More Than Skin Deep
There is no secret to great looking skin—it’s simply a matter of what you eat. Eating certain foods, as well as eliminating certain other foods from our diet, affects how our skin looks and feels. Our skin is the largest organ in our body, so it would make sense that it can be affected, either positively or negatively, by the food we eat. We know that what we eat affects all facets of our well being. It determines how we feel and how we look. The foods that you ingest will determine whether you have dull looking skin or a healthy skin glow.
Eating for good health and beauty can be a delicious experience. I advocate a diet rich in plants and grains, but that doesn’t mean limiting yourself to steamed vegetables and plain brown rice. I love food that is appealing and appetizing and appreciate a meal that is cooked with the best locally grown organic ingredients. Plants and beans nourish our skin and help us to look and feel radiant.
When considering my skincare, I think about foods that are high in omega-3 oils and B vitamins. The B family of vitamins, especially biotin, is responsible for forming the basis of skin, hair and nail cells. Avocados, for example, are filled with essential oils and B complex vitamins. Add a few slices to your salad or in a sandwich as a healthy alternative to mayonnaise.
The antioxidants in vitamin C and E can protect our skin from sun damage. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and plums are known for their antioxidants. Other foods with high antioxidants are black, red, and pinto beans, prunes, and pecans. Foods that contain vitamin C are dark leafy greens, broccoli, lemons, oranges, and grapefruits. They enhance the resistance and firms the skin. Did you know that lemon zest can help relax your liver and get rid of those frown lines between your eyes?
Vitamin A, found in fruits and vegetables, maintains and repairs skin tissue. The continued health of our skin depends on our consumption of this vitamin. Vitamin A is found in green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, and broccoli. Luscious mangoes and cantaloupes contain loads of vitamin A.
A study, “Skin Wrinkling: Can Food Make a Difference?,” published in the February 2001 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, determined which Swedish subjects aged 70 and older had the least skin wrinkling. This study concludes “that subjects with a higher intake of vegetables, olive oil, and monounsaturated fat and legumes, but a lower intake of milk/dairy products, butter, margarine and sugar products had less skin wrinkling.” Healthy Swedes have great skin!
There are certain foods that do not help us achieve beautiful and radiant skin. Those are generally the foods that I stay away from. In Christina Pirello’s book Glow, she advocates avoiding red meat, dairy products, eggs, poultry, and refined sugars and flour. Just say “no” to saturated fats, sugars, and chemicals in your food.
Essential fatty acids, like those found in flaxseeds, aid in unclogging pores. Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fat. I add them to my morning cereal or just eat them as a snack. I find my essential fatty acids in salmon, walnuts, and canola oil. Don’t forget to drink water to make sure your skin is adequately hydrated. There remains a controversy about how much water we should drink each day. Just remember if you are thirsty, then you have waited too long to hydrate.
Our society has become obsessed with looking good—after all, there is nothing wrong with striving to look our best. But, let us try to achieve the best results for great looking skin without botox, chemical peels, collagen injections, or laser treatments. Once you begin to feed yourself with amazing plant based foods, you will look as beautiful as the food you eat.
Try this recipe for relieving tired eyes from Christina Pirello:
1 Tablespoon dried chamomile
1 cup boiling water
“Place the chamomile in a glass bowl and add the boiling water. Allow to steep at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Strain out chamomile and discard. Soak two fresh cotton balls and place over closed eyes. Relax with eye packs in place for 10 minutes. The scent and nature of the herb will do the trick to refresh your tired eyes. For morning puffiness, try these same eye packs, but chill the brewed chamomile overnight. Soak fresh cotton balls in the cold brew and apply to your puffy eyes. Leave on for 10 minutes and voila!”
There are certain skin conditions that can worsen by eating certain foods, so be sure to consult your dermatologist about your concerns.