Altering Your Diet Could Be the Key to Amazing Skin
“You are what you eat.” We have all heard this mantra at one point or another, usually when delving into a delicious mouth-watering bite somewhat unaware of the repercussions it may have on our health, needless to say our skin.
Smoother, clearer and more youthful skin is oft-desired in today’s snap happy, Instagram-driven culture. But instead of applying an endless array of face masks, oils, soaps and scrubs, what if the answer to such a problem lay at an even more primal level? What if we actually “are what we eat?”
Of course, food, like many other factors, is nothing but a variable in the perfect skin equation… but it might play a more pivotal role than you would expect. Here are 5 foods you should shy away from and 5 foods you should dig into in order to work towards that ultimate glow. Try incorporating these items into your diet–you might be surprised at the magic that they can work.
Foods you should eat more of…
1. Healthy Fats: Avocados & Nuts (Walnuts & Sunflower Seeds)
Omega 3 nourishes and replenishes skin whilst giving it an element of softness. They help prevent dryness, which is especially key in these winter months, by keeping your skin hydrated.
2. Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers contain dietary fiber and vitamin B6, two strong acne-fighting agents which also induce blood circulation.
3. Oatmeal with Dark Chocolate
Oatmeal is a well-appraised beauty agent due to its oil-absorbing properties, whereby it allows for the natural removal of bacteria. Combined with 70% or above dark chocolate, you will add both amazing flavor and powerful skin emissaries to your breakfast or snack. Mineral rich and packed with antioxidants, the high cocoa percentage helps your skin attain a moisture rich complexion and protect it from sun damage (yes, the sun’s UV rays will find a way to hit your barren face even in the gloomy days of winter quarter).
4. Kidney Beans
An excellent source of plant-based protein, relevant particularly to those trying to shy away from animal products this year. They look after the colon’s overall health and regulate your body’s sugar levels, which in turn has a direct impact on one’s skin.
5. Green Tea/Red Wine (for redness)
Depending on how you’re feeling, you can opt for a steaming cup of green tea, triggering DNA repair and soothing any redness you may be experiencing, or a delightful glass of tinto (red) to pump in numerous antioxidants.
Foods you should consider avoiding…
1. Refined/Processed Sugars & Foods with a ‘High Glycemic Index’ (Sugar Spikes)
“In a nutshell, it [processed sugar] breaks down collagen, the springy substance that makes your skin look plump, youthful, and lifted. Also, ‘Sugar can weaken the immune system, and a suppressed immune system is bad at fighting off bacteria.’ Bacteria clogged in pores creates pimples. And sugar triggers insulin production, which triggers protein-utilization malfunctions. Sugar acts as a kind of signal scrambler, affecting the production of the proteins and amino acids that build up collagen and elasticity.” (The Cut)
Alongside this predominant skin-deteriorating agent, the following are also said to plummet your skin’s health, beauty and glow if regularly consumed.
2. Processed Meats
Processed meat is generally considered unhealthy due to its unnatural origin and chemical-packed composition. It comes as no surprise that it has been directly linked to chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and bowel problems. All the chemicals and preservatives will therefore unsurprisingly have a negative effect on your skin’s health.
3. Spicy Foods
This might come as somewhat of a revelation. While it is true that spicy foods stimulate blood circulation and can act as ‘cleansers’ for our digestive track, they can result in acne by one simple factor: sweat. Spicy foods cause an increase in body temperature through their inflammatory powers, resulting in what is sometimes referred to as ‘spice sweat’. This triggers the release of oils, which contribute to the trapping of dirt and bacteria, hence causing acne.
4. Dairy and Soy
It is undoubtedly true that dairy serves as a source of calcium and replenishes your body after the wear and tear of workouts, yet it can impact your skin more than you’d think. Traces of both hormones and bioactive molecules injected into cows for the industrial production of milk have been shown to make an appearance in humans after the consumption of dairy. Like any other alien hormone, this may trigger an imbalance within our body, hence affecting our skin. If you don’t have a local farm nearby to assure a ‘clean’ supply of milk, try switching to non-dairy product. Steer clear from soy, however. Try oat, almond, coconut, cashew or macadamia milks and your body and taste buds will be pleasantly surprised! Not only will you be doing your skin a favor, but you will be contributing to a shift away from the mass-scale exploitation of animals in food production.
5. Alcohol (simple carbohydrates, high in refined sugars)
“Alcohol dilates the pores of the skin, leading to blackheads and whiteheads and if it is not properly treated, it can go on to cause inflamed skin papules (lesion-like bumps) and cystic acne. In the long term, this ages the skin and can cause permanent scarring.” (GQ). Not to mention the obscene amount of refined sugar that cocktails and other mixed drinks contain. A couple drinks every now and then won’t destroy your skin, but be weary of making it a habit.