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Most people tend to think that the key to achieve and maintain healthy skin is to use skincare products.
I know you’re not like “most people” or you wouldn’t be reading my content…
Let’s start, as usual, with the truth:
Using skincare products alone is not enough!
After all the skin is an organ and, as such, it is affected by whatever is going on in our bodies.
Stress, exercise, nutrition, inflammation, and sleep all contribute to the health of our skin.
In this post I’m going to show you exactly what are the best food for skin health.
The “perfect” diet for the skin should include antioxidants, fibers, and anti-inflammatory foods (the latter is very important especially if you suffer from eczema or rosacea).
When I was in my 20s my diet was the exact opposite as the one I’m going to write… Needless to say I was overweight, and besides that, my skin was terrible.
I don’t have a picture of that time to show you because I didn’t want to take any picture back then. That’s how ashamed and self conscious I was !
As I progressed with my studies and career as a pharmacist, I became passionate about supplements.
I still remember my pharmacology professor talking about how supplements (for example St. John’s Wort) and food (for example grapefruit juice) might interact with drugs.
When you come from a rigorous scientific background, you tend to be skeptical about everything that’s not drug related. But that day for the first time I realized how deeply nutrients affect our bodies.
That was the exact moment I started to learn everything I could on nutrition, supplements, and how they affects the body and, of course, the skin.
The Best Foods For The Skin
Greens have antioxidants that keep the skin young and healthy.
They also fight environmental stressors typical of urban environments.
Furthermore veggies contain fibers– see below.
Perhaps you think you’re having enough greens, but once you start tracking them you’ll see that you’re probably not.
The same thing happened to me before I installed a food tracking app.
I found out that EVEN THOUGH I WAS HAVING VEGGIES WITH EVERY MEAL, STILL I was below the recommended daily intake for fibers, mineral, and certain vitamins.
I started to eat bigger portions of veggies, but I also changed the kind of vegetables.
I replaced lettuce and tomatoes for zucchini, cabbage, potatoes, green beans, and peas.
I also started to add chia seeds (high in proteins and fibers) to my soups or yogurt.
In 1961 a study using oral Lactobacillus supplements suggested a correlation between acne and microbiome for the first time.
Later on in 2007 a controlled study found that a low glycemic diet improved acne symptoms.
Finally in 2018 another study showed that acne patients have a distinct microbiome composition.
Atopic dermatitis is a common skin inflammatory disease characterized by a low bacterial diversity
While we still need to understand to what degree and how gut microbiome affects the skin, no doubt that there’s a relationship between the two.
Including more fibers in your diet is a smart choice for your skin and your overall health.
Foods rich in fibers are vegetables (artichokes, peas, and dark green veggies) lentils, oats, & barley. Beans, avocados, whole wheat pasta/bread. Fruits like berries, pears, and apples (low in sugar too).
Fatty fishes – rich in omega-3.
Salmon, herrings, and sardines.
These fishes are among the best foods for the skin because they contain omega 3 fatty acids.
These fatty acids protect the skin from photoaging, skin cancer, allergy, and dermatitis by reducing inflammation.
The typical Western diet doesn’t have enough omega -3 while it’s rich in omega-6.
To have better skin, thanks to an increase in membrane fluidity, reduce omega-6 intake while increasing omega-3.
Vegetarian? Go nuts.
They contain omega 3 too. The main difference with fish is that nuts have way more calories and less protein.
If you eat too many nuts you’ll gain weight even if they’re healthy!
Another food rich in healthy fats is avocados.
- Olive oil. Rich in squalene which is also common as a skincare ingredient protecting the skin from dryness and free radicals.
Furthermore olive oil has a good ratio of omega-6: omega-3 fatty acids and it contains vitamin E, an antioxidant.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory compound. Additionally turmeric is a powerful antioxidant making it an anti-aging ingredient.
Moreover turmeric speeds up wounds healing.
It’s almost impossible to reach the amount of curcumin used in the studies using it as a spice. It’s better to take it as a supplement.
Just like turmeric, cinnamon has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
I always add cinnamon to my oatmeal and protein shake.
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Meat, Gelatin, & Bone Broth.
Collagen is the protein that gives elasticity to the skin. The problem is that as we age we produce less collagen and that’s why wrinkles appear.
Eating foods that contain collagen can help replenish the collagen that’s lost.
>> More on collagen click here
Best Foods For The Skin- What To Avoid
Sugar makes our skin age FASTER and therefore should be avoided as much as possible in order to maintain healthy and youthful skin.
How does sugar make us aging?
Sugar is responsible for the creation of AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products) when it binds to proteins.
AGEs are key players in skin aging.
AGEs don’t just float around in our bodies.
We have specific receptors called RAGE that receive them.
The activation of these receptors triggers oxidative stress and inflammation.
It gets worse!
We have RAGE receptors in our dermis!
AGEs affect the removal of old collagen from the skin; in fact, glycated collagen leads to a decreased transformation of collagen III fibers into collagen I.
To keep things simple this leads to loss of elasticity and wrinkle formation.
Avoiding sugar will help you limit and slow down the physiological glycation process.
Sugar is not the only player when it comes to AGEs. However, sugar is the only thing that doesn’t really have any nutritional value so I would drastically reduce the amount you consume.
Dietary habits can reduce AGEs in the body.
First, a diet should contain low levels of monosaccharides (yes, carbs), which are responsible for the glycation phenomenon.
Water-based cooking methods such as boiling and steaming produce a logarithmically lower amount of AGEs.
Several aromatic herbs and spices are believed to be able to reduce the endogenous production of AGEs: cinnamon, oregano, cloves, ginger, and garlic.
Sugar is bad for overall health.
And the skin is no different.
Do yourself a favor and reduce the amount of sugar you consume. You’re gonna notice improvements in your skin right away and long term when you’ll be able to spend more time with the people you love.
2. Processed carbs.
Pizzas, pastries, frozen meals etc.
Processed foods contain ingredients, like soybean oil, that promote inflammation because of their high omega-6 content.
Chronic inflammation may or may not be painful, yet affects the skin leading to redness and fragility.
The skin is an organ and as such it is affected by what we eat.
To keep your skin looking youthful and healthy it is important to eat plenty of antioxidants, fibers, and collagen. These are the best foods for the skin.
Equally important is what foods we should avoid for glowing skin; as a general rule highly processed foods loaded with sugars, carbs, and unhealthy fats should be avoided.
Questions? Leave a comment below!