Nutrition and Your Skin
Have you ever looked at your skin and cringed on how it looks? Perhaps you’ve placed all hopes on the fact that the latest skincare product to hit the market, is all the magic cream you need to revive your skin. What if I was to tell you that first and foremost, skincare starts with what you put into your mouth? Would you agree?
Well, when it comes to skincare, this statement sums up skincare as being much more than just applying the most expensive cream you can lay your hands on. Skincare is deep because we eat skincare as much as we apply skincare products.
An unhealthy food consumed, will do much more than add weight to your body, it can also affect the appearance of the skin and upset the digestive system. One of the obvious places it usually starts to show is on the face. Other tell-tale signs are enlarged pores, puffy and red cheeks, swollen eyelids, thinning of the skin and many more.
Some of the culprits contributing to people having bad skin have been grouped into 5 categories - salt, sugar, alcohol, milk and gluten.
Whilst salt has been known to help deal with body aches in the form of bath salt, too much salt in your diet can cause you to have puffy eyes. This is because the skin around the eyes is thin and therefore retains water. The retention around the eyes will cause the skin to swell up.
You can’t eliminate sugar from your diet totally. However, you can decide the type of sugar that passes through your mouth. This can be done by cutting down on foods such as cake and processed food. Sugar in general can be problematic for your skin. Too much refined sugar in your diet can cause an increase in acne and speed up the process of ageing. It disrupts the bacteria in your guts causing you to have pimples. It can also cause the skin to become saggy as well as having a dull looking complexion. The face can appear washed-out due to high level of insulin in the body because of an increase in sugar intake.
A high amount of insulin in the body can cause thinning or sparse brows. It’s because the adrenal gland which plays a part in brow growth is put under pressure.
Any type of wine consumed can kick off the ageing process because the skin has become dehydrated. Wine drinkers also suffer from redness of the skin, enlarged pores, fine lines, wrinkles under the eyes, droopy eyelids and much more. It is because the protein collagen that is key in keeping the skin elastic has become damaged. There’s also the issue of flushed cheeks which happens because the enzymes that the body uses to fight inflammation has slowed down.
The surge in popularity for dairy free products (such as almond milk, cashew nut milk or coconut milk) shows that people are now aware of the side effects dairy milk can have on the skin. Not everyone is allergic to cow’s milk but, those who are, should be aware of other available options. There’s no denying that milk is essential for getting the right amount of calcium intake. However, there’s more on the impact of cow’s milk on the skin than meets the eye and some of the effects can be skin deep.
Consuming cow’s milk can lead to high levels of inflammation, skin breakdown, ageing and acne. These are due to the hormones and insulin growth factors both present in cow milk. Also, as we age, the body loses the ability to digest enzymes that allows for lactose to be digested properly. Thus, this could trigger under-eye bags and dark circles on the face.
Gluten is the combination of two types of protein (Gliadin and Glutenin). These are present in cereal grains such as spelt, wheat, barley and rye. They are responsible for the elastic dough texture.
The presence of gluten in your diet can cause inflammation, leaving the skin to appear bloated or swollen. Reaction to gluten can affect the appearance of the skin causing age spots, dark patches or spots around the skin. It can also lead to a poor immune system. This in turn can affect the reproductive balance causing hormonal pimples particularly around the chin area.
9 Steps to Better Looking Skin
1. Drinking lots of water as it helps to prevent dehydration.
2. Take at least 2 to 4 cups of green tea (if you can stand the taste) per day. It has a high content of flavonoid which is very good for the skin.
3. Eating food high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish, sardine, flaxseed and walnuts can help to protect the skin from sun damage. Apart from being anti-inflammatory, they can also help in the reduction of acne and facial redness.
4. Instead of having refined carbohydrates, go for whole grain such as whole wheat pasta, quinoa or bulgur.
5. Vitamin C and Vitamin E synergy - these vitamins work well separately but work better when combined, simply because they provide a complementary role in the overall skin health. Together they can help to prevent sun damage and maintain healthy collagen - an essential protein for skin strength.
Having the right amount of vitamin C in your diet can help with your skins appearance. High vitamin C food includes bell pepper (in red, green and yellow), lemon, orange and broccoli. Excellent sources of food rich in vitamin E are wheat germ, avocado, nuts and seeds.
6. Beta-Carotene - this red-orange pigment is commonly found in plants and fruits. It’s also an antioxidant. Taking the right amount can help in the growth and repair of the skin. Food rich in beta-carotene are carrot, sweet potato, red pepper, spinach, kale, melon, apricot and mango.
7. Take primrose oil in the evenings, as it is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
8. Substitute white wine for red wine. This is because red wine contains two substances that can prevent ageing, they are grape seed extract and resveratrol. Alternatively try gluten free spirits such as rum, tequila or potato vodka. Use the 80/20 rule and abstain from wine 80% of the time and only consume little amount of wine 20% of the time.
9. Switch to a gluten free diet and consume more fibre.
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