We’ve all heard it before, “You are what you eat”. Growing up (and when you don’t want to hear it), this saying can become old and tired. It can be easy to write it off as a silly old saying that has no actual meaning. In more than one way, this saying actually couldn’t be more true.
Your diet and what you let enter your body on a day to day basis can actually have a remarkable effect on your health and wellbeing. This is especially true for your skin. Almost all skin conditions and skin-related issues can be affected to some extent by what you let your body take in.
In this guide to diet-related skin health, we are going to analyze the science behind skin and how diet has been recognized to affect it.
So, Does Diet Affect Skin Health?
In short, yes it does. Your skin is the largest and one of the most important organs in your body. It is the glue that holds all your parts together on the outside. Whatever you eat will be broken down in your body, and a substantial amount of these nutrients will go to keeping your skin nourished and up to scratch.
This means that the quality of the food that you ingest will inevitably affect the quality and maintenance of your skin directly. If your diet consists of foods low in nutrients and vitamins, your skin will be given low-quality and also a low-quantity amount of nutrients to work with when it comes to skin repair and regrowth; as well as daily maintenance.
Okay, So What is a Healthy Diet for Skin Then?
It’s all well and good knowing that your diet affects your skin, but now you need to understand what to eat and what not to eat to ensure that all is well underneath the surface of your skin. Clear skin is comprised of healthy and elastic (as well as vibrant) skin cells.
Skin cells that are this optimal will require a bodily intake which is high in nutrients and healthy bits for the body to then convert and distribute to all of your body, including your skin. Its fairly simple to understand really.
If your diet is full of low-nutrient foods which you know are not good for you in large quantities, your skin will suffer. However, if you fill your body with fruits, vegetables, and other foods which are nutrient rich. In this guide, we will go through what foods are good for your skin and what nutrients and minerals which will act fast to remove dark spots on your face.
The food to steer away from is your overly processed food groups. A good rule of thumb to go by is that the more processed it is, the less quality nutrients are in it, and the worse it will be for your skin.
What’s The Link Between Your Diet And Hormonal Skin Issues?
This is an interesting one. Many people for a long time believed that there was simply nothing that could be done to reduce hormonal skin problems such as acne and dark spots. However, foods such as milk, coffee, soy, and salt have been proven to alter your hormonal balance and negatively affect your skin quality if consumed in large quantities.
In some people’s cases, even just eating one salty and greasy takeaway meal can result in a huge dip in their skin quality. So the answer really is complicated. The benefits of a healthy diet and its effects on skin quality cannot be denied, but underlying genetic or health conditions may reduce the extent to which they change the problem.
Is Diet Alone Enough For Good Skin?
The effect of diet on skin health and overall bodily health as a whole is very clear and plain to be seen. However, for some people, diet may not be enough. Personally, I would recommend an adjustment in diet to be tried before anything else. It is the most natural and least invasive or processed way to get good skin.
Some people it may not work for completely though, and that is where prescribed or topical medication or treatments can be necessary. I would always recommend giving diet a go in trying to fix many superficial health problems such as bad skin, weight gain, or other aesthetic issues. Here are ten superfoods which can be used in your diet change to help your skin out.
Kale has become a well-known and popular superfood for many millennials and yummy mummies, simply because it stands out as nutrient rich and full of good things for your body. Kale is exceptionally high in fiber and is low-calorie. It is also full of:
- Vitamins A, B6, C, and K
- Manganese & Calcium
- Potassium & Magnesium
All of these antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals all work together as one machine to help reduce hyperpigmentation and even out a person’s skin tone. It also contains Vitamin C which encourages collagen formation causing acne scars to be repaired quicker.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes contain a Vitamin A derivative called Retinol; which is well known for its ability to fight off acne and wrinkles simultaneously. Although on a shelf in a shop you can find thousands of creams which offer retinol affects, there is no better way to get the benefits than the natural way; just including fruits and vegetables rich in it in your diet!
It is better than going the processed route, trust me. Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, which will be converted into Vitamin A after it enters your body and before it enters your bloodstream. Vitamin A will act almost like a skin ‘barrier’ and fight against discoloration of your skin, inflammation underneath your skin; as well as clogged pores.
3. Lemons (And Citrus as a Whole)
Citrus is great for you on all fronts. Lemon juice specifically works well as an ‘astringent’ naturally, which works to tighten skin and blur blemishes which may appear. It is a much better way to do so than using processed products. Including the peel of a lemon in your diet as well as squeezing it over a salad will allow you to reap the full benefits of it as a fruit. Not eating the peel is similar to not eating the skin with a piece of salmon, for example (more on that later).
Lemon also assists with:
- An increase of collagen production
- Stopping free radicals
- The fixture and lightening of acne scars
These fantastically restive fruit contain lots of healthy bits. They are chock full of enzymes, zine, and acids which (once consumed) can help the body soften your skin and regulate bodily PH balance. That’s why pumpkin enzymes are so often found in curates skin products. Zinc itself helps to reduce overload of oil in the skin, and both fiber and zinc will have internal bodily benefits too.
5. All Types of Berries
All types of berries from the feeble blueberry all the way to massive strawberries have fantastic health benefits. Do not be tricked by their smaller sizes, they are amazingly beneficial for your health. These foods are chock full of Vitamin C and many antioxidants.
Vitamin C is known for being able to fight valiantly against patchy and blotchy skin. And similarly, antioxidants are known to attack and remove those dark spots we keep talking about! Regularly eating berries provide a great wall of defence against dark spots and acne as a whole.
Berries have other health benefits:
- stimulated brain activity and brain health
- reduction in cholesterol levels
- regulation of blood sugar levels
- reduction in a person’s risk for heart disease & type 2 diabetes
- consistent bowel movements and regulation of them
A lot of people don’t know what a legume is, so don’t actually know what to consume. Chickpeas, kidney beans, peanuts, and lentils are all legumes which are low-glycemic. This means they are good at regulating blood sugar levels and reducing the amount of acne flare-up in a person’s body. The opposite to these health foods are high-glycemic foods such as chocolate and white bread, which can be known to cause diabetes, heart attack instances, and strokes. But, these foods can also have an effect on your skin.
This exotic fruit may seem unnecessary, but actually does your body a lot of good if you give it a little bit of attention. The digestive enzyme, ‘papain’ within papaya is a powerful little enzyme. On the outside of your skin, it has the potential to:
- Exfoliate & remove dead skin cells
- Free up & unclog your pores
- Fade & heal previous acne scars
- Re-hydrate skin
- Stop breakouts happening in the future
For the inside of your body other than your skin, papaya does many other things for you. It contains a vast amount of vitamins and minerals which not only make your skin more elastic; they also help get rid of apparent wrinkles and fine lines on your skin.
Other health benefits of papaya:
- Vitamins A, C and K
- All Vitamin B’s & Folate
- Potassium & Magnesium
Quinoa’s benefits for your skin is a little bit more on the personal side. The major health benefit of quinoa is that it contains a healthy lump of fiber. Fiber is known for reducing constipation and increasing healthy bowel movements in a person’s body. If you are excreting normally, you will be regularly eliminating toxic elements from your body. This removal of toxins will end up giving you clearer skin and reducing dark spots caused by gunk build up in your body.
Fish has long been known for its upsides and health benefits, especially when it comes to omega-3s and vitamins. All types of fish are known for these health benefits, but salmon itself has a wide-ranging array of other upsides. Salmon’s health benefits are most optimized when the skin is kept on, as its skin contains the vast majority of its healthy bits.
Omega 3’s in their purest form protect a person’s skin from sun damage from UV rays; meaning that cancer risk and brown spots brought on from sun exposure are both simultaneously reduced with consumption of salmon. Fatty acids are good for your skin whatever way you get them, so make sure you get your Omega 3’s in.
Salmon also contains the following nutrients and vitamins:
- Antioxidants & Protein
- Vitamin B’s & Potassium
The thought that dull-colored fruits don’t help you out is a myth. Despite their dull appearance, cauliflowers provide an amino acid called ‘histidine’, which stops harmful sun UV rays from causing dark spots to become worse.
Cauliflower (in its rawest form), contains these nutrients:
- Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K
- Folate and Phosphorus
There is never going to be any harm in adding more nutritious foods to your diet. The incorporation of fruits and vegetables into your diet is always going to be good for your health as a whole. One of the keys to reducing acne is to consume food that do three things.
- Naturally reduce the inflammation in your body
- Boosting of collagen formation in your skin
- Act as an environmental toxin block
Food processing in your body is simple. Everything you put into your body gets taken in and broken down, and then transported everywhere in your body by way of your blood passages. Because this is a process, it is not going to change your skin quality overnight to eat a few foods that are better for your health.
Eating a healthy meal once is not going to change the entirety of your skin health. For these foods to do their thing, you need to be consistent with what you consume, how often you consume them, and what else you consume in what quantities. Consistency is key, and then you will see results.
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