You can slather on the most expensive creams, serums and lotions all in the name of anti-aging, but when it really comes down to it, your skin care routine has to include more than beauty counter finds. One sure fire way to decrease signs of premature aging and maintain soft, healthy, glowing skin? It’s all about what you eat (that old adage you are what you eat comes true when it comes to your skin).
Glowing skin: What you need to eat
Tara Miller (BA, CNP), a Toronto-based Holistic Nutritionist and owner of the Health Hut all natural boutique, swears by these foods for clear, healthy skin that also help ward off premature aging. An added bonus? They’re all delicious!
1. Leafy greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard, arugula)
“Leafy greens contain high amounts of vitamin C (the key nutrient in collagen formation), chlorophyll (cleanses the body of impurities for clear, radiant skin), and beta-carotene (a strong antioxidant to help protect against damage from sun and pollution and therefore premature aging),” explains Miller. With all that packed into them, adding these dark leafy greens to salad, stir fry, and even blended into smoothies is an essential to glowing, clear skin.
2. Wild salmon (not farmed)
Salmon has long been known as a power food, but one other good reason to up your salmon intake is the pure benefits it provides for your skin. “Wild salmon contains high amounts of omega 3 essential fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory (reduce puffy, red skin) and contribute to healthy, plump cell membranes keeping skin hydrated and wrinkle free,” says Miller. Anything that can help us combat those fine lines and wrinkles, sign us up!
Stop avoiding the guacamole and just opting for salsa – the creamy green food could be your secret weapon for avoiding premature aging, if eaten in moderate amounts. “Avocado is high in B vitamins which deliver nutrients and oxygen to the cells, as well as improves circulation and detoxification," explains Miller. But the benefits for your skin don’t stop there. "It’s also high in good fats to nourish cell membranes and keep skin soft and hydrated.”
4. Pumpkin seeds
Nibbling on seeds throughout the day not only curbs those hunger pains (you know, the ones that always seem to want chocolate and/or cupcakes?). They’re not only good for your waist line, pumpkin seeds are also key to helping your skin cells regenerate. And a higher regeneration of skin cells equals a more youthful complexion. An added bonus? That regeneration is especially helpful for acne-prone skin. “These seeds are high in zinc which accelerates cell renewal and is extremely anti-inflammatory and healing which makes it good for acne prone and problem skin," explains Miller.
Toss an extra handful of your fave berry into your smoothie and you’ll be doing your skin a world of good. “Berries are high in antioxidants to protect against premature aging and sun/pollution damage," says Miller. The tasty fruits are all a good dose of fibre which Miller says can help detoxify your skin.
What NOT to eat on the next page …
Glowing skin: What foods to avoid
Just as some foods equal glowing, healthy skin, others can equal fine lines, wrinkles, breakouts, dryness and excess oil. Keep all those skin problems at bay by avoiding these foods.
Nix: Sugar and refined carbs
There’s no way around it — that extra slice of rich dark red velvet cake with cream cheese icing might be just what you think you need to get through a long afternoon at work, but your skin will pay for it later that week. "Sugars and refined carbohydrates can cause fluctuations in hormones that lead to acne and inflammation," advises Miller. Not to mention those sweet and carby treats can lead to an imbalance of bacteria in the gut — another cause of acne.
Nix: Fried foods and processed fats
We were just getting into the "crookie" trend (a deep fried battered cookie), but it looks like that indulgence might do more harm than just adding inches to your waistline. "Fried foods and processed fats interfere with proper omega 3 and 6 absorption and cause inflammation," warns Miller. Pass on the "crookie" and opt for some berries or fruit to curb your sweet craving instead.
Nix: Loads of dairy
The secret culprit behind many people’s skin woes? Dairy. Cheese, milk, ice cream and more can wreak havoc on your digestive system — and it can cause your skin to flare up and cause acne. "Dairy is an inflammatory and difficult to digest for many," says Miller.
Nix: Foods you’re sensitive to
Not sure what you may be allergic to? Try out an elimantion diet and slowly bring foods back into your diet, taking note of any changes to your skin’s appearance and texture. You may be eating something that can cause breakouts, or even dryness from a rash.
Glowing skin: Work it into your diet
Like any diet, changing up your eating habits to get healthier, glowing skin can be daunting and let’s face it, tough to start. Miller offers up some easy ways to start adding these skin-loving foods into your diet.
– "Try a fresh fruit and vegetable smoothie for breakfast, a leafy green salad with pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts and avocado for lunch and a piece of wild salmon with quinoa and asparagus for dinner."
– "Snack on fruit, vegetables, nuts and/or seeds in between, sip lots of water and your skin will be looking fantastic in no time!"
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