Dr. Bailey's Top Diet Tips for Great Skin - Part 1
Eat the Rainbow of Fresh Produce
My first diet tip for great skin is to start from the inside out. This is powerful because skin is your body’s biggest organ, and it reflects your internal vitality – for better or worse. Skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and skin-aging are all driven by your body’s physiology towards or away from inflammation. Degenerative changes are driven by oxidative, free-radical-induced damage. The physiology of inflammation and the mechanism of oxidative damage are both dependent on diet choices that you make.
Make choices that discourage inflammation and oxidative damage, and expect to see your complexion reflect the youthful vitality, too. - Dermatologist Dr. Bailey
It’s the New Year. You're motivated to make good choices, but now what? You see articles touting "superfoods" for radiant skin, miracle supplements, "eat this and not that" articles. But, where’s the truth and how do you put it into practice in your life – affordably and easily? Take the "big picture" view, and don’t focus on the minutia of superfoods, supplements or gimmicks.
Eat mostly fresh veggies and fruit.
Think of your diet as a pyramid with the broadest portion at the bottom supporting the smaller and smaller layers at the top. Produce is the bottom of the pyramid. Each day, fill up with fresh produce. Eat them raw or cooked, and crowd out the junk with a tummy full of produce! Why?
Produce is filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body must have for optimal health and to fight inflammation.
For example, antioxidants like beta carotene (yellow/orange color in fruit and veggies) help your skin to resist sun damage and other, free-radical mediated insults like stress, pollution, etc. Beta carotene is also the most important dietary source of Vitamin A, which is also critical for healthy skin. Another example is the antioxidant lycopene (red color in produce like tomatoes, papayas, etc.). It’s proven to protect your skin, too.
Polyphenol antioxidants are another group of super heroes as antioxidants.
You get them from plants. There are several thousand types of polyphenols (curcumin from turmeric, resveratrol from grapes, etc.), and you want as many as possible to have them all fighting the good fight against aging and disease, including with your skin. How your food is prepared either preserves or destroys polyphenols – and fresh and raw is best. Simply snack on raw produce, or eat salads each day. You also get polyphenols in green tea (don’t boil it), coffee, red wine, dried beans, and chocolate – thank goodness – and these all come from plants!
Fruits and veggies also are rich in vitamins, including Vitamin C, which is important for wound healing and collagen formation.
Performing "double duty," Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant to help defend your skin from UV damage. Rich sources include citrus, kiwi, parsley, etc. The list goes on and on, and you’ve heard it all before. What’s important is that they come from fresh produce. It’s also important to know that these antioxidants and vitamins work best when you sustain high levels in your skin, meaning keeping your tummy full of the rainbow of produce daily.
Eat abundantly from the rainbow of veggies and fruits. Be naturally-antioxidant and vitamin-infused. Your complexion will have the warm beta-carotene glow, fend off skin problems and stand up well to stressors.
Want to learn more about diet tips from the dermatologist for great skin?
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.22876
Latreille 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