We’ve all heard the adage, “you are what you eat”. It can also be said, “you look like what you eat.” Skin is the largest organ in your body, and part of your respiratory, excretory, endocrine and integumentary systems. It has many jobs to do and a lot to coordinate! It’s your first line of defense against the outside world. It literally keeps “you” (the thing living on the inside) alive. So it makes sense that if the fuel we feed this huge organ is sub-par, so will its looks be. It’s all about balance. Here are some basics to remember when you are feeding your skin.
- Get less sugar. Many skin conditions will be made worse by the inflammation that results from a diet high in refined carbohydrates and simple sugars. It’s called glycation. So for this month, let’s try just cutting out as many refined carbohydrates as possible.
- Get an oil change. While fats have been demonized in our minds, the fact remains that we need good fats for so many functions in the body. Soft, flexible skin with healthy barrier function is one of them!
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The problem is we tend to consume a lot of the wrong kind. Try to eliminate hydrogenated oils of all kinds and high concentrations of saturated animal fats. Look for plant-based unsaturated fats and those with high concentrations of omega-3 oils. Fish oils, flaxseed, olive and safflower are good choices. These not only lubricate skin, but also can help to reduce the inflammation associated with acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.
- Get some color – on your plate that is. The more color the better. Brightly colored fruits, dark leafy greens and this time of year, all the wonderful fruits in the curcubita family (squashes, pumpkins or gourds) that are loaded with vitamin A, beta-carotene and enzymes, which are fantastic for skin and general health! Have fun with this one – make sure there’s something vibrant on your plate at every meal.
- Get more fiber. Yep, you heard it; fiber is good for your skin. Remember, your skin is part of your excretory system, so if you’re not regular, you can bet that your body is going to try to use other routes of elimination more heavily. Hence the breakouts, eruptions and other “things” that appear. Add whole grains, beans, legumes and seeds (we love hemp and chia for their proteins, fiber and high omega-3 content).
- Get more water. Douse, souse, soak and saturate. This one is simple. When your body is properly hydrated it just functions better and when the skin is well hydrated it adds volume. The importance of volume can’t be underestimated in the appearance of healthy beautiful skin. After all (I have been saying this for years), what looks better: the raisin or the grape?
When we make it a goal to feed ourselves well rather than just grazing at random, we not only feel better, our skin becomes a beautiful reflection of our efforts.