You are what you eat! It’s a cliché as old as time. While you’re probably well aware of how what you eat affects your body - from energy, to digestion, and of course your build - there’s a lesser known consequence at play here. Your skin!
That’s right. Most dermatologists and skincare experts agree that the foods you eat have a definite impact on your skin. They may be contributing to a glowy, smooth complexion -- but they could also be to blame for some of your main skin concerns!
Here are 4 surprising ways your dinner makes for dreamy skin - or skin disasters!
Sugar’s Skin Sabotage
Don’t get me wrong -- we’re all about a vegan donut with major frosting. So you can imagine our heartbreak when we discovered that sugar is just as bad for our complexions as it is for our fitness goals.
As you probably know, eating sugar (as well as refined carbohydrates like white bread) causes an increase in your body’s insulin levels. That insulin spike causes widespread inflammation throughout the body, including your skin. That inflammation, in turn, breaks down collagen and elastin in your skin (the support structures that keep it firm). This means more wrinkles, laxity, and - GASP - sagging!
Don’t Be Salty
Anything in excess usually isn’t good and unfortunately the side effects of excess sodium can show up before your very eyes (literally). Salt causes water retention in the body which in turn can show up as puffy, inflamed skin. It might not be obvious in all parts of your body, but in areas where the skin is thin like the eye area, you will notice visible puffiness. A high-sodium diet can also cause your body to dehydrate, causing dry, patchy skin to show in your complexion.
Now this is not to say to be afraid of salt consumption, but instead be mindful of the source, as not all salts are created equal, and always try to get your iodine through whole foods (i.e. nori sheets, kelp noodles).
A Mediterranean Diet for #SkinGoals
The Mediterranean diet has long been hailed as the key to weight loss, improved heart health, and a longer lifespan. But its benefits are skin deep, too!
This style of eating is basically what you think of when you hear the words “healthy diet”: eating tons of veggies, along with fruit, fish, and lean protein; while swapping your salt and butter for herbs and olive oil and reducing red meat intake. Our favorite part? Red wine (in moderation) is a thumbs-up on this routine.
By reducing salt and dairy intake, skin is less prone to puffiness, while the added omega fatty acids from eating fish and nuts help reinforce cell membranes for stronger, firmer skin. Antioxidants from all those veggies and red wine further contribute to fighting free radicals (a main cause of skin aging!)
Studies have even shown that people following a Mediterranean diet were able to cut their risk of Melanoma (skin cancer) in half!
Dairy & Breakouts
For our avid To Health and Beauty readers, you know that dairy is one of the most commonly discussed culprits to skin issues.
Here’s why: Dairy products like milk and ice cream are known to contain a hormone similar to insulin (IGF-1), that reacts with the testosterone in your body. So what does this have to do with your skin? The consumption of this hormone promotes inflammation, which in turn causes your skin to produce more oil, and as a result leads to the appearance of clogged pores and breakouts. Yikes!
If you are dealing with clogged pores, oily skin or breakouts, and want to eliminate dairy from your diet, our Eating For Beauty recipes are a good place to start.