The foods you eat should be packed with vitamins and minerals. When most of the foods you eat are nutritionally rich foods, your skin will be its healthiest and most beautiful! This is far from the magic bullet we all want in our fast paced lives; healthy eating requires real commitment.
What are nutritionally rich foods? Every time we buy manufactured food there’s nutritional information on the labels. In fact, we’re bombarded with nutritional information. Even junk foods list vitamin content. It’s confusing and so I use my common sense to figure out what foods are packed with vitamins and minerals. I recommend that the majority of what you eat be high nutrition foods including:
1.Naturally or organically farmed foods. This means foods grow from soil that’s packed with nutrients. I’m a vegetable gardener, and I know that I can force plants with nitrogen and chemical fertilizers but their flavors are blander and the plants are more susceptible to garden bugs and diseases requiring me to use chemicals to protect them. I think strong, tasty produce has more vitamins and minerals.
My first recommendation for naturally healthy skin is that 90% of the food you eat should be naturally farmed. Organic products would fit these criteria, but you can also find local small farmers in your area that farm naturally without organic certification. All you need is a few sources, like at farmers markets, restaurants that buy organic or naturally farmed produce, or the organic section of your grocery store. It also means meat, eggs and dairy from animals raised on a natural diet and without antibiotics or hormones. Yes, these foods are more expensive, and so the trick is not to over buy; waste is expensive.
2. Freshly prepared foods that haven’t been processed or preserved. Foods lose vitamins and minerals as they’re processed and stored. Fresh foods have the most vitamins and minerals and are a powerhouse of vitality for your skin. Processing food depletes vitamins. Think about white flour, so processed that manufacturers add back (enrich it with) processed vitamins. They put the enriched vitamin content on the label and you think you’re getting all the nutrition you need! Well, adding back vitamins isn’t the same as leaving the real ones there in the first place. Less processing means more vitamins and more vitality for your skin cells.
To be certain that most of your food is fresh, minimally processed and teaming with vitality, I recommend that 60% of the foods you eat should be freshly prepared by you or someone you know and trust. That someone may be your local natural food grocer or a restaurant, but I don’t trust big corporate food producers. It’s hard to make money using expensive fresh ingredients and making foods with short shelf life. I think there’s too great a temptation to cut corners, and your nutrition.
It’d be great if we could freshly prepared 100% of our food, but that’s not realistic so I recommend aiming for 60%. Life is busy and we’re not going to bake all our own bread, make our own crackers, pasta etc. We can cook our own dinners, make our own lunches or buy from a restaurant or grocer that freshly prepares food from nutritionally rich ingredients.
In addition to a diet packed with freshly prepared, nutritionally rich foods, I recommend you aim for a low fat and low protein diet to keep your skin healthy and attractive.
3. A low-fat diet may lower your skin cancer risk. Eating a lot of dietary fats appears to increase a person’s risk of developing a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. I’ve recommended a low fat diet to my cancer patients for years. This month another scientific study was just reported from Australia showing that people with a history of squamous cell carcinoma are more likely to develop additional cancers if they eat a high fat diet. (International Journal of Cancer October 2009 Ibiebele TI et al.) I see a lot of patients with the common precancerous lesions called actinic keratosis and I recommend they eat a low fat diet too because actinic keratosis are pre squamous cell carcinomas. You need some oil in your diet for healthy skin, but it needs to be a ‘good’ oil. I recommend virgin olive oil as particularly beneficial due to its antioxidant power and balanced fatty acid composition. (Clin Dermatol. 2009 Mar-Apr)
4. A low protein and low calorie diet may keep your skin cells younger longer. Limiting our protein and calories seem to slow the aging of our cells. This probably applies to our skin cells along with all our other cells so I recommend limiting calories and protein in your diet to keep your skin healthy and young looking. High calorie and high protein diets seem to be stressful for cells. The latest evidence came from scientists at the Buck Institute for Age Research who just reported that a low-protein diet increased the life span of fruit flies by boosting the function of an important cell structure called the mitochondria.
The Dermatologist’s Diet for Natural Skin Health
* Eat mostly vegetables, fruits and grains- organic or naturally farmed.
* Limit meats, fish, dairy and eggs-use them as an embellishment to your meal, not the main portion of what you eat-and be sure they’re from naturally farmed animals
* Use virgin olive oil
* Consider processed foods as a treat, not your main source of calories and nutrition
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