The expression “you are what you eat” may be more accurate than you think. There are many factors that contribute to the clear, glowing, blemish-free skin everyone strives for. Some foods—depending on their vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content—can actually help promote healthy skin.
The Effects of Inflammation
According to Dr. Frank Lipman, founder of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, "Your skin is your largest organ and a window into what's going on inside your body. Poor food choices that cause inflammation can lead to numerous skin issues. Processed foods break down quickly and turn to sugar, causing a spike in insulin. Scientists have found that more insulin means more acne! Processed foods are also made with processed, man-made oils, such as canola oil, soybean oil, and other 'vegetable oils,' which are proinflammatory. And more inflammation means more acne."
The Benefits of Eating Clean
In traditional Chinese medicine the skin is related to the intestines, or the gut, and it is only now in Western medicine that we are beginning to associate the link between the skin and the gut.
“I tell my patients that what they put in their mouths is as important as the products they apply on their skin,” says Dr. Jessica Wu, dermatologist and creator of Dr. Jessica Wu Skincare. “Foods get digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body can use to build healthy skin. If you crash diet or eat highly processed foods, your skin won’t be as strong and supple as it could be.”
At Provenance Meals, we know that beauty comes from the inside out. That’s why we prepare nutrient-dense meals that include a rainbow of vegetables, healthy fats and clean, sustainably-sourced protein. And we eliminate inflammatory foods that are associated with troubled skin — specifically dairy, processed carbohydrates, refined sugars and industrial oils.
Our meals are prepared in Brooklyn, NY with only whole foods and ingredients in their natural, unprocessed state sourced from organic purveyors and local farmers.
Our Food Rules for Beautiful, Glowing Skin
- Avoid blood sugar spikes. We use only natural sweeteners, such as raw honey, blackstrap molasses, coconut sugar and real maple syrup from New York state in our meals and detox programs, and avoid all refined sugars.
- Healthy fats such as coconut, nuts, seeds and avocado are essential to your health. We use extra virgin olive oil and organic virgin coconut oil, making sure to steer clear of industrial seed oils.
- Be good to your gut. We ferment and culture foods to provide important probiotics to the gut. Our meals are full of fiber which provide important prebiotics as well.
- Eliminate processed carbohydrates. Bread, pasta, crackers cereals and other refined flour foods cause insulin spikes, which in turn can lead to acne. We keep our meals 100% gluten-free and focused on whole, not processed, foods.
- Stay hydrated. The skin is about 70% water, so we keep our daily water intake high and avoid diuretics like coffee and caffeinated sodas.
- Detoxify. An occasional detox program can help with the elimination of toxins in the body and kickstart that healthy glow!
Essential Nutrients for Healthy Skin
Vitamin A is an active ingredient found in many skin treatment lotions and pills like Accutane. It's used in synthetic form to help clear up severe acne and ease symptoms of psoriasis, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center . Too much vitamin A can cause toxic side effects, so talk to your doctor before taking supplements. Good sources include spinach, carrots, pumpkin, broccoli and eggs.
Zinc is a mineral that may prevent acne by making it difficult for the bacteria that causes acne to grow, reports WebMD . Some reports show that people who have acne have lower than normal levels of zinc. You can find zinc in turkey, nuts and seeds.
Whole grains are great for your overall health, and may be good for your face, too. A study in the American Journal of Nutrition suggests you might have fewer breakouts if you eat more whole grains. Whole gluten-free grains include brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat.
Selenium is an essential mineral found in the body that fights damage from free radicals, including to the skin. One study found that selenium, paired with vitamin E, may improve acne. Sources of selenium include Brazil nuts and halibut.
Omega-3 fatty acids help ease inflammation, which can sometimes lead to skin problems. You can find omega-3s in seafood, particularly fatty fish like salmon and sardines, as well as walnuts, flaxseed oil and almonds.
Antioxidants can help protect the skin against some of the damage you get from the sun and from aging. But smaller studies have shown that they may also ease breakouts. Find them in green tea and foods that have vitamin C (oranges, lemons, tomatoes) and vitamin E (sweet potatoes, avocadoes, spinach).
Probiotics are the good bacteria that help with digestive health. New research shows that they may also help with the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology notes that people prone to acne may find improvement with daily probiotic use.