We all want to have beautiful skin. There is an entire multi-billion dollar industry built around it.
I often hear friends complain about their grocery bills and the cost of healthy food but what is the alternative?
Muffin tops contained by Spanx, Girdles, and high priced, designer garments?
Acne/ rosacea, dull or oily skin covered and concealed by expensive powders, foundations and potions to give the illusion of a "healthy glow"?
You are paying either way!!
Instead of buying into a materialistic industry which merely covers the cracks without giving any actual health benefits, why not spend the money to treat your body right and reap additional rewards (such as increased life expectancy, improved fertility and lower risk of chronic disease).
Foundations and powders clog pores, making it hard for the skin to breath. This actually leads to a WORSE complexion and an increased need for chemically beauty products. How convenient...
Luckily, beautiful, glowing skin can easily be achieved through a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables with moderate amounts of healthy fat.
Too Boring? Already Lost You?
Let me simplify...
Top Nutrients to Build Radiant Skin:
1. Essential Fatty Acids- Moderate amounts of essential fatty acids, particularly omega 3, help to keep skin thick and moisturized and reduce redness and inflammation. The best source (from a bodybuilding perspective) is oily fish such as salmon. Be careful when selecting fish as many species contain high mercury levels and should be avoided.
Vegan sources of essential fatty acids (EFA's) are avocado, nuts (especially walnuts) and seeds.
2. Beta Carotene, Lutein and Lycopene- The carotenoids!
Beta carotene is a vegetarian form of vitamin A and is found in yellow, orange and red vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and red peppers.
High concentrations of lutein are present in dark green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli, and lycopene is present in fun tropical fruits like guava, papaya, and mangos.
The carotenoids are a natural form of sunblock, protecting skin from UV damage, dryness, wrinkling, and cell death and their anti-inflammatory properties help to treat and prevent acne.
They are some of the few nutrients which become MORE available to the body through cooking so feel free to roast away!!
3. Vitamin C- An antioxidant which protects skin from aging. Signs of vitamin C deficiency include dry, rough and reddened skin.
Excellent sources of vitamin C are leafy greens, tomatoes, oranges, lemons, and kiwis. Vitamin C is destroyed by heat so raw foods are best in this situation.
4. Zinc- A vital nutrient for a healthy immune system. Zinc is anti-inflammatory and has been shown to kill viruses and bacteria. Because of this, zinc is one of the most important nutrients for acne treatment and prevention.
Zinc is present in a wide array of whole foods such as pumpkin seeds, beans, meat, shellfish, eggs, and whole grains.
Just be careful when sourcing animal products.
The saying "you are what you eat" does not only apply to humans.
Factory farmed animals are raised cheaply, for production on a mass scale, and are often fed nutrient deficient food products, often high in toxins (such as bubble gum and chicken feathers).
If animals are not fed any nutrients then they will not contain any nutrients (it's simple biology).
By the same logic, if animals are feed toxins, they will contain large concentrations of those toxins in their flesh and pass those toxins on TO YOU through the food chain.
Even if you are not compassionate enough to care about how these animals are treated (and you should) then you should at least care about the potential harm to your body by eating these nutrient deficient, toxic substances.
My recommendation is to ALWAYS source grass-fed, pasture raised humane and animal welfare approved meat sources for yourself and your loved ones (or just save money and go vegan!)
5. Collagen- So, post meat rant! (yes I see the irony here) Collagen is a protein found in connective tissue (skin, hair, fingernails, joints etc).
Like meat and other animal products, it is important to source collagen that is both high quality and humane.
Collagen helps to keep the skin full and elastic, preventing wrinkles. Our own collagen content drops with age, we simply begin to use more then the body can make.
Recent studies have shown that high-quality collagen supplements and bone broths, can increase collagen levels in the body and help prevent skin aging.
6. Sulforaphane- Abundant in broccoli, sulforaphane is believed to prevent skin cancer and reduce oxidative damage from UV rays.
In clinical trials, sulforaphane was shown to reduce UV related cell death by 29% for 48 hrs AND increase collagen levels.
So eat that broccoli!!!
Green Tea can be drunk with warm water as a traditional tea or as powdered matcha, added into dishes such as smoothies and sorbets.
Just be sure to consume without milk as it has been shown to deactivate this important antioxidant.
8. Vitamin E- This antioxidant is critical for both wound healing and cell repair.
Vitamin E is commonly found in avocados, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables (the leafy greens are the most slimming option).
Vitamin E is most effective when combined with vitamin C and other antioxidants.
More often then not, a balanced, whole food diet is all that is needed for beautiful glowing skin.
What if I'm already doing all this and I still have skin problems?
If the diet is right yet skin problems persist it could be down to other, more complex factors such as
1. Food Intolerances/ Environment Allergies
The most obvious culprits, as I'm sure you have all heard a million times before, are wheat and dairy but in all honesty, we have the potential to build up an intolerance to anything.
Try eliminating anything you consume in large amounts (or that you crave) for 2 wks and add them back in one by one. This is called an elimination diet and is a cheap (although tedious) way of testing for intolerances. Food intolerance tests are available but can be pricey.
Also, look at any chemicals used in your house (laundry detergent, fabric softeners, cleaning supplies (even commercial lotions and body wash) and consider subbing them out for natural products (commonly found at stores such as Sprouts and Wholefoods).
3. Toxic Buildup
The skin is the largest organ of elimination in the body. If the liver is struggling under a toxic load, or constipation occurs, then more toxins are sent to be eliminated through the skin. This can lead to oily skin, clogged pores and acne.
If you have never done a cleanse before then I urge you to do your research and speak with a qualified professional to ensure that you are cleansing correctly and safely.
4. DRINK WATER!!!!
Really this goes with cleansing, but it's so important that it deserves a section of its own.
Did you know that water (H2O) is literally the medium through which chemical reactions occur? It's the substance that makes all life on earth possible (literally) and it makes up 60% of your body??
Without water the liver can not detoxify, the bowel cannot eliminate and the skin can not moisten itself.
Water is the number one nutrient for life and it is the nutrient most commonly forgotten.
SO DRINK UP!
Feel free to post any questions or comments.
I'm here to help!
Please subscribe below for more detailed information on a bikini lifestyle and tricks of the trade.
Let me give you the skinny!!