When it comes to your skin, its true health is more than just skin deep. Many creams and lotions can only penetrate so far and do so much for your skin texture and structure. That’s why eating a healthy diet is vital to help you put your best face forward. Consuming a diet full of preservatives, dyes, sugar, and other additives can wreak havoc not only in your gut but can increase your risk of developing skin issues like acne. Therefore, no matter how often you exfoliate, moisturize, or get a facial, if you have a diet that is not providing your body the right nutrients to make your gut happy, then your skin will have a hard time being the best it can be. Let’s look at some ways you can achieve beautiful skin by focusing on your skin health from the inside out.

Eat more plant-based foods for a healthy gut

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You may wonder what plant-based foods have to do with skin. However, a theory known as the brain-gut-skin axis theory suggests that if there is stress on the mind or body, then this can cause an imbalance in the gut bacteria. In turn, this imbalance, also known as dysbiosis, can lead to inflammation which can manifest itself in skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables can help reduce this inflammation. Unfortunately, so many of us, 9 out of 10 Americans in fact, do not eat the minimum 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Because of this, so many of us are missing out on all the health benefits that fruits and vegetables can provide. Besides their anti-inflammatory properties, fruits and vegetables are also full of fiber that helps slow down digestion, which helps the body absorb more nutrients from the food you eat. Fiber can also help you feel fuller longer after meals, which can help with weight loss and management of blood glucose levels. Since type 2 diabetes is considered an inflammatory disease, reducing your risk of diabetes is also helping to reduce inflammation in your body, which can benefit your skin. It’s important to eat a variety of different-colored fruits and vegetables since each color can proe different antioxidants with varying health benefits.

Limit processed foods for less wrinkles

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When foods are over-processed, additives like sugar, salt, and other preservatives and stabilizers can be added to help make the product more shelf stable. These same additives can be harmful to both your gut and your skin. Research shows that consuming too much sugar in the diet can increase the production of compounds called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, which can reduce elasticity in the skin. Not only that but eating too many processed foods has been linked with low intakes of protein, fiber, potassium, and essential vitamins and minerals, as well as higher intakes of sugar. This low intake of important nutrients can have a negative impact on overall health such as increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer risk.

Add more healthy fats to your diet for more youthful skin

Photo by Ruzzana Arutyunyan

Fat used to be a dirty word in the health and wellness arena. However, more and more research is finding that adding more healthy fats in the diet can benefit health of both the skin and heart. Replacing some saturated fat from red meats and whole fat dairy products with unsaturated fats like that from avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon can lower risk of heart disease. And as far as your skin goes, the omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce wrinkles and stimulate collagen production, which can make the skin more supple and elastic.

Drink plenty of water for supple skin

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 If you don’t drink enough water each day, you are at risk for dry skin and in turn loss of elasticity and increased risk of skin wrinkling. Drinking extra water than what you are supposed to will not have much effect on the skin. But drinking enough water will help the skin of those who have low water intakes. Also, water helps flush toxins from the body. So, if you don’t drink enough, those toxins may sit in your gut and in turn cause skin health issues. This is because research shows that imbalances in the gut can increase inflammation in the skin. Your recommended water intake will depend on many factors such as body weight, activity level, how much you sweat, and what kind of climate you live in, to name a few. One way to gauge your hydration is by checking your urine. If it is lemonade color or lighter, then you are probably ok; but if it is darker, then you need to drink more fluid.

Fill in nutrition gaps with supplements for clear skin

Photo courtesy of Anirva 

If you can’t seem to get all of your daily nutrients from the food you eat, then take a supplement that can fill in those all-important nutrition gaps. Because of the low fruit and vegetable intake across the nation, a supplement rich in antioxidants can help provide the anti-inflammatory protection needed for optimal body and skin health. An example of an antioxidant-rich supplement you can try is Inner Radiance by Anirva. It contains antioxidants like lutein, lycopene, and beta-carotene as well as the active ingredient of turmeric known as curcumin, which is an anti-inflammatory you don’t often see in a multi-nutrient supplement. These antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients can help reduce risk of inflammation in the body. In turn, they can also reduce risk of inflammation-related skin conditions like acne, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis.

So, it’s true when they say ‘you are what you eat’ because the nutrients you consume, or the lack thereof, will literally reflect in the health of your skin. Therefore, the next time you’re stocking up for products for your skin care regimen, don’t forget to take a trip to the health food store or local market to help color your plate for brighter skin.