Foods For The Face: Top 10 Eating Tips for Healthy Skin

With the winter season upon us, our faces will, well, face all the challenges that come with the weather, the holidays, and the early darkness. Dry skin. Dark circles. Binge eating. Poor food choices or comfort eating to stave off blahs. All these seasonal discomforts and more affect your health, your mood, and your face.

While healthy looking skin is just one aspect of your overall picture of health and wellness, it’s the one everyone notices right away and therefore demands proper attention and nurturing. There are many ways to obtain a natural radiant look that shows you are aging gracefully and beautifully in a way that defies your years. But one of the simplest ways to start is by watching what and how you eat.

Here are my top 10 tips to ensure your diet is providing the right ingredients for healthy skin during the winter months and beyond.

1. Hydrate with Omega fatty acids.

Keeping your skin well-hydrated from the inside out is one of the best ways to prevent dry skin and wrinkles. Omega fatty acids -3, -6, and -9 found in healthy fats and oils are vital because they become part of the skin cell walls.

“If the skin cell walls are plump and healthy, the skin will look more hydrated and dewy as well,” said Paula Simpson, a nutricosmetics formulation expert and beauty nutritionist.

Salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, coconut oil, olive oil and avocado are all great choices. 

2. Cut out inflammatory foods.

“Foods that create inflammation are pro-aging,” said Dr. Frank Lipman, an integrative and functional medicine physician and author of The New Health Rules. Too much sugar makes your skin susceptible to wrinkles, thereby making you age quicker. Nix processed, packaged and fast foods, as well as gluten, dairy and sugar.

3. Boost multi-vitamins with leafy green vegetables.

Broccoli, kale, spinach and mustard greens will keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Green juices are also an easy way to help absorb the nutrients more quickly.

“It’s like a liquid multi-vitamin full of antioxidants,” Lipman said. Be sure to limit the added sugar and fruits with a high glycemic load. 

4. Increase intake of Amino acids.

Another cause of wrinkles is the weakening of collagen and elastin in the skin that happens as we age. Amino acids found in protein sources can help rebuild and repair damage. Meat, fish, eggs, tofu, some grains, nuts, and seeds are all excellent sources.

5. Protect with Phytoceramides.

Ceramides are the molecules that keep the skin firm. Production of ceramides starts to slow down naturally over time. “As we age, the epidermis (the skin’s outer layer) thins and weakens, making it susceptible to dehydration and wrinkling,” Simpson said.

Adding more Phytoceramides, plant-based ceramides, into your diet will replenish supplies to help to protect the skin’s outer layer. Look for recipes that include wheat germ, brown rice, spinach and beets.

6. Add more Antioxidants.

Too much time out in the sun is a leading cause of aging. The sun creates free radicals that can permanently kill off healthy skin cells. This leads to blemishes, wrinkles, age spots, discoloration, and skin cancer as its most serious consequence. Yet the sun is not the only culprit— an unhealthy diet can do the same. Load up on tomatoes, carrots, kale and pumpkin. These brightly colored, antioxidant-rich foods contain carotenoids that can protect the skin and reverse some of the sun’s damage.

7. Offset salt with Potassium-rich foods.

If you have dark circles under your eyes, it’s probably genetic but they can also be caused by water retention or sodium-rich foods. Many fruits and vegetables, as well as potatoes, nuts, beans, legumes, meat, poultry and fish are potassium-rich and can balance out the sodium. In general, cutting down on your salt intake is a wise choice for your skin and your overall health.

8. Drink Rooibos tea.

As an alternative to coffee, which can dehydrate your skin, try Rooibos tea. This reddish-brown herbal tea is particularly high in polyphenols that help hydrate and protect the skin from premature aging. It’s also known as “African red tea” or “red bush tea”.

9. Promote digestion with fermented foods.

Offset the rich, fatty foods and binge-eating tendencies associated with the holidays by putting good bacteria back into the gut with probiotics, which help regulate digestion and also help skin look healthy. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and fermented vegetables are all probiotic-rich.

10. Don’t forget Water. Water. Water.

Remembering to drink water is so much easier in the warmer months when we are hot, thirsty, and needing refreshment after being active. But dehydration can happen in cold weather months as well, mostly from being in dry, overheated rooms, from increased intake of alcoholic beverages especially around the holidays, and from simply forgetting to drink it. Water eliminates waste, lubricates and cushions joints, keeps your temperature normal and protects sensitive tissues, especially skin. Daily intake recommendations vary greatly but average between 2-4 liters; so the longstanding advice to drink 8 glasses a day is a good, reasonable goal.

BONUS Tip: Try a class in self-help techniques for antiaging and facial rejuvenation. Learn about other natural and effective approaches for achieving healthy skin. Methods like acupressure can be done at home and are relaxing and energizing. They will improve the color of your skin, lift up cheek muscles, reduce jowls, and smooth “worry” wrinkles. Try on yourself and in between professional sessions of acupuncture and microcurrent treatments to tonify and keep your facial muscles in great shape

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