Let’s be honest – the idea of glowing, radiant skin is something we all wish for. But did you know that what you put into your body plays a huge part on what shows up on the outside?
Yep. Beauty really does begin within. There are no quick fixes, but a change in your dietary regime may soon become your beauty regime’s new best bud.
If you want a pretty inside, here’s what you don’t want to be putting in that body of yours:
D A I R Y can be responsible for upping the hormone responsible for oil production, which can result in blemishes and acne. In fact, we’re talking a 10-20% rise in these hormones – a flow-on effect of the antibiotics and hormones added to non-organic, conventional dairy products. These nasty added extras can also play havoc with your body’s insulin normal levels, again leading to breakouts.
G L U T E N sensitivities have been linked to advanced ageing and skin redness. Gluten sensitivities and allergies are difficult to diagnose but we can feel their wrath in several ways, including: damaged digestion (which isn’t exactly going to allow for proper absorption of beauty-giving nutrients), inflammation (which quickens the ageing process), and compromised immunity (allowing the allergic response to take hold and present itself as a skin complaint).
S U G A R (refined, white sugar) is toxic for skin! Breakouts, wrinkles, dull skin, age spots, cellulite… yeah, you can thank sugar for that. The addictive white stuff is responsible for AGE accumulation, which breaks down collagen, acidity, and inflammation in the body. It also robs your once-healthy skin of vital nutrients and hydration, and prevents proper production of anti-ageing hormones too.
S O M E M E A T S are from animals who’ve been fed a concoction of antibiotics and hormones, amongst other things. And most of these meats are high in Omega 6, but low in Omega 3 (the good stuff). I’m personally vegetarian, but I promise I’m not going all pushy vegan on you right now! Salmon, spirulina, nuts & seeds, sprouts, tempeh, pea or hemp proteins, quinoa, lentils and free-range/organic eggs are all alternative protein sources. And they’re far ‘prettier’ proteins too – yay!
F R I E D F O O D S could be responsible for your wrinkles, age spots, inflammatory skin conditions, and more. This is due to the temperature they’re cooked at, and the oils becoming so hot that they convert to ‘free radicals’ (nasty little whatsits that can cause cellular damage). Fried foods also = trans-fats. Not good. Consumption of these bad boys can be linked to obesity, heart disease, inflammation, and hormonal imbalance. So if you’re chowing down fried foods, chances are your skin is going to struggle to stay perfect.
P R O C E S S E D F O O D S are magical foods that can survive for weeks, months or even years in your cupboard or on the supermarket shelf…because they contain a cocktail of preservatives, additives, dyes, false flavourings, and very few beautifying nutrients (/none). So keep it up! Lol, jokes. Unless you’re keen on inflammation and free radicals running riot in your body, and your blood sugars being thrown straight into the bin (hello, acne/wrinkles/hormonal breakouts!). Seriously, go fresh or go home - you'll look and feel so much better!
A L C O H O L - because you don’t make bad skin with a salad! Alcohol is similar to sugar (and often full of it) in that overconsumption totally disrupts hormone balance. It is also provides your liver with stress, which is a big no-no as optimal liver function is vital for removing baddies from your system via detoxification, and affects proper blood flow to the skin.
C A F F E I N E is a major cause of increased cortisol – the body’s stress hormone – resulting in wrinkles and belly flab, and not just the jitters. Caffeine throws out your body’s pH levels, and overburdens your liver and adrenal glands. Oh, and it prevents good, restful beauty sleep.
So we’ve narrowed it down a little (or a lot for some!), but what should you actually be putting in to get an inside out glow?
I N D I V I D U A L I T Y is key when it comes to forming a perfect, healthy diet. What works for some won’t necessarily work for all, but start with the basics and consider your own environment, digestive system, allergies or intolerances, and deficiencies to tailor your own beautifying diet.
W H O L E F O O D S – that is foods in their natural states – contain far higher amounts of beauty giving nutrients, vitamins and minerals than their processed counterparts, and are more easily digested, broken down and absorbed too. Opt for organic wherever possible, and consume raw or lightly cooked.
V A R I E T Y will help to prevent a boring beauty diet. Get out the recipe books, jump on the web, or concoct some delicious made-up recipes of your own. And eat seasonally! Mother Nature has basically chosen the most nutritious fruits and vegetables for the season for you – all you have to do is gobble them down.
C O L O U R in fruit and vegetables indicates high concentrations of antioxidants and other nutrients. Eat more of the rainbow: natural reds, purples, blues, yellows and greens (not bland white, beige or grey – ew!).
A N T I - I N F L A M M A T O R Y foods reduce inflammation in the body (which we’ve already discovered can cause ‘bad skin’ complaints like acne, eczema, wrinkles, redness and dullness). Unlike baddies like gluten, sugar, and processed or fried foods, plant-based whole foods and healthy, uncooked fats (like avocado, nuts & seeds, virgin olive oil and coconut oil) are natural anti-inflammatories.
Of course, some skin complaints can be caused or worsened by particular underlying health issues; but a dietary overhaul can be the kick-start you need. So…Congratulations! Eating for beauty level complete. Now go forth and glow!
Reference: Eat Pretty, by Jolene Hart.