The saying ‘you are what you eat’ might be just that – a saying. But one thing is for certain: the foods we put into our bodies have effects on our health AND on our skin. If you’re not eating right, your skin is the first to show it.

The ancient Chinese practice of ‘face mapping’ is a helpful tool in determining the foods in your diet that might be causing breakouts. For example, when I indulge in an unusual amount of sugar (usually around the holidays!) it will show up on my forehead in the form of some pesky pimples. Other times when I indulge in too much dairy, I always get pimples on my chin.

Water

Drinking water is the number one thing you should doing daily – for your skin, your body, your mind, and your overall health. Typically, I drink about two liters of water per day, but I don’t always meet that goal (as much as I wish I did!). I can tell the difference when I don’t – my skin is more dull, tired looking, and uneven tone.

Your skin is an organ, made up of cells. Without water those cells do not perform their functions at their best. Water helps your body to rid toxins more efficiently so that they don’t appear on your skin. In addition, by keeping your skin hydrated, you can preserve the skin’s elasticity and prevent aging!

Eating Your Greens

This might sound like something your mom told you as a kid, but it certainly holds some truth. Green vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens, are packed with an important vitamin called lutein. Lutein improves the skin’s hydration and elasticity and has been shown to reduce UV ray damage to the skin. Lutein is offered in vitamin form, but you can get it from kale, spinach, bok choy, and other fruits and vegetables.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are a powerful tool for skin health primarily because they help your skin fight free radicals. Our bodies naturally produce free radicals, but too much of them can inhibit the way our bodies rid of toxins. Radiation from the sun, cigarette smoke, pollution, and other environmental factors are known to increase the production of free radicals.

Thankfully, incorporating antioxidants into your skincare regimen and your diet can help fight the effects of free radicals. Their anti-inflammatory properties can correct signs of aging, help the skin repair itself, and prevent sunburn.

Dark chocolate, berries, and kale are all great sources of antioxidants.

Avoid Sugar!

If there’s one food you should avoid for your skin – its sugar!

Sugar (particularly refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup) is extremely processed and increases inflammation in our bodies. This can aggravate or even cause things like eczema or acne. A recent study performed by Java Dermatology shows that adult acne is, indeed, associated with high glycemic index (e.g. sugary) foods and beverages, unfortunately for those of us with a sweet tooth!

Opting for more natural sugars – fruit or foods sweetened with coconut sugar, agave, or honey – can help reduce the effects of sugar and keep your skin happy & healthy.

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