You are what you eat and there's no greater reflection of this than the appearance of your skin.
Your skin is cytophylactic, meaning it lets things in and out like a sponge.
If you're toxic on the inside, it's going to show up on the outside. Conversely, if your body is clean on the inside your skin will glow as a reflection of that.
So, your diet plays an undeniably crucial role in your skincare, so eating the right foods is key if you want to have youthful, vibrant skin.
In a day and age where diets are filled with processed foods, refined sugar and alcohol, eating a targeted diet is tough, but well worth it when you see the results right on your skin.
By eating a clean, healthy diet, you can achieve skin that glows from the inside out without resorting to expensive and arguably ineffective, beauty products that are generally laced with chemicals.
There are tons of studies that show that the following diet (rich in healthy fats, water, probiotics and with limited or no amounts of refined sugar and simple carbs) can finally balance and nourish the skin, so that you radiate with every cell of your being.
Here are the key broad categories of foods to incorporate into your diet for healthy, glowing skin:
Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats aren’t just necessary for your body’s energy and cell growth, but also to protect your skin. Studies show that a diet high in healthy fats can help nourish and elasticise the skin.
But that doesn’t mean go crazy on fats.
There are a few specific healthy, plant-based fats that you should focus on: including monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids will help keep your skin supple and moisturised and not consuming enough of it can leave your skin dry and depleted.
Omega-3 fatty acids actually keep cell membranes strong and healthy, so that they can prevent harmful bacteria from passing through. They also help your cells retain water, leaving your skin looking softer and more hydrated. Even further, omega-3 fatty acids also help fight inflammation, so that acne or redness-prone skin can stay calm and clear.
The best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids are walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil, chia seeds, hemp seed, and even Brussel sprouts. Avocados are another source of healthy fats, and they have compounds that can protect your skin from wrinkle-causing sun damage, as well as plenty of vitamin E that shields the skin from oxidative damage.
Other sources of healthy fats: raw nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconuts and raw cold-pressed coconut oil
Learn more in Good Fats vs Bad Fats.
Avoid/Limit Refined Sugar
One of the worst things you can do for your entire body is to regularly consume refined sugar.
Not only is it generally empty calories leaving you hungry and unsatisfied, refined sugar is broken down too quickly by the body which causes unhealthy blood sugar spikes. Unfortunately, many foods are packed with refined sugar and we don’t even realise it.
These are foods like commercial breakfast cereals, soft drinks, candy and energy bars, to name a few. Eating a diet high in refined sugar will adversely affect your skin because these insulin spikes cause inflammation all over your body, and this causes enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, which are compounds that prevent wrinkles and sagging skin.
Your best defence is a good offence. Educate yourself.
Learn to read food labels and ingredient lists to figure out all the sneaky ways refined sugar is added to foods that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with sugar; these are ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, beet sugar, sucrose, sorbitol, molasses, and barley malt. Remember that sugar naturally found in foods isn’t something you need to avoid, like those found in whole fruits which are essentially crystallised sun energy - not refined sugar.
We all know we should be drinking plenty of water, but when you find out it’s the key to beautiful, glowing skin, then those glasses of H2O go down a lot easier.
Ideally you should drink at least the approximate weight of your brain every single day - 2 litres of water. If you're particularly active or detoxing, then 1 litre per day per 22 kilograms of body weight is a good daily target.
If you find that amount a little hard to stomach, then add some herbal tea and high water content fruits and vegetables like melons, celery and cucumbers.
Water is still the best source of hydration though, so make sure you most of your hydration comes from pure water. Your skin needs water replenishment to stay hydrated and look youthful, because even a little bit of dehydration can show in the form of dry, brittle skin.
It makes sense: your skin is an organ that’s made up of cells, and cells are made up of water, so by not drinking enough water, you’re causing your biggest organ to shrivel. Plus, the body favours all other organs first when it comes to dispersing the water, so you need to drink plenty to ensure your skin gets the water it needs. Be sure to avoid or severely limit alcohol and sugary drinks completely, as these will only dehydrate your skin more and can cause premature ageing.
Tip: keep a large water bottle by your desk and mark down hourly markers along the bottle to encourage yourself to make it to each marker every hour. To train yourself to drink more water, try adding sliced lemons, lime or cucumber to create a delicious, subtle taste that you’ll start to crave rather than juice or soda.
Learn more in Water: Nature’s Best and Why it’s Critical to Life.
Consume Natural Probiotics
Probiotics might sound like a scary supplement, but they’re actually naturally found in a lot of healthy foods and they’re important for a variety of reasons.
The first thing is that Probiotics help balance the bacteria in the gut, which boosts many bodily functions including the digestive system, your immune system, and even the production of serotonin--your happy hormone.
All of these functions impact the quality and appearance of your skin.
By increasing the amount of good bacteria in our bodies, we can prevent bad bacteria from taking over and creating issues like inflammation and gastrointestinal symptoms. Certain strains of probiotics have even been shown to strengthen the skin barrier, leading to less water loss and healthier, more supple skin.
Certain skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, acne and rashes could be partly caused by unbalanced gut flora, so probiotics can help improve the look and feel of your skin.
Find your probiotics naturally in many fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, tempeh, kombucha, sourdough bread, and many fortified dairy alternatives.
Because what you put on your skin is arguably just as important as what you eat, natural, handcrafted skincare products are crucial to achieving radiant skin. Try a chemical-free and purely sourced range of natural remedies to help your body feel its best without introducing damaging, toxic beauty products onto your largest organ. And remember: no amount of topical treatment can undo or hide a poor diet.
A healthy diet with plenty of water will give your skin the nutrients and hydration it craves, so you can start to see supple, smooth skin that glows with good health.
Tolman Self Care