• Second Opinion Magazine

10 Food Practices for Perfect Skin


1. Be Safe with Sugar

In a recent study published by the Journal of American Aging Association, it was discovered that those with high blood sugar levels appeared to look older than those with lower levels. How so? Well, as we all know, sugar can be detrimental for not only your teeth and weight, but for your skin, too. Too much sugar can cause inflammation and premature aging of the skin, a process known as glycation. The latter of these two conditions starts when sugar in the bloodstream hitches onto proteins and thus quickens the formation of AGEs (advanced glycation end products). These end products go on then to stimulate enzymes within the skin that break off elastic tissue and collagen. Consequently, this deterioration leads to sagging, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. To preserve your skin, it is best to limit your intake of sugar as much as you can.

Foods that have had sugar added to them should be avoided, such as baked goods, sugary cereals, and starches. Those with naturally occurring sugars, such as fruits, are a much healthier source. Sugar consumption also correlates with sugar levels. For example, having a piece of biscotti each day with your tea or coffee for a week is much safer than polishing off a handful of biscotti in one sitting. When you consume a bigger amount of sugar at one time, it disrupts insulin levels. What this all boils down to is that sugar, as is preached with liquor and other indulgences, should be used in moderation.

2. Fun in the Sun

It is generally known that sunscreen is a must when engaging in prolonged exposure in the sun. However, new research has shown that Asian ginseng has proven to be beneficial in protecting your skin from the sun. According to the Journal of Alternative and Contemporary Therapies, ginseng lessens the amount of damage caused by UV light while upping the amount of exposure needed before a sunburn results. Although this herb can be taken by mouth or applied directly onto the skin, sunscreen is still recommended.

3. Pro Probiotics

Did you know that there is a very strong connection between what goes on in the stomach and what surfaces on the skin? When the stomach’s natural flora becomes unbalanced due to factors such as infection, stress, or antibiotics, your skin may become prone to problems such as wrinkles, dullness, acne, psoriasis, and eczema. This all happens when toxic bacteria in the gut seeps through the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and travels throughout the body and up to the skin. Inflammation then occurs, thus forbidding the skin to act normally. To prevent this bacterial imbalance, probiotic supplements and certain foods may be taken such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and miso.

4. Try Prebiotics

Since we know that probiotics are microorganisms that maintain good health and improve the immune system, what then are prebiotics? Prebiotics are indigestible nutrients that promote the growth of good bacteria. As was mentioned before, skin problems can be directly related to problems with gut flora. To prevent this, eat prebiotic-rich foods such as bananas, whole grains, garlic, and onions. By stocking up on these foods, you will keep the lining of your gut constantly coated with good bacteria, therefore decreasing the chances that toxic substances will leak out and wreak havoc.

5. Sprinkle on Some Spice

Fight inflammation by adding anti-inflammatory spices such as cinnamon and ginger. Both these spices pack a punch of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that work to rid your skin of surface inflammation and facial puffiness.

6. Treat Yourself with Turmeric

In a recent study, it was discovered that when turmeric (also known as curcumin) supplementation is used either topically or orally, it increases photo protection in skin. To help prevent sun damage to your skin, add turmeric to your diet. The easiest way to do this is to cook with curry powder, as turmeric is a staple ingredient in it.

7. Omega-3s

Omega-3s are healthy fats that can do your skin a whole lot of good. Some of the richest sources of these fats are found in fish such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon. For those of us that are vegetarian or vegan, seeds such as chia and flax make for a swell substitute. By consuming omega-3s, you will not only moisturize your skin, but help protect it against skin cancer and sun damage. A single tablespoon of chia seeds or flaxseeds offers six times as much as the daily recommended amount of Omega-3s. These seeds enhance your diet by adding them to salads, smoothies, and oatmeal.

8. Be a Green Machine

The greener your body is, the better it will be for your hair and skin. To do this, eat alkaline-forming foods such as lemons, apples, pears, kale, parsley, and almonds. By eating these foods, you can prevent your body from becoming too acidic, which occurs when your diet is unbalanced. When this happens, alkaline minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium become leached, which in turn retards the body’s natural detox functions. As a result, skin irritation increases and fewer toxins are rid from your skin. To read more on the subject, check out The Beauty Detox Solution, written by Los Angeles nutritionist Kimberly Snyder.

9. The Power of Purple

When it comes to natural beauty, purple is the way to go. Those antioxidant-rich foods which are best for your skin belong to anything in the shade of purple. Produce such as purple cabbage, blueberries, purple potatoes, raspberries, and purple cauliflower all contain significant amounts of anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that boost circulation. Healthy circulation correlates with improved skin, since increased blood flow carries nutrients necessary in creating new cells, elastin, and collagen.

10. Less Dairy

Two recent studies in the European Journal of Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology claimed that there is a positive correlation between dairy products and acne production. Since there are sixty plus hormones within a single cup of milk (organic or commercial), it is not a surprise then that some of those androgens (steroid hormones) can increase acne breakouts and sebum production. In addition, dairy consumption triggers the production of insulin, which is known to cause acne. For those that desire to go dairy-less, it is important that they supplement their diets with vitamin D, alternative sources of calcium, and other vital nutrients found in milk.

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