Get Your Glow On: Diet Dos and Don’ts for Healthy Skin

Get Your Glow On: Diet Dos and Don’ts for Healthy Skin

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Glowing skin begins with hydration; water it plentifully and watch it blossom into a dewy countenance. There are those among us who can imbibe the 2, 3, 4 liters* per day needed to quench our (skin's) thirst. But, fret not if you struggle to meet your cup quota, for you can drink your water and eat it too. Vegetables like cucumbers, leafy greens, celery, tomatoes, green peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and radishes are all comprised of more than 90% water. Consider salad your skin’s new best friend. Some fruits, too, like watermelon, cantaloupe, grapefruit, and strawberries boast 90%+ water content, but should be consumed in moderation because of the accompanying sugar content (and not at all if following a ketogenic diet).

Vitalize with vitamins.

Vitamins play offense and defense for our skin, fortifying the foundations of healthy skin and guarding it against free radicals, to which most of us are subjected on a daily basis via sun, stress, and smog. These reactive molecules wage war on our skin, accelerating signs of skin aging such as dullness and uneven tone, fine lines, and loss of elasticity, undermining our best efforts to hydrate, eat clean, and supplement smart. Fortunately, we're not helpless in the trenches -- as long as we’re bringing antioxidant vitamins to the front lines (bonus:read up on vitamin bioavailability to ensure you’re absorbing nutrients in your food!).

  • In high concentrations, Vitamin C promotes the body’s synthesis of collagen, the protein that provides skin with its (youthful) elasticity. Vitamin C also possesses antioxidant properties, protecting healthy skin in tandem with fortifying it. Include broccoli, tomatoes, kale, green bell peppers, brussels sprouts (try them raw and shaved!) in your aforementioned salad for a low-sugar dose of Vitamin C.  
  • Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant. Potent antioxidants fight off free radicals. Fewer free radicals, fewer fine lines and wrinkles. Enough said. Vitamin E can be found most plentifully in nuts and seeds like almonds, macadamia nuts, and sunflower seeds.  
  • Now for a nutrient that might sound foreign to most: CoQ10. Another free-radical warrior, CoQ10 is an antioxidant coenzyme that supports cellular energy production for healthy skin turnover, in addition to - you guessed it - protecting against free radicals. CoQ10 is produced naturally by the body, but less plentifully with age, so try including oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and veggies like spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower to supplement through diet. 
Ditch diet disasters.

    Just assugar is inflammatory to vital organs in the digestive tract, it’s irritating for our skin as well, leading to an oily skin environment, ripe for bacteria overgrowth. Don’t be shocked when clear, glowy skin emerges after a few weeks of following a no sugar/refined carbs diet. Consider it your skin’s “thank you” for hopping off the blood sugar roller coaster. 

    Dairy, too, is a frequent skin perpetrator. Cow’s milk, cheeses, and other dairy products carry hormones that disrupt human hormones and spur inflammation in the form of breakouts, and breakdown of healthy skin cells. 

    Alcohol assails our skin from essentially every angle; you are dehydrating and denaturing antioxidants with every sip. Alcohol is a diuretic, so you are quick to lose precious water on a cocktail-filled eve. Adding insult to injury, alcohol wears down antioxidant levels, impedes your body’s ability to reabsorb water by suppressing regularhormone function, and causes blood vessels to dilate to the effect of a bloated complexion, puffy under eyes, and (potentially chronic) redness.

    *We are talking liters of water, and water only! Other beverages, even (and often) those marketed as hydrating, are chock-full of sugars that inflame your skin and undermine your best hydration efforts. Pro tip: add a squeeze of lemon or a handful of cucumber slices to your water for a hint of flavor without the sugar spike. 

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