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!).
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.
We are big proponents of hitting our local greenmarket and frequenting the farm stand over the pharmacy. But, if you’re looking to diversify your plant-based diet further, let’s dive a little deeper, into the depth of freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds, home to one of the planet’s most nutrient-dense foods: blue-green algae.