Your skin reacts to EVERYTHING you eat. Love your cereal and milk in the morning? The sugar breaks down collagen and the milk can break you out. Wine and pasta for dinner? The next morning you may wake up redder and more swollen than usual. It starts in your gut and your skin is just an example of how important your food is.
FILL YOUR PLATE WITH…
Why? Foods with “healthy fats” (aka omega 3 fatty acids)-such as avocados, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, and wild salmon are anti-inflammatory. These foods help prevent fine lines and halt the breakdown of collagen, a skin-firming protein.
How much should I try a week? Two servings of fish a week (salmon is one of the best sources) is a great way to incorporate omega-3s into your diet. If you’re not huge seafood fan, healthy snacks such as walnuts can also provide omega-3s.
Why? Vitamins A and C in particular counter skin damaging free radicals in your body but that’s not all. Vitamin A ( in butternut squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes) can help reduce inflammation and encourage cell turnover, thereby reducing your risk of breakouts.
How much should I eat? Depending on your age and physical condition (smokers, may require more antioxidants than nonsmokers), the amount varies. Consider slicing kiwi into yogurt for breakfast: one whole fruit delivers 100 percent of most peoples daily value of vitamin C. As for vitamin A, try half a cup of cantaloupe a day.
Why? Broccoli, Brussels spouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale contain a phytonutrient called sulforaphane, which can stimulate liver detoxification of hormones. This process helps eliminate excess storage of hormone estrogen, which may lead to blemishes.
How much should I eat? Aim for a salad the size of two open hands containing the aforementioned veggies everyday. If the monotony wears on you, steam them, blend them, and toss them into a smoothie; the ground greenery will add thickness if not flavor.
Why? Eating lean meat from grass-fed animals, organic chicken, and wild fish helps stabilize blood sugar, combating insulin spikes that jump-start inflammation. The more inflammation in your body, the more prone you’ll be to acne and collagen loss.
How much should I eat? Though the amount of lean protein your body needs varies based on your weight, health goals, and physical condition, Doctors recommend getting 25 to 30 percent of your daily calories from protein. You can incorporate protein shakes, but try not to offset the good you’re doing with a sugary or too-rich dairy base.
PASS ON SERVINGS OF…
Why? A spike in blood sugar can trigger an inflammatory response. The worst offenders: high-sugar candy, juices, and soda. Extra sugar in your bloodstream can degrade proteins like skin-firming collagen and keratin in a process called glycation. Insulin levels can also stimulate the production of androgens, hormones that may cause acne flare-ups.
How do I do it? A no sugar diet is the best.
How can I cheat? Kill your sweet tooth with fresh fruit. If you’re going to eat a cookie, make it a small one with high quality ingredients(e.g., raw butter and antioxidant-rich dark chocolate). When you can’t resist the slice of birthday cake, make sure you increase your daily intake of those “good fats,” which can stabilize the influx of sugar and quell further cravings. Other good sweets include almond butter and dark chocolate.
Why? Most contain man-made fats and oils like canola and soybean, which can trigger inflammation. They’re also often high in sodium, which makes the body retain water and cause your skin to look puffy.
How do I do it? NO processed foods! If it’s in a box or a bag don’t eat it. Try cooking with coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil.
How can I cheat? Try dried fruit as a snack or nuts; roasted chickpeas.
Why? In a word, pimples. Many dairy products most notably milk (even organic), contain a hormone that increases insulin-like growth factor. This causes sebum
How do I do it? Skip dairy altogether. Try almond milk for a change.
How can I cheat? Get a taste by treating dairy as a condiment (sprinkle some parmesan over vegetables) rather than as a meal.
Why? Sadly, vino is basically fermented sugar. Wine makes lines on the face more pronounced, eyelids droop, and skin is dehydrated.
How do I do it? Aim for one glass over the weekends or switch to a less sugary drink such as tequila or gluten free vodka.
How can I cheat? Try drinking lightly on the weekends and give your skin a break during the week.
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