10 Great Foods for Your Skin
Everyone has heard of the phrase, "You are what you eat." But when talking about skincare, "You reflect what you eat" may be more appropriate. Okay, sure, it's not as catchy, but the simple truth is that when you eat right, your skin will love you—and everyone else, in turn, will love your skin. The food you eat can be a great ally in the fight against age and acne.
As Susan C. Taylor, MD, FAAD, and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, said recently to the American Academy of Dermatology, "While there's no mistaking how our diet affects our overall health, we're just beginning to understand how certain foods—or lack thereof—can impact our skin's health." So, before you purchase the $40 pimple eraser and the $100 wrinkle cream, make sure the following items are on your grocery list.
There are several topical creams that can help give you that youthful glow, aid in reducing redness, and help remedy deep lines due to sun damage and age. However, most experts say that eating a healthy balanced diet is a sure way to help alleviate skin problems. Here are 10 great foods to help boost your chances at a lovely complexion.
- Water. According to the American Skin Association, "Water is the most important nutrient we consume. The human body is anywhere from 55 to 75 percent water. Without water, we could not survive. It is recommended that people drink 8 glasses of water a day." Drinking the right amount of water helps you sweat. Sweat helps you detoxify from toxins that the body absorbs through unhealthy eating habits and living in a smoggy world. In turn, you clear out the body and keep the internal and external body nice and clean. Clean skin = healthy skin.
- Whole grains. Whole grains will up your intake of fiber. Fiber is just what you need to clear your body of waste and toxins. When we retain toxins from the food we eat and our physical environment, it starts to show on our face. Whole grains such as whole-meal pasta, whole wheat breads, and rice, also contain vitamin B, which is an ingredient you will find in anti-aging creams.
- Veggies. Foods high in vitamin A help to repair your skin. When one is low in this vitamin, skin can become dry and flaky, and take much more time to heal. Many topical creams contain vitamin A and are said to help with acne and reduce lines and wrinkles. You can find vitamin A in most fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, spinach, tomato juice, broccoli, and kale.
- Vitamin B foods. There are many forms of vitamin B. The one most important to skin is Biotin. This nutrient helps form a basis for the skin, hair, and nails. Those who show a deficiency in Biotin will have problems with itchy skin and possible hair loss. Most adults require about 30 micrograms of Biotin a day. Almonds and peanuts are high in this nutrient; in fact, peanut butter contains the full 30 micrograms per serving. Other foods high in Biotin are milk, eggs, yogurt, and cheese. You can absorb vitamin B when eating chicken, turkey, and beef; leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and cabbage; and fruits such as raspberries, avocado, and bananas.
- Salmon. Sea creatures such as salmon and oysters happen to contain zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Zinc helps shed old skin and promotes new-cell growth, which gives you that youthful luminescence. Damage to your skin creates inflammation, which in turn causes your skin to age at a faster rate. Omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for reducing inflammation associated with redness. The fatty acids also promote healthy circulation. Healthy circulation is crucial to healthy skin. Anti-aging expert Nicholas Perricone, MD, author of The Wrinkle Cure, has advocated a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3s for better skin.
- Citrus and other vitamin C-rich fruit. You can absorb vitamin C from oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, and Acerola cherries. (One Acerola cherry feeds 100 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement.) Vitamin C is in many of your over-the-counter skincare products because it aids in the production of collagen. Collagen is that priceless protein that holds your skin in place. As one gets older (usually around 35 years and on) the skin starts the "sagging" process due to the breakdown of collagen.
- Raw or sprouted seeds and nuts. Foods high in vitamin E offer the benefit of antioxidants. They protect your complexion from skin-aging free radicals and sun damage. Vitamin E also helps lock in moisture to protect your skin from looking dry and aged. Seeds and nuts are very high in vitamin E, specifically sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, and dry roasted peanuts.
- Cottage cheese. You have heard that dairy is beneficial to your bones, but did you know that this dairy product is actually good for your skin? Cottage cheese contains high levels of selenium—an essential mineral that works like vitamin E as an antioxidant. It also protects against skin cancer.
- Dark chocolate. This yummy treat contains high counts of antioxidants. It can help increase blood flow to your skin and helps reduce the roughness of skin, while keeping you safe from sun damage. You don't have to feel guilty when you run to the candy aisle to grab a bar of dark chocolate. When eaten in moderation, this is a "guilty pleasure" that actually is good for you. So break off a couple squares every once in a while for a healthy glow and soft skin.
- Avocado. This green, smooth, and creamy fruit contains B-complex vitamins and B3 vitamins (Niacin). These vitamins have anti-inflammatory qualities and help relieve irritated, red, blotchy skin. Avocados are also a great source of vitamin E.
These foods don't only need to be ingested to help create healthy skin. You can also apply many of them to the face by making some fun homemade food facial mask. Face masks are a great way to pamper yourself while cleaning your pores and soothing dry irritated skin. Get in the kitchen, whip up a facial concoction, dim the lights, and you have yourself an at-home spa treatment for a fraction of the cost. Here are a few simple facial masks for you to try out.
- Mash one whole avocado.
- Add 1 tsp. flaxseed oil and 1 tsp. honey.
- Mix together until smooth and creamy.
- Apply to face and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Rinse clean with warm water.
This helps to sooth and heal irritated skin due to sun exposure.
Oatmeal/Egg White Mask:
- You'll need: 3 to 4 egg whites and 1/3 cup oatmeal.
- Mix ingredients together.
- Apply and rub mixture onto skin. Oatmeal will exfoliate the skin. Allow for mixture to sit for 5 minutes and let egg whites dry.
- Rinse clean with warm water.
This exfoliates and removes dead skin and blemishes, leaving skin feeling soft and smooth.
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- Cut a cucumber into thick slices and place in a blender. Set aside 2 thin slices of cucumber for the eyes.
- Throw 3 mint or parsley leaves into the blender. Puree to a paste.
- Mix the cucumber puree with the yogurt in the bowl.
- Cover your face with the cucumber mask. Place thin slices of cucumber on the eyes and let sit on the skin for 15 minutes.
- Rinse clean with warm water.
This purifies and cleanses the skin, leaving the face feeling cool and smooth.
So hop in the car and head to the grocery store. Nourish yourself inside and out. Next time you hear, "WOW . . . you haven't changed a bit since high school," you know they are talking about your beautiful, youthful glow and not a face stained with break outs.
- Interview with Nicholas Perricone, MD, author of The Wrinkle Cure http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=54286
- American Skin Association http://www.americanskin.org/research/
- The Journal of the American Medical Association; Effect of Chocolate on Acne Vulgaris. (date accessed: March 1, 2010)
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