I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on what role nutrition plays in skin care, or in keeping skin healthy. The very good news is that there’s remarkable evidence that vitamins and minerals not only make a difference in how your skin looks and feels, but also how well it ages. In fact, the nutrition in certain foods can transform your complexion. Changing what you put ‘in to’ your body, rather than ‘on to’ your body will go a long way towards maintaining glowing skin, hair, and nails. I know often times when I see someone and admire their skin, they also seem to radiate a youthful vitality, and look to be in very good health.
Also, with Mother’s Day around the corner it just might be time for a little pampering. See some all-natural masks using ingredients found right in your kitchen, and don’t forget the cucumber slices.
Do’s and Don’ts of Nutrition for Skin:
Try to limit your intake of refined foods, such as sugar. Taken in excess, these foods can actually drain the body of essential vitamins and minerals. Swap the processed ‘white’ carbs for whole-grains to prevent toxins from building up.
Avoid cooking at high temperatures as it can destroy vital enzymes, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Go light on trans fats, margarine, animal fat, and avoid fried foods. They are difficult for the body to metabolize, and can lead to an unpredicatable complexion, and accelerated ageing process.
Add more EFA’s (essential fatty acids). We all know that these foods are good for our brain, but they also contribute to supple skin. Add more oily fish, nuts, olive oil, avocado, and flaxseed.
Minimize dehydrators such as alcohol and caffeine. Drink a minimum of 6-8 glasses of water a day, and add some green tea. The catechins in tea are said to slow the ageing process and are used in many high-range skin care products today.
Don’t forget the anitioxidants – Eat more fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are critical for keeping your skin young looking. Think of the colors of the rainbow.
Eat plenty of Vitamin C rich foods, from both citrus and vegetables. Vitamin C works by reducing the damage caused by free radicals, a harmful byproduct of sunlight, smoke, and pollution. The latest buzz is that using Vitamin C products topically will encourage collagen production.
B-Complex vitamins – The B vitamins are found in many foods, and often occur together. Good sources are the germ and bran of cereal grains, eggs, nuts, liver, avocados, date, figs, and prunes. B vitamins are used for many types of skin problems, as well as stress, fatigue and anxiety. Deficiencies of one or more of the B vitamins can occur fairly easily, so look for a supplement containing adequate amounts of all the B’s.
Probiotic yogurt – You’ve seen the ‘friendly bacteria’ ads, right? Live yogurts are crammed with good bacteria – Lactobacillus Acidophilus if you want to be precise – that keep your digestion and hence your skin, in tip-top health. Research shows that a daily intake can help eczema sufferers. Use it in fruit smoothies, salad dressings and as an alternative to cream in desserts.
Don’t forget minerals – These include iron, zinc, phosphorus, and calcium. They all help to cure skin ailments. Spinach – and other leafy greens like cabbage, kale and watercress, are great sources of iron – essential for keeping your blood healthy and your skin bright.
Nutritious Facial Masks to give your skin a lift:
Skip the artificial ingredients in the store-bought pricey facial masks and make your own fridge facial. Not only are they inexpensive – but the same ingredients used to shrink pores, tighten wrinkles and clear blemishes can be used to prepare a delicious breakfast at the same time!
Avocado and Honey Mask
½ mashed avocado, 1 T plain yogurt, 1 tsp. honey
Mix ingredients well, apply, and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse and apply your favorite toner and moisturizer. For oily skin, add a few drops of lime juice. Feels great after a day in the sun.
Ex-foliating Breakfast Mask
1T plain yogurt, ¼ banana (mashed), 1T honey. Mix well and apply. Let sit for 15 minutes and wash face gently with warm wash cloth.
*Place thinly sliced cucumbers over eyes whenever you do a mask, or you are just relaxing to relieve tired or puffy eyes.
While eating healthily can transform your complexion and give you an unrivalled glow, don’t forget to exercise. Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases. Not to mention that it’s good for circulation, and your skin!