By Suki Kramer
We have all heard the old saying “you are what you eat,” but what does that mean really? Can a chocolate chip turn into a zit? Well, what we do know is that it turns out mom was right all along, we need to eat our fruits and veggies. Our skin, being the largest organ of the body, is actually wholly affected by what we ingest as well as what we apply to it. 60% in fact, of what we use topically directly effects how our whole system functions. And, if we treat ourselves well, our bodies will respond in kind. New research suggests eating foods rich in protein along with certain vitamins and minerals provides valuable skincare benefits. And it’s just as you would think, we can see the results of stress, sleeplessness and poor nutrition in the mirror just like we can feel it day to day. Follow some simple dietary and supplemental advice though, and you should be looking and feeling amazing everyday no matter what your skin type or issue.
For combination to mature or dry skin, here are some foods and supplements to incorporate into your diet and skincare routine:
• Avocado – super softening, and when taken internally; helps stimulate collagen production.
• Manuka honey – yummy, and a wonderful multi-tasker; helps soothe and hydrate skin, acting as hyaluronic acid does, drawing moisture from the air into the skin; internally, a nourishing sweetener that fights free radicals and helps strengthen the immune system.
• Grapeseed oil – has a dual moisturizing effect because of its unique filming abilities; contains potent vitamin E and other potent antioxidants like resveratrol (a very powerful antioxidant vitamin and topical cosmeceutical for wrinkle prevention, skin brightening, tightening and collagen production).
• Organic soy oil, broccoli, spinach and strawberries – rich in Coenzyme Q10, which fights free radical damage, slows the aging process and increases the rate and efficiency of cellular energy production.
• Oranges Avocado, Artichoke and Asparagus and Fish oil – Fish oil tops my best of list for all skin types. The modern western diet however, is woefully low in omega 3 and high in its evil counterpart Omega 6, which likely contributes to skin conditions such as dandruff, eczema and psoriasis, as well as plain old dry skin. Without this essential fatty acid, too much moisture leaks out through the skin, so taking fish oil may even equal (for some) applying a moisturizer! Omega-3 fats improve cellular health and functioning, helping skin maintain a smooth, elastic texture; research has found they prevent wrinkles and work against the aging process, keeping the joints lubricated and the immune system functioning at its best. Be sure to look for fish oil with the addition of vitamin D3, the absorbable, natural source of this vitamin, as none of us, heaven knows, gets enough vitamin D.
• Eggs, salmon, swordfish and the combo of beans and rice – rich sources of amino acids – necessary for the production of new skin cells.
• Blueberries, kiwi, guava, strawberries and tomatoes – and other vitamin C’s when combined with amino acids acts as the cofactor that forms strong collagen fibers (new skin cells).
• Studies also show that a higher intake of vegetables, olive oil, and monounsaturated fat and legumes, and lower intake of milk/dairy products, butter, margarine and sugar products produced less skin wrinkling.
If combination to blemishing, acne or any condition of inflammation is your skin type or concern, choose:
• Probiotics – in supplement form only and actually my top supplement to improve the immune system functioning of all skin types. Probiotics aid nutrient absorption and can dramatically improve your health. For your body to digest and absorb the correct amount of nutrients from the foods you eat, they need to be “bio-available,” i.e.; easily absorbable. Probiotics help break food particles down, aiding their digestion and absorption. Yogurt just doesn’t contain the quantity and quality of viable bacteria to increase populations at an acceptable rate.
• Asparagus, brown rice, beans, whole grains and eggs – sources of B1 help greatly reduce whiteheads. Also, seeing chronic and numerous whiteheads may suggest a B1 deficiency or absorption problem.
• Eggs, spinach, kale and sweet potatoes – high in vitamin A; essential for helping skin repair itself and helping eliminate raised spots and blackheads, the appearance of which suggests the need for this vitamin.
• Sesame seeds, tahini, dark chocolate and peanuts – high in zinc, a deficiency of which can promote acne. Zinc helps eliminate inflammation, dries out oil glands, reducing blemishes by at least 35% over time.
• Carrots, winter squash or dark green veggies – beta carotene-rich foods make you feel and look beautiful (and healthy), functioning like a self-tanner does (especially carrot oil), giving your skin a beautiful golden glow. Believe it or not, they’ll keep any pale skin naturally “bronzed” – and generally, as anyone with acne knows, a little tan helps with any skin issue, so if you’re staying out of the sun, get some sunshine in a bottle right here!
Studies also show that, nope, it’s not just an “old wives’ tale,” certain foods worsen acne symptoms. So stay away from milk chocolate, alcohol, refined, processed foods, greasy foods, caffeine, sodas and saturated fat. Choose more veggies to reduce inflammation (including skin inflammation like rosacea, acne, eczema and psoriasis). Of course, anyone who wants a healthy body and clear, radiant skin in general should avoid these, skin issues or not.
Some good rule to live radiantly by
• avoid putting anything on your skin you wouldn’t eat.
• Load up on a plant based diet – it’s got those vital, bioavailable nutrients in exactly the form that your human body is designed to use. No multivitamin pill can compare!
There is no reason in this amazing age of ours, with the advances of science, that we all can’t have fabulous skin, and great health, without damage or side effects to person or planet. We are so lucky to have cosmeceutical actives; derived from nature and developed by scientists, that keep skin looking youthful and clear, whereas in the past, there were only synthetic options, lucky to live in an age where “health food” doesn’t mean tasteless, cardboard textured options. There is now a whole, colorful world of deliciousness out there that is good for us.
So, choose health, enjoy and know your beauty!
Guest Editor Suki Kramer is the founder, President and formulator of suki, inc cosmetics and dedicates herself to natural health and wellness. Follow her blog Sukiscoop and get her skincare, makeup, and hair care products at http://www.sukiskincare.com