Creams, serums, and lotions can do great things for keeping your skin youthful, healthy, and glowing, but nothing is more powerful for your skin than eating the right foods. Even the most high-end skincare miracle can’t undo the nutritional deficit incurred by poor dietary choices. Periodic and ongoing cleansing, combined with probiotics and skin-promoting foods, will transform your complexion for the better.
A note about foods to avoid
When it comes to healthy skin, the foods we eat are key, and some foods do more harm than good. The foods we eat are digested and broken down into the nutrients we require for good health. If we eat a diet high in processed foods and junk, our skin (and hair, nails, organs … ) won’t have the building blocks it needs to look its vibrant best. Some foods are particularly detrimental to keeping your skin in great shape and contribute to breakouts, dryness, and premature aging. The foods best left off your plate and out of your glass are:
- Sugar – Low-glycemic diets are linked to a reduction in acne, rashes, inflammation, and wrinkles. And commercial protein or “health” bars are often little better than a candy bar, so remember to check labels with any packaged foods: you may be eating more added sugars than you realize. A better snack choice when you are craving something sweet is whole fruit, which contains tons of fiber and beneficial nutrients your skin needs.
- Dairy – Many of us are lactose intolerant, and while studies are mixed, lots of people report that removing dairy from their diets improves acne and skin clarity. We recommend dairy substitutes such as coconut yogurt, and non-dairy cheeses, and “milks”. Avoiding dairy while cleansing is especially important, and post-cleanse, you may find you feel best when you limit or avoid it entirely.
- Industrialized Oils and Fats (Trans Fats) – Trans fats are usually man-made (meats and dairy products contain some naturally occurring trans fats). Industrialized trans fats are hydrogenated vegetable oils used in many commercially fried and processed foods to extend shelf-life. The bottom line is trans fats are no good for your health and contribute to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and chronic inflammation. Get your fats from flax, avocado, or wild salmon instead.
The best skin beautifying foods
Foods that build your health will promote the beauty and radiance of your skin: fresh fruits, clean proteins, vegetables, and greens do wonders for clarifying and brightening the complexion. The following foods are especially powerful for building gorgeous skin.
- Green Vegetable Juices – We’re talking low-sugar, raw vegetable juices here, either juiced at home or from an organic juice bar. Fruit juices are best left alone, as all that sugar without fiber can cause insulin spikes, so eat your fruit whole instead. Raw, green vegetable juices are loaded with hydration and concentrated nutrition from phytonutrients and minerals. Raw green juices also help keep digestion moving, which is integral to clear skin.
- Fatty Fish – Coldwater fish like wild salmon, mackerel, or tuna contain biotin (an amino acid building B vitamin), and omega-3 fatty acids, which support plump, well-hydrated skin. Omega-3 rich foods are also anti-inflammatory and can help heal inflamed, dry, or irritated skin conditions like rosacea. Omega-3s also play a role in regulating hormones and help reduce hormonal acne breakouts. We recommend supplementing EPA-DHA for good skin health, as well.
- Chia Seeds – A great vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds and walnuts are rich in fatty acids, which help build and maintain cell membranes that keep the skin full of youth-promoting moisture. This amazing chia seed pudding is a great, crave-worthy snack!
- Cultured and Fermented Foods – Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi, are often a central component of traditional diets. They are full of essential probiotics, enzymes, and beneficial lactic acid to support, nourish, and build a healthy GI tract. A healthy gut yields beautiful skin as the beneficial bacteria in fermented foods help improve digestion, detoxify the body, and increase immunity. The sour taste of sauerkraut can also help curb sugar cravings. When the need for a sugar fix hits, try eating some fermented foods instead.
- Sweet Potatoes – Eating a diet rich in produce keeps your cells and skin beautifully hydrated. Loading your plate with an array of deeply colored vegetables, especially those rich in vitamin A like sweet potatoes, carrots, and squashes, improves and enhances skin color and clarity.
- Dark Leafy Greens – Leafy greens are nutritional superstars: they provide almost every nutrient we need for vibrant health and amazing skin. Packed with phytonutrients, vitamins (C, K, E, and some B vitamins), and minerals (calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium), leafy greens are also rich in beta-carotene and lutein, which are excellent for your eyes and skin.
While a diet rich in skin-building foods is so important, supporting the body’s natural detoxification processes with ongoing cleansing will unlock dramatic results. Whether you are a cleansing vet or launching your first 21-Day Program, we think the secret to great skin is simple. Combining fantastic nutrition with a healthy digestive system will give you those clear, dewy results that you seek. Healing your skin and balancing out the body can take some time and patience, but the results are definitely worth it!
Written by Carolyn de Lorenzo
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