People ask me all the time what I do to care for my skin. I FEED it! One of the most overlooked "secrets" to healthy skin is diet. Nutrition and beautiful, healthy skin are closely related. What you put in your body and what you put on your skin matter so much more than most people think. In this blog, I'll be addressing what you eat. I'll cover topical skin care later.
As a competitive athlete, I know that more of my results come from my nutrition - not what I do in the gym. The same is true for your skin. So - if you want one more reason to focus on clean healthy, eating - here it is!
Did you know your skin is the largest organ of you body? It protects you and your internal organs every day. Skin provides a physical and chemical barrier between the outside environment and the inside tissues of the body. When you take steps to keep your skin healthy, it has the ability to respond to challenges that would otherwise undermine its structure and function.
Eating plenty of foods in antioxidants is good for your whole body, including your skin. Antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins C, E, and A can curb the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. These molecules can harm skin cells and cause signs of aging. One of the best ways to get more antioxidants is to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Think lots of color!
Omega-3 fatty acids are very important in keeping skin strong and healthy. Great sources include wild salmon, sardines, fortified eggs, and walnuts. Omega-3 are nice, healthy fats. Your entire body needs them to function properly. And there is research that and they also help to reduce dryness and inflammation and even reduce sun sensitivity.
Protein absolutely contributes to building and maintaing healthy skin.
Protein makes up the collagen and elastin in your skin, and help to fuel the skin's normal renewal process. Without adequate protein in your diet, your body will be unable to produce enough new collagen and elastin to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy. The result – your skin will feel and appear less elastic, lose its luminosity and be much more prone to showing fine lines. Lean proteins from eggs, chicken, fish and lean beef provide building blocks for healthy skin. I love eggs - especially the whites. Did you know egg whites contain 40 different proteins and a good amount of water? And egg yolks help your skin repair itself and are a great source of biotin, which contributes to healthy skin and nails.
Complex carbohydrates like those found in rice, whole-grain bread, potatoes, and legumes serve as your body's sources of energy. These same foods are also typically high in fiber, which can help your body efficiently dispose of toxins and other impurities. Do your best to limit simple carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, sugar) which can lead to increased insulin levels.
Water. I can't say enough about how important this is. Water helps rid the body of toxins. Skin cells, like every other cell if the body, are composed largely of water. If your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration may cause dry, tight skin. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling. As part of my training plan, I drink a gallon of water a day (yes - that's a lot). I recommend to everyone to take their body weight, divide by 2, and drink at least that many ounces of water a day (150 person would consume at least 75 ounces).
So there's a little info on what you can feed your body to help to maintain beautiful, healthy skin that functions optimally. In a future blog, I'll cover topical skin care and how that can help to protect and nourish your skin.