When I first begin working with a new client, they always seem to have the same goal. Most people don't come to me because they want to digest food more efficiently or because they want to improve their memory or heart function. Those are welcome side effects, of course, but the number one concern of all of my clients is the same: "I want to look better."
Well, you can't hope to look better without attending to your body's largest organ - and one that takes a whole lot of abuse: your skin.
Everyone is familiar with the effects of aging on the skin:
- Wrinkling and decreased elasticity
- Dryness and flaking
- Bruising and discoloration
Skin breaks down as you age, and there really isn't anything we can do to stop it. But aside from the normal aging process, poor diet is one of the main culprits in making skin look and feel older.
For instance, did you know that excess sugar in your diet can lead to wrinkles? Or that excess insulin (a side effect of being overweight or obese) contributes to the breakdown of collagen, leading to premature aging? Or that following a healthy eating plan is as good for your skin as it is for your heart and your waistline?
If you've been following the Beyond Diet program for long, you've no doubt noticed that a healthy eating plan works wonders not only for your weight, but also for your long-term health and wellness. But eating a healthy, balanced diet also works wonders for your skin.
Far too many people suffer the effects of premature aging because they aren't eating the nutrients their skin needs to thrive. Luckily, those nutrients are already part of a healthy eating plan. Plus, they're absolutely delicious.
To treat your skin right - and save thousands of dollars on botox and skin creams - make sure you're including the following foods in your diet:
- Citrus fruit and kiwi. Vitamin C is absolutely essential for maintaining healthy, youthful skin, and it's abundant in citrus fruits and kiwi. In fact, some studies have shown that vitamin C-rich diets are more effective at protecting the skin than skin treatments. That's because vitamin C aids in the production of collagen, which helps maintain skin elasticity. Just keep in mind that your body doesn't store vitamin C, so you'll need to include it in your healthy eating plan every day.
- Flaxseed oil. Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce skin scaliness and roughness. Since the typical American diet already includes ample sources of Omega-6s, try adding flaxseed oil to beverages or smoothies to get your Omega-3s. You can use flax seeds as well (try them on top of salads or in cereal or oatmeal), but make sure they're ground, as your body cannot utilize the nutrients in whole flax seeds.
- Berries. It's easy to forget that your skin is actually an organ - let alone your largest organ - and that free radicals wreak havoc on it, too. Luckily, the antioxidants in berries fight against the free radicals that damage your skin and cause wrinkles.
- Orange foods. Orange fruits and veggies - think carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes - are excellent sources of vitamin A, which maintains outer epithelial tissue. Deficiencies in vitamin A can cause dry, rough, or bumpy skin.
In addition to following a healthy eating plan, make sure to use sunscreen, stay hydrated, and don't smoke, since cigarette smoking prematurely ages skin.