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The Skin and Diet Connection

Feb 10, 08:06 pm

          The secret to great skin is a great diet. While many dermatologists have been arguing that diet has no effect on your skin’s health, common sense, and well, research suggests otherwise. On an island near Papua New Guinea, where the diet consisted solely of lean protein, fruits and veggies, researchers couldn’t spot a single whitehead among 1,200 natives.

          So why are teens afflicted with acne more than adults? Researchers believe that the “Western diet”, loaded with white-flour starches and red meats, may be the root cause of 79-95% of American teenagers having acne. An unhealthy diet seems to only exacerbate the effects of a teens natural hormonal changes.

          Sebum, the oily fats in skin, is at the root of skin health. Produce too little? Dry skin. Produce too much? Oily skin and clogged pores. Not only is the amount of sebum your skin produces integral to its health, but the composition of the sebum is also important for the smoothness and glow of your complexion.

          Here’s the challenge: For one week, make an effort to consume little to no starches (this includes noodles, rice, bread, pastries, etc), while upping your intake of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins (fish, tofu, seafood, nuts). You likely to find a milkier, softer and suppler complexion (and probably a smaller waistline).

Lean Meats

These foods contain zinc and iron, key minerals for skin function. While zinc contributes to cell production, it also promotes natural cell sloughing which prevents a dull complexion. Iron is necessary to carry oxygen to the skin which will help give you that glow.

          Chicken, turkey, lean beaf, eggs, oysters.

          How To: Try making a spinach omelet for breakfast. Choose roast beef over ham for a low-fat option to your sandwich.

Vitamin A

This vitamin is absolutely essential for healthy skin. A lack of vitamin A can cause dry, rough, and acne prone skin. Vitamin A helps to increase collagen production which thickens the dermis, resulting in more radiant, youthful skin.

          Green, leafy vegetables: Spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard.
          Spices: Paprika, red pepper, cayenne, chili powder.
          Other: Sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash, dried apricots, cantaloupe.

          How To: Use spinach for salads sprinkled with shredded carrots. Spice up your usual dishes, like soups and eggs with red pepper or paprika. Make sure to include cantaloupe in your summer fruit salads, and try baking some sweet potatoes in the oven for a sweet snack (purchase at any Asian grocery store).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is crucial for the production of collagen, the protein responsible for keeping our skin taught and youthful.

          Fruits: Papaya, Strawberries, citrus fruits.
          Vegetables: Bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts.
          How To: Add some broccoli and bell peppers into a chicken stir fry. Eat an orange for an afternoon pick-me-up snack.


The good kind like omega-3 and omega-6. This will allow your body to absorb vitamin A more readily, while preventing your skin from drying up (major cause of fine lines and premature wrinkles). You should be eating no fewer than 20 grams of fat a day.

          Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, flaxseed.
          Fish: Salmon, tuna and mackerel.
          Other: Avocado, olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil.

          How To: Instead of grabbing a bag of chips, reach for a handful of 15 almonds (approximately 105 calories). Try a tuna fish sandwich for lunch and add some avocado and sesame seeds to your dinner salads.


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