Our relationship with food is a complicated one, but as the saying goes, we are what we eat. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to stay as close to whole foods as possible when choosing what to eat.
The Road to Healthy Skin
It’s no surprise that our lifestyle affects us in many ways — what we eat largely impacts our health and energy. The first signs of an unhealthy or healthy diet will be evident in the way our skin looks. Pimples and blemishes appearing out of nowhere could be due to a poor diet, whereas eating healthy, unprocessed foods will give you clear, smoother skin. Let’s look at some foods that are great for the health of your skin.
Renowned to be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is considered to be one of the best superfoods for sustaining skin health. It is also loaded with vitamin E and antioxidant properties that ease inflammation, preventing the breakdown of essential cells and tissues, including collagen. Apart from keeping skin smooth and young, the high content of good fat in salmon provides the skin with a healthy glow. This is due to the healthy oil it contributes to the skin, which keeps it hydrated. There are also other types of fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids; you can alternate between mackerel and herring, if your palate is craving for something different.
Filled with zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C, broccoli curbs and protects the skin from dryness and wrinkles. The green vegetable also has anti-cancer properties and acts as a natural sunscreen. In addition to shielding your skin, broccoli also has properties that can reverse the effects of sun damage. Vitamin B, vitamin E and beta-carotene keep skin glowing and youthful. If you need a boost of vitamin C, this vegetable has you covered. Broccoli has the highest concentration of vitamin C among all the cruciferous vegetables and provides the body with strong antioxidants that prevent a number of diseases, including cancer.
Similar to broccoli, tomatoes are also a great source of vitamin C. They defend the skin against harmful UV rays of the sun and prevent wrinkles. You can get the most out of tomatoes when you cook them before consuming them. This is because heat makes it easier for the body to absorb the phytonutrients, which are great for overall health and prevention of various diseases. Cooking tomatoes also manufactures lycopene, an antioxidant and red pigment found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables. Lycopene fights premature aging, protects your skin from UV radiation and keeps you looking younger.
This green, leafy vegetable has received a lot of traction over the years for its numerous benefits. Rich in fibre, antioxidants, calcium, vitamin K, vitamin A and other nutrients, kale is a skin booster and power-packed vegetable that’s necessary for improving the health of your skin. For instance, vitamin A is responsible for tissue growth and the production of sebum, which keeps your face hydrated. One cup of cooked kale aids in maintaining collagen, the protein that gives skin its structure.
Loaded with vitamin E, almonds contain antioxidants that slow down aging caused by free radicals and protect the skin from UV rays. Vitamin E also plays a key role in keeping skin smooth, supple and youthful. Almonds are also filled with essential fatty acids, which keep skin hydrated, so if you have dry skin, be sure to include a handful in your diet. Another advantage is the fibre found in almonds. The fibre helps eliminate toxins from the body, and this essentially prevents acne and breakouts on the skin. Talk about healing from the inside!
Things to Avoid
Foods with too much fat, sugar and salt should be limited in your diet. Junk food, fast food and processed foods should be replaced with fresh greens, meat and fruit.
Avoid or limit foods with refined carbohydrates. They are processed sugars and processed flour, which are typically absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and will lead to a spike in insulin and blood sugar levels.
The main sources of refined carbohydrates include white flour, white bread, white rice, pastries, sodas, snacks and pasta. They are responsible for increasing the oil production in your skin and clogging pores. This will lead to pimples, premature aging, whiteheads and blackheads. Ensure that you read food labels carefully, as refined carbohydrates can be found in drinks, and even in some foods advertised as having healthy ingredients.
You should also avoid anything deep-fried or fried in refined oils, including canola, safflower and peanut oils. Even though they are sold as vegetable oils, they are full of trans fats, which can exacerbate skin conditions.
The Bottom Line
You don’t have to adhere to a strict diet to keep your skin looking healthy, but just ensure that you’re cutting back on the fat, sugar and salt in your diet. It’s necessary that you are getting nutrients and vitamins to give your skin the extra boost it needs.