Does What You Eat Impact Your Skin?

Image by  Jernej Graj

Image by Jernej Graj

People have been making their own homemade skincare products for centuries — using basic pantry staples like egg whites, honey, coffee grounds and cucumbers. Food going onto your skin can be incredibly beneficial, but can the food going into your body be harmful for your complexion? You know the saying, you are what you eat, how much of that is actually true? Does my diet really dictate how good my skin looks?

While there isn’t any scientific evidence (YET) to prove that specific foods, like chocolate or pizza, are linked to your complexion, it’s apparently more about overall diet. For example, if your diet consists mostly of processed foods or is a carbohydrate-heavy diet, it could negatively contribute to the loss of elasticity in your skin and cause acne flare ups. A low glycemic diet, full of fruits, veg and fish supports aging skin and could also reduce the amount of acne flareups. I wish my beer chugging, 20’ish year old self, knew this fun fact.

Basically it all boils down to balancing your blood sugar levels. For the last three months of wedding prep, I’ve personally experienced this balancing act. I’ve been on a pretty strict paleo diet, full of lean meats and lots of veg. I’ve noticed that my skin has been less congested and overall has a nice healthy glow. When I went on vacation for a week, and cheated on my diet, some redness and cystic acne popped up. Coincidence maybe, diet probably. Below are some tips around food groups and how they could positively or negatively impact the appearance of your skin.

Diet tips

Red Meat
It’s OK to eat red meat, but leaner proteins like chicken and turkey are better for your skin, as they are low in fat (less inflammatory) and high in niacin (vitamin B), which helps protect against skin cancer.

Like studies mention, high-carb diets aren’t doing your skin any favors (more wrinkles). So gluten, eat in moderation… rip pasta.

Again like mentioned, balancing your blood sugar levels is really important when it comes to your skin health. Sugar triggers the aging process: reduces the elasticity in your skin causing wrinkles and sagging. So needless to say, try to eat less sugar!

I love cheese, so this is a hard one for me. Dairy products have high levels of glycemic in it, causing blood sugar (and insulin) to increase which causes more oil production. Make sure you balance your dairy intake with calcium rich foods like spinach, kale, soy and beans.

Eat it all! Oranges, strawberries, mangos and papayas are rich in vitamin C which is great for improving collagen. Not to mention these fruits are also an antioxidant, which helps with protecting your skin from pollution and UV rays. Fruits with the least amount of sugar are: berries, peaches, citrus, melon and avocado.

As my nutritionist says, drown everything out with veg! A good indicator is the brighter and bolder the vegetables are, the better it is for your skin. Typically this type of food is full of B-carotenes (vitamin A), lycopene and lutein which help against environmental damage. Tip: most vegetables are better in their raw form!

I love seafood! I grew up with a pescatarian mother, so my protein of choice was and has always been seafood. Depending on the fish, it can range in how much omega 3 fatty acids it contains. Omega 3 helps with inflammation and balancing your skins natural oil production. So if you’re not getting enough seafood in your diet, they got a pill for that!

Red Wine
A glass a day keeps the dr away? Red wine is on that edge of being good and/or bad for you. Good because it actually is an antioxidant (contains resveratrol), bad because it can also be dehydrating, causing rosacea. Because my beverage of choice is on that fine line, if you want to drink to good skin, make a cup of green tea.

Nuts and Seeds
Great source of vitamin E which comes out in your sebum (oil production). Can also contain zinc, copper and selenium which help with cell damage and support healthy skin.

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