Skin-supportive nutrients include vitamins A, E, C, omega-3s, protein and iron are all readily accessible through a balanced diet. Just like there are foods that create beautiful skin, there are many that cause it to become red, inflamed, blotchy, dry and wrinkled, not to mention subject to frequent breakouts. Along with drinking plenty of water, try adjusting your diet by limiting your intake of these foods for optimal skin health. And, we’ve supplied healthy, skin-supporting recipes as nourishing options, so you won’t miss out on a thing while you’re supporting that brilliant glow.
Artificial sweeteners, found in low-calorie beverages and packaged foods, can irritate the body, leading to inflammation and blotchy, red, uncomfortable skin. Go for natural, minimally processed sugars, like maple syrup, instead.
Acting the same as sugar in the body, refined carbohydrates spike blood sugar, making your body work overtime to bring it down to normal. Introduce whole grains, like gluten-free buckwheat, into your meal rotation — these foods have the nutrients your skin craves.
Masquerading as a “health food” for decades, it’s time to bust packaged cereal. Sweet cereals can send your blood sugar soaring, which in turn can lead to free radical damage to the skin, causing premature aging and wrinkles. If you can’t start your morning without a bowl of crunchy grains, consider making your own granola, pairing it with high-protein plain yogurt and fresh fruit — your skin will thank you.
Full of salt, sugar and nitrates, there’s no surprise that processed meat is a truly unhealthy food, especially when it comes to skin health. Potentially causing dehydration, loss of elasticity and perpetuating breakouts, skipping the deli counter is key. Instead, make your own “sandwich meat” by roasting up a natural turkey breast à la Ina Garten on Sunday to enjoy throughout the week. (Bonus: It’s more economical!)
Margarine is full of unpronounceable ingredients and devoid of the healthy fats that work to soothe and hydrate skin. When you see margarine, look the other way and pick up a tub of coconut oil instead. Coconut oil works well in baked goods and is dairy-free, making this an easy swap for those with lactose intolerance.
Processed Salt Snacks
Foods high in processed salt, like chips and crackers, dehydrate your skin, promoting premature wrinkling. These foods also tend to lack nutrition, which aren’t doing you or your complexion any favours. Almonds are a skin superfood, with vitamin E and healthy fats, easily standing in for those crunchy-salty convenience treats.
Regular cow’s milk can be a healthy option for some, but a nearly impossible-to-digest drink for others. A study has also linked the consumption of skim milk to acne breakouts. Try eliminating processed dairy from your diet (read: that sweetened latte or ice cream), and see if your skin approves. In the meantime, there are plenty of delicious non-dairy milk options for just about every use.
Drinking sugary sodas can cause skin to age faster, leading to dehydration, oxidative damage and loss of collagen. Nourish your skin with fizzy kombucha instead, a fermented drink rich in probiotics for a clear, glowing complexion.
These are the foods you want to eat more of for healthy skin, but produce can sometimes come with baggage. Fruits and vegetables, like peaches, strawberries and kale, can come heavily sprayed with pesticides. Washing does get a lot of this off, but you could still be ingesting tiny doses of the chemicals with each bite. Choose low-spray fruits and vegetables, which have less of those unwanted skin-damaging chemicals, and be sure to wash your produce thoroughly.
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