We all know that the foods you eat have an impact on your overall health and how your skin looks. But, how do you take the "big picture" view into practical choices for your next meal?
Focus on the simplicity of a healthy diet.
Eat mostly fresh and raw or minimally cooked veggies and fruits – peels included when possible.
Include beans, course whole grains, nuts, seeds, healthy omega 3 oils (like salmon and olive oil) and lean proteins in your diet filled with fresh produce.
Limit sugary high GI refined foods. Eat them as "treats" and on top of a tummy filled with the good stuff.
Yes, it takes intention and preparation to carry out the good intention of resisting quick snack foods and mouthwatering aromas of buttery, rich foods. Complexion challenging foods are everywhere.
Can you just "cheat," eat whatever you want, take supplements, and still get great skin and optimal health?
Sorry, the answer is no. Mother nature is not easily fooled.The complex components of real foods are what your body needs. For example, your body will readily absorb the betacarotene in an avocado because it’s accompanied by healthy plant fats, including omega 3’s. That avocado is also a rich source of B vitamins, vitamin C, K, etc. This is what your body wants. In return, it will give you great skin. There is no dietary bypass, miracle supplement or superfood. The "secret"’ is a continuous supply of fresh veggies and fruit, whole foods rich in good fats, vitamins and antioxidants, and an overall diet that has a low to moderate glycemic index.
Set yourself up for success and keep it simple.
If your pantry and fridge aren’t ready to support this healthy diet, go shopping! Here are some of my favorite quick hacks to eat a rainbow of produce, good fats and low GI foods:
Slice carrots and apples for snacking throughout the day.
Carry a small Ziplock bag of roasted nuts when you’re out.
Carry another small Ziplock bag with dried figs (added benefit of being high in bioavailable calcium) and other dried fruits to fend off a sweet tooth.
Keep lettuce washed and ready in the fridge along with grated cabbage and carrots for a quick salad (I toss with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice or vinegar and a pinch of salt.)
Note that each dinner plate is ideally 1/3 salad every night, 1/3 cooked veggies and 1/3 lean protein/bean and/or a course grain.For lunch:
Pack dinner leftovers for lunch.
Smash a half avocado with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt, and dip course grain or seed crackers in it.
Sandwich lovers can build a sandwich full of veggies along with some lean protein on a single slice of course, whole grain bread topped with a leaf of lettuce.
Try a small helping of unsweetened yogurt, sliced fresh fruit and some nuts.
Boil oats or another course grain and add a small dollop of yogurt topped with fruit and nuts.
Carry a bottle of water with you during the day to resist the sugary-drink temptation.
Want more great tips on how a healthy diet and skin care go together?
Interested in reading more about healthy eating?See Part 3 of this series here.References:Silke K. Schagen, et. al., Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging, Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jul 1; 4(3): 298–307.doi: 10.4161/derm.22876Latreille J, Kesse-Guyot E, Malvy D, Andreeva V, Galan P, et al. (2012) Dietary Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Intake and Risk of Skin Photoaging. PLoS ONE 7(9): e44490. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044490