The 10 Best Food Strategies for Great Skin
It’s a new year and many of us have resolved to eat more healthfully in 2018. Here is a list of strategies that will help you achieve glowing health and skin throughout the entire year.
#1: Five Servings of Fruit and Veggies Every Day
Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals, smoking, pollution and sunlight all can cause wrinkling and age spots. If you eat a rainbow of colorful fruit and vegetables and aim for at least five portions a day, your skin and body will be well protected.
#2: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another super antioxidant that supports the immune system and produces collagen which strengthens the capillaries that supply the skin. This in turn promotes radiant skin and helps blemishes heal properly. If you incorporate some or a combination of each of these foods every day, you will “C” the different! Blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes.
#3: Don’t Crash Diet
Repeatedly losing and regaining weight will cause sagging, wrinkles and stretch marks. Crash diets usually deplete us of essential vitamins and minerals which will reflect on your skin. A healthy, balanced diet is the best thing you can do for your skin. If you’re trying to lose weight, learn about the mechanism that keeps your body fat by reading “The Gabriel Method.”
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. It works alongside other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C and is essential in supporting the immune system. Studies indicate that a selenium-rich diet can help to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. One way to boost your intake is to eat Brazil nuts. Just four nuts will provide the recommended daily amount (RDA). Mix Brazil nuts with other seeds rich in vitamin E as a snack or salad sprinkle. Other good sources are fish, shellfish, eggs, wheat germ, tomatoes and broccoli.
#5: Vitamin E
Vitamin E protects skin from oxidative (cell) damage and supports healthy skin growth. Foods high in vitamin E include almonds, avocado, hazelnuts, pine nuts and sunflower and corn oils.
#6: 6-8 Glasses of Water a Day
Skin needs moisture to stay flexible. While it gets the majority of its moisture from the air, if your body is just mildly dehydrated; your skin will look dry, tired and slightly grey. Water is the best fluid to drink. Keep a large bottle of water on your desk to remind you to drink throughout the day. Herbal, caffeine-free teas are good too. And some fruit and vegetables, such as watermelon and cucumber are not only great sources of fluids they also contain minerals that increase the rate at which you can hydrate your body and skin.
#7: Healthy Fat
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – the types found in avocados, oily fish, nuts and seeds – provide essential fatty acids which act as a natural moisturizer for your skin, keeping it supple and improving elasticity. These fats also come packaged with a healthy dose of vitamin E (a vitamin many of us lack), which will help protect against free radical damage.
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that cannot be made in the body and must be obtained through the diet. You will find omega-3s in oily fish, chia seeds, walnuts and rapeseed oil. Omega-3 fats encourage the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds which can help skin, particularly inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Two tablespoons of chia seeds each day will do wonders for your skin and body.
#9: Low Glycemic Index-Foods
Refined sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates like baked goods and soda break down in our bodies into a substance called glucose. Glucose raises your insulin levels which in turn cause inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation can cause or worsen all kinds of skin conditions including acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis.
The opposite strategy would be to incorporate low glycemic index foods which are slow-releasing carbs like beans, pulses, oatmeal. Not only will they provide you with a steady supply of energy, leave you feeling satisfied for longer (making you less likely to snack), but they do not promote inflammation.
Skin #10: Zinc.
Zinc is involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands in the skin (which produce oil) and helps to repair skin damage and keep skin soft and supple. Zinc-rich foods include fish, lean red meat, whole-grains, poultry, nuts, seeds and shellfish.
Dietary changes take time to be seen in your skin it takes six weeks for new skin to emerge to the surface. But if you incorporate some or all of these healthy foods strategies into your diet and minimize sugar and high-glycemic foods, you will likely notice positive changes in your energy, digestion and a wide variety of other conditions fairly quickly. If you continue to have problematic skin, email firstname.lastname@example.org to set-up a complimentary consultation.
About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman is board certified in Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, and Western Biomedicine. She received her Diplomate in Oriental Medicine (Dipl.OM) from the National Certification Commission of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and is a licensed Illinois acupuncturist. Olivia earned a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) from National University of Health Sciences. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and was awarded the Joseph Janse Outstanding Graduate Award. Olivia completed additional post-graduate studies and received a diploma in TCM Dermatology as well as Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture and Constitutional Facial Acupuncture.
Olivia is the Vice President of the Illinois Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is also one of two Illinois delegates to the American Society of Acupuncturists. In her free time, you can find her enjoying photography, gourmet cooking, international travel, spending time in nature, crochet and entertaining her family and friends.