In caring for your skin, it’s important to consider all the factors that affect your skin’s health. In other words, it’s crucial that you take a holistic approach to skincare. This article is the third installment in a series of Holistic Skincare posts, designed to give you the knowledge you need to master caring for your skin!
In case you missed it, catch up on the previous article, Holistic Skincare: Diet Part I.
The Finer Details
Now that we’ve gone over the bigger picture, we can delve into the deeper details for a richer understanding of how to eat for your skin. Remember to keep the big picture in mind as the foundation underlying these finer details!
An Apple a Day…
An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is one of the best things you can do to promote and maintain healthy, youthful skin. This is because a plant-rich diet is full of vital vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that help protect your skin and enhance its resilience. Examples of these include:
Phytonutrients, or phytochemicals, refer to the plant chemicals naturally found in plants. Phytochemicals help keep the plant healthy and protect it from environmental threats such as harmful insects, pathogens, and pollution. In humans, consuming phytonutrients is proven to have a whole host of health benefits, especially for the skin! Common sources of phytonutrients include fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, teas, and whole grains.
Carotenoids, a class of phytonutrients, are the pigments responsible for certain plants’ bright orange, yellow, and red hues. Carotenoids play an important role in protecting plants from damage caused by excess light, and consuming plant foods rich in carotenoids helps protect human skin in much the same way! Carotenoids are found in many fruits, vegetables, and spices, including bell peppers, carrots, cantaloupe, kale, mangos, oranges, papaya, paprika, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turmeric, and yams.
- Vitamin E
Long associated with skin health, vitamin E is found in many plant foods. Interestingly, taking vitamin E supplements is not as effective as previously believed, and the best way to reap the benefits of vitamin E is to consume it in whole food form. Common sources include green vegetables, nuts & seeds, and also seafood such as salmon.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Research shows that consuming omega-3 fatty acids can help protect the skin from sun damage, and there’s even evidence that omega-3 is beneficial for both treating and preventing various inflammatory skin diseases! Some plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds, chia seeds, soybeans, walnuts, hemp seeds, and brussel sprouts. Seafood such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines is another top source of this essential fatty acid.
Foods to Avoid
Many common skin ailments, including psoriasis and eczema, are inflammatory skin diseases, which means that avoiding inflammation-promoting foods through an anti-inflammatory diet can potentially relieve frequency and severity of symptoms. An inflammatory diet essentially acts as a chronic stressor to the body, which responds by ramping up its immune response, leading to chronically high levels of inflammation. Consistently high levels of inflammation are a leading cause of a variety of illnesses, including skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema.
High-sugar & Processed foods
Sugary or processed foods, such as refined grains, are an example of the top foods to avoid, as they promote inflammation. Fresh, whole foods, on the other hand, are great for maintaining lower levels of inflammation. High-sugar foods are also associated with premature skin ageing.
Most people know that deep-fried foods are not the healthiest choice, but did you know that consuming deep-fried foods can also contribute to premature skin ageing? In general, water-based food preparation methods, such as boiling and steaming, tend to be associated with healthier, more youthful skin in comparison to oil-based food preparation methods.
Alcohol & Nicotine
It shouldn’t be too surprising that neither alcohol or nicotine is great for your skin. Besides drying out the skin, alcohol tends to be a trigger for skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema, and both smoking and alcohol consumption are associated with premature skin ageing. Interestingly, alcohol and nicotine use are also linked with longer recover times and higher wound infection rates in burn patients.
Want to learn more about holistic skincare? Read on to learn about the connection between exercise and skin health in the next installment of the series!
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