.
3. Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
A lot of foods packed with rick antioxidants are full of color. Think of it this way, the more color on your plate, the more beneficial your food will be to your body and skin.
Greens: Try to get nutrient-dense greens into your diet. Think spinach, kale, arugula, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Just 1-cup a day, a few times a week will make a difference. You could also add a scoop of green nutrient powder to your morning smoothie as an alternative.
Reds and Purples: Think eggplant, beets, tomatoes, purple asparagus, berries, and plums.
Oranges and Yellows: Carrots, butternut squash, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, apricots, peaches, etc.
4. Drink Antioxidant-Rich Fluids
You don’t have to limit your antioxidant intake to just your food. A green tea every now and then could also do wonders for your external and internal health, too.
Any tea - green, white, black, or red, they're packed with many antioxidants. A small cup of tea can be a super way to get antioxidants into your system and stay hydrated.
TIP: Try to avoid sweetened green tea drinks as many have more sugar than antioxidants. For a little something special, try brewing your own tea and adding slices of fruit or mint leaves before pouring over ice for a refreshing brew!
5. Avoid Dairy
If you have a high intake of dairy in your diet, it might be causing some issues with your skin. Constant breakouts, redness or rashes could all be due to the dairy you're putting into your body. In the US, most milk comes from pregnant cows. That means that the hormone levels in their milk is incredibly high, giving excess sebum (the oily secretion from the sebaceous glands) production. Although sebum can be beneficial to both your skin and hair, in large quantities, it can have the opposite effect .
If you’re suffering from regular and continuous breakouts or rashes, maybe think about substituting your dairy for something else; almond, soy or coconut milk. The more stress your skin goes through, the harder it is to rejuvenate and regenerate. Without this process working properly, your skin will begin to look mature and wrinkled. So change your milk! You never know, it could change your skin problems forever.
The fact of the matter is, what you put into your body will, in turn, affect the outside. We all want to keep our skin looking healthy and young, so if you have noticed continuous blemishes or fine lines and wrinkles, cutting certain foods out of your diet could be the first positive steps towards younger looking skin. With your external routine and your new adjusted diet, there should be no reason for your skin to age or change at a rapid rate. Be mindful of the good and bad foods, it will always help your health, both externally and internally.