How to eat for healthy skin
Recently Team Fearless held a 6 week challenge for participants to reach certain nutrition and fitness goals. We hosted weekly calls on various topics and I chose to speak about "Eating for Healthy Skin".
I chose this topic because beautiful and healthy skin is something I have always wanted to achieve. I was born with extremely sensitive skin. This means that I had to be careful with certain products to prevent over drying, redness, break outs, or worse.
Like most women I became obsessed with skin care products and tried everything under the sun from very expensive department store brands, to all organic and natural brands, to celebrity lines and even the best at your local drug store. Yet nothing seemed to work 100%.
It wasn't until I changed my diet and lifestyle that I realized that what you put into your body is as important as the skin products you are using! This may seem obvious to you, but for me I started to actually understand how much your diet contributes to the health and beauty of your skin!
And men this post is not just for the ladies! I know you are just as concerned with fine lines, and wrinkles! I mean if you are anything like my husband you probably spend more time in the bathroom grooming than your lady. So hear me out and keep reading!
What I learned as I was training to be a health coach is that antioxidants are key! Your system needs the right balance of antioxidants and oxidants to reduce the damage on the cells in your body which can ultimately impact your inner and outer health.
To illustrate what I mean, I will use the example of cutting an apple. When you cut an apple and leave it alone for several minutes before eating it you will most likely notice the apple discoloring into a brownish color. That is because the apple is no longer protected by the skin/flesh and as such is exposed to oxygen in the air. This reacts to the natural sugars in the fruit which is called oxidation (okay science class is over now).
This is the same thing that happens to our skin. We take in a lot of oxygen all day long (breathing, exercising, eating, etc.). This is natural and supports our metabolism. However you need to be sure to get enough antioxidants to support healthy cells and skin.
So here is a short list of foods you should be eating daily in order to maintain the right levels of antioxidants:
- At least a handful of fruits, and cruciferous vegetables. Examples include apples, blueberries, broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, or cauliflower. These staples are an excellent source of phytonutrients which can repair damage in your body, such as the liver.
- Vitamin A and C which helps reduce inflammation and encourages cell turnover. Going back to the apple example, if you squeeze lemon juice over the apple after you cut it, it will prevent the apple from turning brown! Same with our skin/bodies! Foods such as butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, kiwi, or cantaloupe are excellent sources. Did you know that one kiwi has 100% of your vitamin C daily needs?
- Omega 3's from things like avocado, chia or flax seeds, walnuts or wild salmon. These help increase collagen levels which firms the skin!
- Lean protein which can help stabilize your blood sugar, combat insulin spikes, decrease inflammation and increase collagen. The amount you need depends on your body type, specifically your height and weight.
- Water because staying hydrated keeps good nutrients in and bad waste out!
Equally important, is a list of thing you should avoid or drastically reduce in your diet to maintain healthy skin:
- Sugars which are natural triggers of inflammation
- Processed foods which can retain water, trigger inflammation and cause skin to look puffy
- Dairy as it produces too much sebum in your body which can lead to acne
- Wine since it can kill good bacteria in your gut allowing the bad kind to multiply which can turn out the lights on your complexion and make your skin look dehydrated.
Hope you enjoyed some tips on how to eat for beautiful skin. Feel free to contact me if you want to talk more about this and share your ideas!