Beautiful skin is a desire we all share. Men and women both strive for that healthy, youthful glow. The beauty industry knows that few things can damage a person’s self-esteem more than having a bad complexion. Since this is true, we have row upon row of products that are supposed to cater to our every need. With so much money and science dedicated to keeping us young and blemish free, why do so many out there still struggle with their skin despite being consumers of so many products?
The answer is we are given the wrong information. All these expensive products that are full of chemicals and preservatives do little more than coat your skin and supply your toxic load. What you put on your skin, seeps into your pores and into your blood stream, supplying “food” for the body to distribute to your cells. When you lather creams and potions that are full of synthetic chemicals and artificial fragrances you are actually contributing to the aging process, no matter what the bottle says.
Luckily, society seems to be waking up and more and more options of beauty care items with natural organic ingredients that actually feed the skin are available to us. Not only that, but there’s many household items that work wonders for the skin. Some favorites are coconut oil, aloe vera, lemon, seaweeds, cucumbers, and turmeric. All of these items have natural healing abilities that the body will thank you for. Remember when it comes to skin care less truly is more. A quality cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen are really all you need.
Surprisingly enough what you put on your skin is not what is going to make the biggest difference in its appearance. Your skin is an elimination organ. That means when we are bombarded with toxins the body can’t eliminate due to an overwhelming amount and an overworked and congested liver, colon, and kidneys, your body sends those toxins through your pores and out the skin. Lowering your toxic load will do wonders for your skin health.
For the same reasons, your nutrition is also of the utmost importance when it comes having skin that truly shines. Most skin disorders are the result of inflammation in the body and what you are seeing in the mirror is merely a symptom of a much bigger problem. The best thing you can do for the health of your entire body and alleviate your skin issues is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Here are some guidelines from Dr. Andrew Weil.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is not a diet in the popular sense – it is not intended as a weight-loss program (although people can and do lose weight on it), nor is it an eating plan to stay on for a limited period of time. Rather, it is way of selecting and preparing foods based on scientific knowledge of how they can help your body maintain optimum health. Along with influencing inflammation, this diet will provide steady energy and ample vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids dietary fiber, and protective phytonutrients.
You can also adapt your existing recipes according to these anti-inflammatory diet principles:
General Diet Tips:
- Aim for variety.
- Include as much fresh food as possible.
- Minimize your consumption of processed foods and fast food.
- Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
- Most adults need to consume between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day.
- Women and smaller and less active people need fewer calories.
- Men and bigger and more active people need more calories.
- If you are eating the appropriate number of calories for your level of activity, your weight should not fluctuate greatly.
- The distribution of calories you take in should be as follows: 40 to 50 percent from carbohydrates, 30 percent from fat, and 20 to 30 percent from protein.
- Try to include carbohydrates, fat, and protein at each meal.
- On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, adult women should consume between 160 to 200 grams of carbohydrates a day.
- Adult men should consume between 240 to 300 grams of carbohydrates a day.
- The majority of this should be in the form of less-refined, less-processed foods with a low glycemic load.
- Reduce your consumption of foods made with wheat flour and sugar, especially bread and most packaged snack foods (including chips and pretzels).
- Eat more whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat, in which the grain is intact or in a few large pieces. These are preferable to whole wheat flour products, which have roughly the same glycemic index as white flour products.
- Eat more beans, winter squashes, and sweet potatoes.
- Cook pasta al dente and eat it in moderation.
- Avoid products made with high fructose corn syrup.
- On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, 600 calories can come from fat – that is, about 67 grams. This should be in a ratio of 1:2:1 of saturated to monounsaturated to polyunsaturated fat.
- Reduce your intake of saturated fat by eating less butter, cream, high-fat cheese, unskinned chicken and fatty meats, and products made with palm kernel oil.
- Use extra-virgin olive oil as a main cooking oil. Organic, high-oleic, expeller pressed versions of sunflower and safflower oil are also acceptable.
- Avoid regular safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and mixed vegetable oils.
- Strictly avoid margarine, vegetable shortening, and all products listing them as ingredients. Strictly avoid all products made with partially hydrogenated oils of any kind. Include in your diet avocados and nuts, especially walnuts, cashews, almonds, and nut butters made from these nuts.
- For omega-3 fatty acids, eat salmon (preferably fresh or frozen wild or canned sockeye), sardines packed in water or olive oil, herring, and black cod (sablefish, butterfish); omega-3 fortified eggs; hemp seeds and flaxseeds (preferably freshly ground); or take a fish oil supplement (look for products that provide both EPA and DHA, in a convenient daily dosage of two to three grams).
- On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, your daily intake of protein should be between 80 and 120 grams. Eat less protein if you have liver or kidney problems, allergies, or autoimmune disease.
- Decrease your consumption of animal protein except for fish and high quality natural cheese and yogurt.
- Eat more vegetable protein, especially from beans in general.
- Try to eat 40 grams of fiber a day. You can achieve this by increasing your consumption of fruit, especially berries, vegetables (especially beans), and whole grains.
- Ready-made cereals can be good fiber sources, but read labels to make sure they give you at least 4 and preferably 5 grams of bran per one-ounce serving.
- To get maximum natural protection against age-related diseases (including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease) as well as against environmental toxicity, eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and mushrooms.
- Choose fruits and vegetables from all parts of the color spectrum, especially berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, and dark leafy greens.
- Choose organic produce whenever possible. Learn which conventionally grown crops are most likely to carry pesticide residues and avoid them.
- Eat cruciferous (cabbage-family) vegetables regularly.
- Drink tea instead of coffee, especially good quality white, green or oolong tea.
- If you drink alcohol, use red wine preferentially.
- Enjoy plain dark chocolate in moderation (with a minimum cocoa content of 70 percent.
Another vital aspect of skin care is making sure you stay properly hydrated. Remember water makes up about 70% of your body and you need to replenish it continuously, every day. Without the proper amount of water you will have a much harder time flushing away the waste that builds up in your system. When waste builds up in your system, your radiance will dim and it may end up getting eliminated through the pores of your face. Another critical duty of water in your system is the delivery of nutrients to your cells. We want the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. This job cannot be done efficiently without proper hydration.
Exercise is also a key component for young, healthy skin. Regular exercise boosts circulation. “It nourishes your skin, bringing more blood flow and oxygen to it,” says Mauro C. Romita, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Ajune Center for Beauty Synergy in New York City. “This will help draw toxins out of the body.” Plus, all that sweating cleans out the pores of congested skin. “Working out corrects the hormonal imbalance that can cause adult acne,” Romita says.
Working out also helps maintain healthy levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol, Sherber says. “Elevated cortisol levels are linked to increased sebum production, which means more acne breakouts,” she says. Too much cortisol can also cause the collagen in the skin to break down, Sherber says, which can increase wrinkles and sagging. “Exercise actually supports the production of collagen,” says Amy Dixon, a Los Angeles–based exercise physiologist and celebrity trainer. “The boost in this protein helps to keep your skin firm, supple, and elastic.”
When you get your heart pumping from aerobic exercise, you’re supplying your skin with a nice dose of oxygenated blood, says Noëlle S. Sherber, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Baltimore, Maryland. “It gives you that great post-workout glow.”
Give yourself the gift of top-notch healthy and beautiful skin!