I LOVE COOKIES…..I really do, it is my biggest weakness! I am well aware of what the food pyramid says I should be eating, but everyone knows its harder in practice to eat healthy all the time. I have recently been reading more scientific articles detailing how diet affects the skin and its health and it has made me more aware of what I an ingesting.
In general, to sum it all up, a healthy diet can impact not just the age you look but also acne, psoriasis, eczema, itchiness, rosacea, and more!(stay tuned for other blog posts on these other dermatology disorders) Low glycemic diets help the skin look more youthful. Low Glycemic diet means limiting any processed food, avoiding potatoes, crackers, chips, bread(especially white bread), pasta, and sugar. Diets containing beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, oatmeal, flaxseed etc …are the gold standard! I found it helpful to think about what the certain types of food were doing inside my body by grouping them into a few categories like vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, beverages, and fat.
PREVENT VITAMIN DEFICIENCIES
Believe it or not, Americans can actually have some vitamin deficiencies! This is because the typical American diet isn’t extremely well-rounded or plant/natural food based. It contains so much processed food, heavily salted, or sugar additives. You could encorporate vitamin C and E for antioxidants or vitamin D and calcium(especially if you are a woman for bone strength) or biotin for hair/nail benefits. However, I am not suggesting you do that via supplements. In fact, all these vitamins and more are found in food. Think of your fruits, vegetables and dairy products as providing an excellent baseline level of these important vitamins. Each time you pick up an orange or eat a leafy green salad with kale/spinach greens consider it part of your vitamin intake. Having some minor deficiencies of vitamins can make skin more rough, scaly, and easily irritated. Theoretically, with excellent diets, perhaps less individuals would be prone to itchy skin, vague dermatitis conditions, or dry flaking skin.
FLUSH IT OUT
Think of fiber as the way you can flush your body of the toxins. Whether the “toxinS” are the very unhealthy meals you had on vacation or the alcohol you consumed last weekend during a family celebration… or just bits of processed foods, red meat, sugar etc that you ate as part of your regular diet. Fiber helps food move more quickly through your digestive track. This means any harmful material does not have as much time to contact your intestines.
Antioxidants are a way to reverse the damage you have done!!! Antioxidants can repair DNA damage caused by unhealthy behaviors like tanning/sunburns, unhealthy eating, the aging process and more! Each time you pick up fruits and vegetables or drink a cup of green tea think about your body repairing any past assault from the environment.
PLUMP IT UP
Water, Water, Water! It can be sparkling water or distilled water but water will be #1 on the list of beverages you need to be consuming. Try to drink a minimum of 8 glasses a day. Think of the water as plumping all the cells on your face as you take a sip. When the cells are plump and full your facial skin will look more healthy, glowing, and youthful. Water also helps to moisturize the rest of your skin and keep it from getting irritated by outside factors like cold weather, low humidity, and allergens. If you drink anything else regularly it really should only be green tea and coffee or red wine(but in moderation).
Fats can be healthy if they come from nuts, flaxseed, healthy fish sources. Fatty acids are in every cell of your body and if you don’t have enough fats you are more prone to inflammation, skin infections, water loss. Fatty acids also keep your skin plump and ageless.
In summary, I found it helpful to rather than focus on eliminating something I love like cookies to focus on the positives. So as I ate a 1/2cup of peas and an apple for a snack today, I was thinking about how the protein, fiber, and vitamins were going to help keep me healthy from the inside all the way to the outside (i.e. skin). With any luck, my skin will be glowing tomorrow morning and I will look 10 years younger…… oh well. Bon Appetit!
Dr. Andrea LaTorre is a practicing dermatologist in Columbus, OH at Central Ohio Skin & Cancer