AntiAging, Nutrition, Skin, Beautiful Skin, Foods for Healthy Skin, Skin Nutrition, Nutriton for Youthful Skin
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Becoming Beautylicious
by Mitzi Dulan, RD

With all the buzz surrounding natural and organic foods, you are probably well aware that eating nutritious foods can not only do wonders for your figure, but it can also offer improved energy and a longer, healthier life.  Well, it’s time to add another plus to the list!  Dietitians and health professionals around the world are advocating the benefits of some foods with a new twist- enhancing outer beauty.  Scientists know that sunlight, smoking, genetics, and poor eating habits can all cause your skin to age prematurely. In fact, unhealthy eating can accelerate the aging process due to a poor intake of foods with vital nutrients and antioxidants that help to protect and repair your skin. The link between beauty and nutrition indicates that healthy, radiant skin and the reduced appearance of wrinkles can now be attributed to many of the same foods found in a well-balanced diet.  Who knew that foods could make your skin look fabulous, too?
            Well, not all food. Certain food products boast a list of almost impossible to pronounce skin-and-artery-cloggers.  That processed stuff will do absolutely nothing for your skin.  However, there are some nutrient all-stars that pack tons of skin-rejuvenating antioxidants and vitamins in them.  Interestingly enough, some of these benefits can only be obtained topically. Several cosmetic companies have really taken note, choosing to pack their products with nourishing ingredients.  Unfortunately, it seems like many have yet to receive the memo.  Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, if you wouldn’t put it in your body, why would you ever put it on your body?  So let’s take a look at the foods and ingredients to avoid and which ones you should include more either in your diet or on your skin.

Worst Foods for Your Skin

  1. Sugar: eating sugar is problematic since it increases insulin levels leading to inflammation and aging. Sugar can also cause a loss of the elastic resilience of young skin which can lead to wrinkles and stiff, inflexible skin. A diet high in sugar can also create acne problems.
  2. Alcohol: tends to dry out your skin and may cause an expansion of your blood vessels leading to red spots and itchiness.
  3. Foods with trans and saturated fats: you should avoid all trans-fats (labeled as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) and minimize saturated fat intake not only for your health but also for your skin. These ingredients can produce harmful byproducts for the skin as well as cause inflammation and wrinkles.

            If you’re not already getting the recommended amount of water each day, let me give you one reason why you should start. Wrinkles. Oops, did I say that word out loud?  No one wants to talk about them, but here’s the deal.  Well-moisturized skin is less prone to developing wrinkles.  Who would have thought that oily skin could be a blessing in disguise?  But, if that’s not enough.  Water is a natural purifier that rids the body of wastes and toxins.  Regular consumption of water flushes the toxins out of the body at a healthy rate while poor water consumption keeps them inside.  One nutrition myth that has survived the test of time is the notion we all need 8 glasses of water a day. In fact, the best way to calculate your daily water needs is to take your body weight (pounds) and divide by 2. This is the number of ounces of water you should drink each day. Just be sure to keep your water bottle handy and you will be well on your way to glowing skin!

Vitamin C
            Let’s talk wrinkles some more.  There is a substantial amount of scientific evidence that touts vitamin C as a key player in the reduction of wrinkles.  It actively promotes the formation of collagen and elastin, the substances responsible for young skin’s characteristic firmness and elasticity.  To get the most benefit, topical is the way to go. It will directly stimulate your skin’s immune system and, as an antioxidant, protect it from skin-damaging free radicals.

Vitamin E
            Another great antioxidant. Studies have also shown that vitamin E is useful in reducing the appearance of scars.  This is excellent news for those of you who may have suffered from acne at some point and are left with residual scarring. Also, vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. Just another reminder that a small amount of healthy fat is a good thing! Some good sources include: wheat germ oil, almonds, sunflower seeds and peanut better.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
            Who doesn’t want soft, smooth skin? Particularly if your skin is naturally dry, you are likely craving that silky feeling. Consumption of essential omega-3 fatty acids can help you get there. Omega 3’s are found in salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed, among others. The skin softness is attained through the synthesis of a specific prostaglandin under the epidermal layer that is stimulated by this fatty acid. Many people have an inadequate intake of foods rich in omega-3’s.  If you fall under this category, supplementation is might be necessary.

            The key to younger looking skin is a high turnover of its cells. This process slows down as we age, beginning at around every 40 days until eventually approaching 74 days. Copper peptides are known for their regenerative and remodeling capacities which can help make up for the slowing of this process. Topical use may visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines while smoothing and firming the skin.

Beta Carotene
            This is a powerful protector from the sun, even exhibiting mild sunscreen properties. Don’t skimp on the real sunscreen though. Beta carotene is an antioxidant that protects the skin from the harmful oxidative effects of UV rays. Ingestion is the best way to get this nutrient, so be sure to stock up on yellow/orange fruits and veggies!

Alpha Lipoic Acid
This nutrient has been called the universal antioxidant. It can absorb directly into skin cells to promote cell metabolism, allowing for faster regeneration. Topical use can enhance the effect of other antioxidants to protect the skin against free radicals, leaving your skin with a healthy glow!

Mitzi’s Top 12 Beauty Foods

  1. Wild blueberries/regular blueberries
  2. Acai Juice or Smoothies
  3. Prunes
  4. Kale
  5. Spinach
  6. Raisins
  7. Salmon
  8. Pineapple
  9. Green tea
  10. Almonds
  11. Water
  12. Wheat germ

For glowing skin, keep in mind that what you put into your body is even more important than what you put on your skin. By eating a diet high in berries, vegetables, whole grains, salmon, walnuts, water and other beauty foods you will be well on your way to fabulous skin and good health!

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