Go Low Glycemic for Healthy Skin!
In this part of my series on diet tips for healthy skin, we’re going to discuss blood sugar.
Foods raise your blood sugar. And studies have shown that high blood sugar, and repeated spikes of high blood sugar, promote disease and many of the degenerative changes we associate with aging.
It happens by a process called glycative stress. Some foods raise blood sugar higher and faster than others. They are called high-glycemic index foods.
How fast a food raises your blood sugar depends on a combination of factors.
This includes whether the blood sugar causing component (called a carbohydrate) is “trapped” in other things like fiber, protein, fats, and other nutrients. This is called the glycemic index (GI).
High GI foods break down fast during digestion. Examples are foods containing lots of simple sugars (glucose, high fructose corn syrup, etc.), and refined carbs (like white flour or rice, corn flakes, maltodextrins, etc.). These give you a sugar rush. You know what those foods are… cookies, candy, energy drinks, sugared “juices,” etc.
Medium GI foods break down more slowly and/or have less carbs. They include not intact whole wheat, unpeeled boiled potatoes, dried fruits, bananas, corn, and sweet potatoes.
Low GI foods are the slowest to digest and provide a slow, steady and healthy blood-sugar-level. They include beans, seeds, nuts, most intact (coarse) whole grains, veggies, and fruits.
It helps to understand that the more fiber in a food, the slower the digestion and the lower the GI.
Having a little oil (good oil only-like olive oil) or vinegar will slow digestion and lower the GI of a meal. Cooked and processed foods have a higher glycemic index than course whole grains and raw produce.
You can see how important the glycemic index is to health by knowing a little about diabetes and why it is such a devastating disease when uncontrolled.
The cycle of high-blood-sugar spikes leads to damage of important body protein, blocked arteries, kidney disease, blindness, etc. High GI foods lead to biochemical changes in your body that break down tissues and fuel inflammation.
And knowing that many skin problems like psoriasis, rosacea, dandruff, acne, and even skin-aging are worsened when your physiology is pro-inflammatory. Inflammation allows you to understand why eating a lower glycemic diet will promote healthy skin.
With this in mind, it’s important to watch your sugar intake as it has a direct impact on your skin… and overall body!
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