When I shared a peek into my skincare routine and my favourite natural beauty products I may have failed to mention something kind of important.
Clear, glowing skin has to do with a lot more than face wash or a serum or anything else that you can put on your face and body. Given that I’m a nutritionist I’m sure you can guess where this is going.
Your diet is reflected in your skin’s health and appearance.
Let’s be clear, eating a chocolate bar or a bag of chips probably won’t cause you to immediately break out. But a poor diet will, overtime, contribute to a variety of health issues like hormonal imbalances, digestive problems, food sensitivities or an overgrowth of yeast or other “bad” bacteria — all of which can affect your skin. Acne, eczema or any other skin issue is just a symptom that something else is going on in your body.
Improving your skin begins with improving your diet.
That means getting rid of the usual suspects: processed/fast/artificial/junk food, refined sugar, dairy – in my own personal experience and working with clients dairy is almost always a culprit when it comes to your skin, and any other foods you might be sensitive to.
As you add more whole, unprocessed foods into your diet there are a few specific things to focus on that will help to nourish your skin and make you glow from the inside out:
This one should come as no surprise given that every skincare ad and magazine feature ever published has touted the importance of hydration for your skin. If you’re not drinking enough water don’t waste your money on expensive skin care products because they won’t do shit if you’re dehydrated.
Start the morning with a big glass of water and keep sipping throughout the day. Foods with high water content like cucumbers, celery, lettuce and watermelon will also help keep you hydrated.
Eat the Rainbow
Antioxidant vitamins — vitamins A, C, E and K — are great for your skin as they help to produce collagen and elastin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and protect against free radicals. Again this is probably no surprise because skincare companies tell you this all the time. But what they don’t tell you that vitamins applied topically aren’t the same as the vitamins you’ll get from your food. Like hydration, something like retinol – a derivative of vitamin A – applied externally is only going to do some much if you’re body is nutrient deficient.
Eating a wide variety of colourful fruits and vegetables at every meal, every day will ensure you’re getting a variety of these important skin-loving vitamins, along with minerals, fiber, protein, bioflavonoids and all the other miracles that nutrition science hasn’t even discovered yet. Fill your plate with a backdrop of GREEN and then make your meal as colourful as you can.
Those vitamins we just talked about? Many of them are are fat soluble which means that your body can’t absorb them and put them to work making you glow if they weren’t accompanied by a bit of fat. Fat is also an important macronutrient that your body needs to function. When it comes to skin health in particular, fat helps to keep your skin hydrated, helps plump up those skin cells which will keep you looking youthful and help prevent damage from free radicals which will lead to premature aging.
Get your healthy fat from nuts and seeds, including chia, hemp and flax seeds; butter or ghee; coconut oil; olive oil, avocados and eggs.
Probiotic Fermented Foods
Your digestion has a major role to play in your skin’s health. If your body can’t get the waste out through the, ahem, back door, then it will call on your skin to pick up some of the slack. Fermented foods contain the good bacteria your body needs to maintain a healthy gut. When our gut is healthy our skin glows.
Include a source of probiotic fermented foods if not at every meal than at least every day. Try kombucha, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, non-dairy kefir and yogurt, lacto-fermented vegetables… The list of fermented foods is long so try lots of different kinds to find what you like.
Probiotic supplements are also helpful. I like to buy a powdered variety and add a scoop or two into my smoothies.
The food that we eat has a profound effect on our health, and our skin is no exception. Eating a diet based on whole, unprocessed foods will not only make you feel good but look good too!