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  5. The Best Diets For A Healthy & Glowing Skin

Did you think skincare products could fix all your skin woes? If you’ve been spending a major chunk of your time and money on purchasing creams and serums for that envy-worthy glow, stop!

You do need to protect your skin with external products. However, your diet plays a major role in healing your skin from within and bringing that much-needed glow. Similarly, the wrong foods can do the exact opposite and worsen your skin issues.

Here is a comprehensive guide on how to get healthy skin through what you eat.

How Exactly Does Diet Affect Your Skin?

Scientific research has already established strong links between your diet and prevention of skin aging or acne breakouts [1]. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a low-glycemic diet that consists of fresh vegetables and fruits may lead to fewer pimples by preventing your blood sugar levels from shooting up. [2]

A recent study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology this year has found a connection between skin inflammation and a sugar-rich diet. [3] Studies have concluded that adding more fresh vegetables and fruits to your diet may be the safest, healthiest and most effective way to youthful looking skin. [4]

What Are The Best Diets For Healthy Skin?

1. The Vegan Diet

From being a fringe movement, Veganism has become a mainstream diet culture and lifestyle today for a reason! In addition to animal welfare, a plant-based diet that completely eliminates animal products including dairy, eggs and honey can do wonders for your skin!

Besides getting rid of pimples, following a plant-based diet and a Vegan lifestyle can clear up your skin, give you a bright complexion and help prevent bloating.

Dairy, however, gives your body the Calcium and Vitamin D it needs. So before you cut it out of your life, speak to a nutritionist or doctor about how you can balance your diet.

2. The Sugar-Free Vegetarian Diet

If, however, Veganism is too hardcore for you, you can simply opt for a Vegetarian diet by eliminating sugar. This helps clear blemishes and makes your skin look youthful. This diet will also give you a brighter complexion and prevent acne outbreaks.

Sugar leaves skin looking dehydrated and breaks down collagen, a protein that provides structure to your skin. Sugar interferes with the protein’s ability to do this.

According to research findings based on a study conducted among 24,452 participants, consumption of milk, sugary beverages and fatty and sugary products have a direct association to acne in adults. [5]

3. The Good Fats

Yes, some fats are good and some are bad! For a diet rich in the healthy fats, consume walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, soy, canola oil, avocados and oily fish.

Eliminate artificial trans fats from your diet and substitute them with polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in vegetable oils, salmon, mackerel, trout, catfish) and monounsaturated fatty acids (found in olive oil, avocados, sunflower oil).

Polyunsaturated fats keep the skin naturally hydrated. These foods also help lower cholesterol levels and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.

Saturated fats, found in meat, poultry and eggs, and artificial trans fats found to some extent in processed food may increase total blood cholesterol. You can eliminate trans fats while limiting intake of saturated fats.

Research studies have earlier linked high intake of saturated fat from meat with greater risk of cardiovascular diseases. [6]

4. The Collagen-rich Diet

Collagen is the protein you need if you want your skin to have an improved texture. Ensure that your diet is rich in antioxidants that helps protect your skin's collagen and keeps it young-looking.

Play around with a rainbow of colours when it comes to picking your veggies and fruits - carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, kale, beans, bell peppers and pumpkin are all known to boost your body’s collagen production.

Oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, lemons, berries, papaya, guava are also known to enhance collagen in your skin, boosting your skin’s health and keeping it supple and youthful.

Chicken, egg whites, green tea and certain nuts like cashews are known to enhance the body’s ability to create collagen, while sugar and processed carbs can damage it.

5. The Low-GI Diet

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a value given to different foods based on how they increase the body’s blood glucose levels.

When you eat foods high on the Glycemic Index, such as white bread, it could elevate hormones, activating oil glands in the skin, which ultimately leads to acne breakouts.

A study conducted among women with acne showed that they reported a 20% drop in testosterone levels in seven days after they switched to a low GI diet. [7]

A low-glycemic diet can control your blood sugar levels from shooting up and has been known to reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases among other conditions.

Foods low on the Glycemic Index include whole grains, chickpeas, lentils, sweet potatoes, apples, grapefruit. Foods to avoid include white bread, white rice, cereal, sweet baked goods.

6. The Seafood Bounty Diet

You get a lot of the good fats through fish, which plays a big role in cell repair and reduces inflammation in the body. Fishes that are considered the most healthy include salmon, mackerel and tuna.

As you grow older, your body may lose its power to naturally produce collagen. So making it a part of our daily diet today is important.

Other great sources of Omega-3’s (one of the good fats) include shrimp, herring, sardines, lobsters and halibut. Nutritionists recommend making two portions of oily fish a part of your weekly diet.

Selenium, an important antioxidant that protects the skin from the effects of sun damage is found in certain fresh and saltwater fishes while lobsters and crabs are a rich source of zinc, which helps repair skin damage and is important for normal functioning of oil-producing glands in the skin.

Super Foods For Great Skin

1. Tomatoes

The humble tomato is packed with Vitamin C and protects the skin from sun damage and restores the natural glow of your skin. They contain antioxidants and bountiful minerals and vitamins which earn them a place in many face packs as well.

2. Olive Oil

Sprinkle a generous dash of olive oil in your healthy salad full of leafy, crunchy veggies. Olive oil has many reported benefits, including reversing the damage caused by harmful UV rays. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which keep your heart healthy as well.

3. Almonds

Almonds are packed with Vitamin E that protects skin cells from damage and gives your skin a natural glow. You can toss in some nuts in your salad or pack some almonds for snacks. Almonds and hazelnuts both contain essential ingredients for healthy skin.

4. Berries

Berries are a natural source of a large number of vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytoestrogens which will help maintain your natural hormone balance. Phytoestrogens are found in soybean and wholegrains as well.

5. Water

Are you surprised to see something as elementary as water on this list? Well, it’s here for a reason. If you’re not consuming the adequate amount of water, your skin can appear dull, is less elastic and may have blemishes. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will rid the skin of toxins and it can also fend off pimple breakouts. Moisturizing your skin, both inside and out, is vital. So, if you want that glow, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

6. Fatty Fish

Fishes such as salmon and mackerel are rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, known as a good fat, and also provide you with Selenium, which helps prevent aging of the skin. Fish oil has also been proven to have cosmetic benefits- they can help prevent sun-related damage and keep your skin hydrated. [8]

7. Avocado

Avocados are the go-to foods for a healthy skin. They are known to have a range of health benefits including lowering your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Avocados contain essential nutrients Vitamin E and C which helps prevent aging of the skin.

8. Chocolate & Red Wine

Not all pleasures cause guilt, you can chow away on dark chocolate and enjoy that occasional glass of red wine. Although you may have to say no to sugar-drizzled chocolates and candies, the darker variety of chocolates - with 70% or more cocoa - is actually good for your skin. It can protect your skin from aging and prevent wrinkling.

Also, cut out alcohol from your life as it does no good for your skin. What pairs well with your skin is that occasional glass of red wine. Red wine, made from dark grapes is rich in antioxidant content. Moderate intake of red wine is beneficial for your skin. It can reduce inflammation and soften the damages caused to your skin by smoking.

Can Diets Cause Any Skin Issues?

Yes! There are certain diets high in processed and fried foods, sugars, etc. that can cause acne and several other skin problems.

Studies have shown that a diet rich in foods high on the glycemic index as well as consumption of milk and ice cream have a direct link to the development of acne. [9] There is also research that has found that consuming more trans fats, milk and saturated fats can only worsen your acne. [10]

Here are some foods you should avoid:

1. White Bread

White bread is high up on the glycemic index and in simple terms, is terrible for your skin. You may want to make the switch to a low GI alternative in this case.

2. Spicy Food

Foods that are too spicy can trigger inflammation and cause flushing of the skin among some people. If you absolutely cannot do without a little spice in your palate, save and savour it for special occasions only.

3. Sugar

Laying off the sugar is perhaps one of the simplest ways to a clearer skin. Processed sugar found in baked goods and beverages is known to cause wrinkles and make your skin age faster. Try a sugar-free diet for a few weeks to start with-consult your nutritionist or dietician before doing this.

4. Alcohol

Eliminating alcohol from your life may seem more like a lifestyle choice rather than a dietary choice but alcohol can have disastrous effects on your skin health. It dries out your skin and makes it look dull. If you want to wake up with a clear, glowing skin and not a puffy, dried-out look, it may be time to start laying off the alcohol.

5. Energy drinks

Soft drinks and energy drinks loaded with sugar and caffeine affects the natural skin cell functions and causes premature aging. The high sugar and caffeine content causes both acute and chronic inflammation of the skin.

Wrapping Up

Are you all set to make dietary changes a priority in your skin care routine? Before you start cutting out foods from your diet, it is recommended that you consult a registered nutritionist. It is important to provide the right foods to fuel your body and along with a nutritionist, you need to create a customised meal plan that works towards your goal: flawless skin.

If you suffer from any common skin condition including acne and eczema, dietary changes could prevent inflammation. If you are looking at changing up your diet to beat common skin blemishes and eat your way to great skin, we recommend you consult a dietician today to chalk out a meal plan that ensures your body gets all the nutrients it needs.

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