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December 17, 2017

This is the second in our seven blog series on tips to get healthier skin.  Our last blog focused on the need for sleep.  This one focuses on our diet.

Our bodies are machines, we process oxygen, food, and water and turn those into the stuff of life like energy, cell growth and regeneration, and of course, waste products. Of these three inputs, we have the most control over our diets (water and air quality can be tampered with, but short of moving, these can only be adjusted at the margin).  It is here, in our diet, that we can make a real difference in our skin with just a few minor tweaks.  The first tip, and probably the most obvious one – drink water, lots of it.  Think of water as a flushing agent.  It helps to draw toxins out of your body through both urine and sweat and the more of it you take in (up to a point of course) the more useful it can be in carrying out your body’s waste.  In addition to water though, there are several foods to avoid and others that you probably aren’t getting enough of.

 

The avoid list is a long one, but for simplicity sake, we will take a look at some of the leading offenders.  These are the guys that lead to redness, rashes, irritation, and acne among other great things. 

  • Shellfish are near the top of this list.  Lobster, shrimp and other shellfish, while delicious, often contain relatively high amounts of iodine.  In addition to shellfish sometimes resulting in rashes due to an allergic reaction, the iodine can also cause and exacerbate acne and clog pores. 
  • Dairy is another culprit, and when ingested in quantities higher than your body can tolerate, results in cystic blemishes.  These hard, painful lumps usually appear near the jawline and can stay with you for weeks. 
  • The third food you should avoid is sugar since it leads to acne, redness, and inflammation. 
  • Finally, stay away from processed foods like soda, white bread, and processed flours and sugars.  These ingredients result in a blood sugar spike that then stimulates your body into the overproduction of oil.  This oil boom can quickly result in clogged pores and tired skin.

While the foods in the picture above should be avoided do not think of these as absolutes - a shrimp scampi once in a while won't kill you - but if you have persistent skin issues and down sugar like a mouse at a cake factory, then perhaps it's time to rethink things.

 

It’s not all bad news though; there are still plenty of things we can eat to help ward off irritated or tired skin. 

  • Green tea, for example, is great for skin (especially cold or iced).  The anti-inflammatory properties of the beverage help to stave off redness and irritation while the epigallocatechin gellate (EGCG) helps to mitigate the destruction of collagen.  Collagen helps to keep skin flexible and robust and we want to keep as much of it around as possible. 
  • Sardines and mackerel are excellent for your skin supplying it with Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B-12 respectively.  These vitamins and minerals help to keep your skin elastic and reduce splotchiness and uneven skin tone. 
  • Yellow and orange vegetables like yellow peppers and carrots are also ‘must eat’ foods.  They are chock full of antioxidants and the carotenoids give your skin a healthy and attractive yellow glow. 
  • Finally, spice it up.  Herbs and spices like rosemary, turmeric powder, and thyme are ultra-rich in anti-oxidants which help to negate those pesky free radicals before they can age us.

Just like the 'bad foods' - this is by no means us telling you to eat JUST these four foods.  A healthy diet is balanced and as long as you skew toward the 'better' stuff like those ingredients in the picture above, you'll be fine.  Keep in mind that this list isn't exactly exhaustive but it does contain many of the more potent foods that can either help or hinder your skins health and glow.


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