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How to Put Your Skin on a Diet

Cutting out skin-harming foods and focusing on foods with minerals and vitamins for healthy skin

Written by: 100% PURE®
Health food Main

While hormones, environmental factors, and genetics can all affect the appearance of our skin, our skin is also affected by what we eat. The right foods can help our skin tissue to produce collagen, maintain a healthy bacterial balance, and fight inflammation. The wrong foods can trigger inflammation - causing redness, irritation, and more severe acne.

The best skin hack of all is - write this down - a healthy diet! We at 100% PURE believe in a holistic approach to skin health; that’s why we’re going over some of the best and worst foods for skin health, minerals and vitamins for healthy skin, and the importance of hydration for your skin.

Soda High-Glycemic Foods

If your diet includes a lot of sugar and high-glycemic foods, you could be unknowingly sabotaging your skin (sorry, delicious vegan donuts).

Foods that are high on the glycemic index, such as white bread and other refined carbohydrates, can trigger inflammation throughout your body. Inflammation can cause skin redness, itchiness, and stinging; it can also make your acne more severe, and can contribute to skin aging over time.

Sugary foods can also cause glycation: the breakdown of your skin’s collagen, and substance that promotes elasticity, smoothness, and ‘glow’. When sugar molecules attach themselves to the collagen in your skin, they inhibit that collagen from doing its job, leading to sagging, dull, rough skin.

High-glycemic foods can also contribute to skin pigmentation over time, leading to dark spots and discolored patches. They can also cause your skin to produce more neck hair and facial hair.

Here are some high-glycemic foods that you might want to cut down on in order to boost your skin’s health:

  • Pizza

  • White bread

  • Cakes and pastries

  • Soda

  • Fried foods

  • Packaged chips and cookies

  • Cereal

Vanity Mirror Healthy Fats Vs. Unhealthy Fats

The idea that all fats are bad for you has essentially been myth-busted by now. In reality, your body needs certain fats to fight inflammation and keep your skin healthy. However, it’s important to know the difference between healthy fats and unhealthy fats.

Omega-3 fats: Omega-3 fats have benefits for your entire body, from heart health to brain function. When it comes to your skin, Omega-3s help to reduce inflammation, decreasing the severity of acne and other inflammatory conditions, and potentially easing the onset of skin aging symptoms.

Include these foods in your diet to enjoy the benefits of Omega-3 fats:

  • Seeds and nuts (like chia, hemp, walnuts)

  • Beans (like edamame and kidney)

  • Avocado

  • Seaweed and algae

  • Seafood (especially cold-water fish)

  • Grass-fed beef

  • Eggs

Omega-6 fats: In contrast to Omega-3s, Omega-6 fats can cause inflammation, exacerbating acne and skin aging. Particularly in Western societies, humans are eating more Omega-6 fats than ever, and less Omega-3 fats - a concern for overall health as well as skin health.

The best way to make sure you’re not getting too much Omega-6 is to avoid certain plant oils (particularly cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil), which have high ratios of Omega-6 fat to Omega-3 fat.

Alcohol Caffeine and Alcohol: the Skin Dehydrators

Caffeine and alcohol may be some of your favorite guilty pleasures, but they both have a dehydrating effect on our skin (alcohol also tends to be high in sugar, making it a double-whammy). While a moderate caffeine intake may be perfectly healthy (and even beneficial) for most individuals, it’s important to make sure that you’re not overdoing it.

When your skin is hydrated, your skin cells are better able to perform their metabolic and other cellular functions. This means that hydration significantly boosts your skin’s short-term and long-term health, keeping it looking refreshed and youthful in the moment but also preventing damage further out.

Coffee

When you drink a serving of caffeine or alcohol, remember to replenish your body’s hydration levels with an equal amount of water. If you think that your caffeine or alcohol intake may be causing skin breakouts, dullness, and/or sagging, try cutting down your intake to see how this change affects your skin.

PRO TIP: While overdoing your caffeine intake might be risky, the good news is that using caffeine as a topical skin treatment is actually quite beneficial!

Antioxidants and Your Skin

Antioxidants help to scavenge free radicals, reducing the extent to which they can damage your skin. This makes antioxidant-rich foods incredibly important for skin health. By eating plenty of antioxidants, you can help your skin to look youthful and healthy, limiting the severity of skin damage.

We recommend the following antioxidant-rich foods to promote skin health:

  • Leafy greens (about two handfuls per day)

  • Red- and blue-pigmented berries

  • Fruit, especially citrus fruit

  • Tomatoes

  • Beets

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Onions

  • Artichokes

  • Pumpkin

Important Minerals and Vitamins for Healthy Skin

Many of us are also deficient in certain key nutrients, and the lack of these nutrients can make it harder for our skin to properly heal and restore itself. Food sources are normally more effective than supplements when it comes to delivering vitamins and minerals to your body. Here are some of the most important minerals and vitamins for healthy skin, and some foods in which they can be found:

  • Magnesium: Leafy greens, bananas, tofu, certain nuts and seeds

  • Selenium: Brazil nuts (about one per day), fish, red meat

  • Vitamin B: Avocado, broccoli, lentils, eggs

  • Biotin: Nutritional yeast, almonds, cauliflower, sweet potato, spinach, liver, salmon, dairy, eggs

  • Copper: Dark chocolate, leafy greens, some nuts, shellfish

If you’re interested in learning more about skin-healthy foods and supplements, check out our post on how to Detoxify with 7 Skin Clearing Foods and 6 Supplements for Healthy Skin.

If it seems frustrating and stressful to have to worry about the foods you eat, we recommend taking steps to get yourself excited about healthy food! Try checking out some low-glycemic index blogs and cookbooks, inviting a friend over to cook a healthy meal, or creating a food planner for your week. While maintaining a skin-healthy diet can take patience and planning, it’s a worthwhile endeavor that can be a breakthrough for anyone looking to improve their skin’s appearance.

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