Feed Skin from Within: A Holistic Approach to a Healthy Complexion
Sure, we’re great at slathering and pat, pat, patting on our skincare twice a day, but what about what we feed our skin through sleep and diet? It matters more than you think.
Just as the key to weight loss and general fitness involves not only exercise but also food, healthy skin isn’t just about the products we use to cleanse, hydrate, and nourish it. Our dietary habits and lifestyle influence the way our skin looks and ages. You might have heard people talk about their skin clearing up after they eliminated dairy or sugar, or seen that photo of the female trucker whose face was crazy wrinkled on one side because of sun exposure while she was driving all those long hauls. It’s important to pay attention to what you’re feeding your skin from the inside. And hey, an additional benefit of ingesting adequate amounts of vitamins and all the other good stuff will be an overall improvement in your health.
Get your 5 a day
I don’t know about you, but I love me some roasted Brussels sprouts. Carrots, broccoli, green beans, and sautéed greens, too. But a lot of the time, unless I make a concerted effort, I don’t eat as much as I should. So I try to find creative ways to pack colorful vegetables and nutritious fruit into my diet. Green smoothies are a great way to do this. Thanks to the formula of liquid base + leafy greens + fruit + healthy fat, you get a nice, healthy serving of deliciousness. And if you swap out the water for a base like green tea, almond milk, or coconut water, you could get even more of a boost.
Try a blend of spinach, coconut water, pineapple, and avocado for a skin detoxifying treat. The antioxidant power of vitamin C from the spinach and pineapple will help with cell turnover, while the avocado provides a dose of vitamins A and E, as well as zinc. There are a ton of recipes out there, so go wild!
Drink up, beautiful!
Water is the real adult beverage, not soda or alcohol. With the endless bounty of fizzy, sugary drinks and gimmicky beverages available in every store and vending machine, it’s easy to fill your liquid quota with anything but H20. Water hydrates, flushes out the system, carries oxygen and nutrients through the body, aids digestion, regulates temperature, and so much more! The human body is 60% water so it makes sense that nature’s elixir would provide so many benefits.
You can jazz it up with foods like lemon and cucumber or pieces of your favorite berries and tropical fruits. Some infusions provide other benefits on top of the subtle flavoring. Cucumber in water, for instance, is not only refreshing but also rich in vitamins C, K, and B5, as well as beta carotene and manganese. So the next time you slice up some of those long bois, think about the extra dose of hydration and complexion boost.
Look on the shelves of your grocery store aisles and you’ll notice pretty quickly that we live in a society that’s pretty averse to fat in food. I’m not saying we should all be eating fried chicken and Cheetos every day, just that when it comes to fat, it’s not so black and white. There is such a thing as good fat. Fat derived from animal protein and sources like nuts and avocado supplies essential fatty acids, which keep the skin supple and protect against free radicals.
Introducing essential fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s can help with everything from dull and dry skin to inflammation, acne, and aging. EFAs (essential fatty acids) are so called because they are fats that our bodies don’t produce naturally but are vital to optimal body function and radiant skin. In the same way that moisturizing skin properly balances sebum production for oilier skin types, a diet consisting of an adequate amount of essential fatty acids balances hydration from within. Lend your skin a helping hand by eating more salmon, adding some flaxseed to your bowl of oatmeal, or otherwise incorporating one of the many other sources of healthy fats into your diet.
Eat the right kinds of carbs
Where are all my carb lovers? Do you weep when you imagine a life without creamy tortellini, warm cinnamon rolls, rice, and even plain bread and butter? I feel you. Don’t panic, you can still eat starches. You’ve just gotta switch them out for the healthier versions.
Eating your recommended daily servings of fruit, veg, and nutrient-rich whole foods goes hand in hand with avoiding the foodstuffs that are bad for you. When you make your meals, pair leafy greens and omega-rich fish with low/moderate-GI carbs like whole grain pasta, sweet potato, and beans. The Glycemic Index was created to help diabetics keep their blood sugar under control and can help you prevent acne and inflammation by managing your body’s insulin levels. When you eat high-GI foods like white bread and sugary cereals, they quickly convert into glucose, triggering a quick spike in the body’s blood glucose, which in turn cause inflammation. Avoiding high GI-foods is also great for sufferers of hormonal disorders like PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).
Catch some Zs
Quality sleep will do wonders for your energy levels and mood as well as give you a well-rested look that might let you skip the under-eye concealer. While you sleep, your skin works to recover from the stress and tension of the day. Nighttime is also the period when your skin produces more collagen. So if you want that youthful, glowing, wrinkle-free countenance, turn yourself into a human burrito and dream of pleasant things.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep each night for adults. Depending on certain factors such as age, pregnancy, or health issues, you might need more. To make sure you get enough sleep each night, create and stick to a consistent sleep schedule. When you fall asleep at a particular time each night, your body will eventually adjust to that schedule, and it’ll get easier to drift off. Start winding down for the night at least an hour before bedtime, minimizing screen time or at least using a blue light filter if you absolutely have to read that latest bestseller.
In the end, what matters in addition to everything else is that whatever diet you choose in your holistic approach to skincare should be tailored to fit you and your needs. The listicles and trends might say one thing, but you don’t want to do damage to your health or just make yourself unhappy by embracing a diet that’s not right for you. Your mileage, after all, may vary. Also keep in mind that it’ll take a while to reap the benefits of an improved dietary regimen. Just like your skin has a turnover period, your body needs time to adjust and recalibrate. But stick with it, and you’ll be a glowy, well-rested, energized godperson in no time.