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How the Food You Eat Affects Your Skin
The elusive search for the secret to beautiful, glowing skin and the fountain of youth…
Is there a secret? Is it in a pill or a bottle? Is it expensive and only available to wealthy and privileged people?
The unsexy truth is…
It’s in your kitchen and at the end of your fork. Your skin is a direct reflection of your gut health. The health of your gut is directly related to what you eat.
The elusive secret to beautiful, youthful, glowing skin is your diet.
If you are suffering from acne, eczema, premature aging, dry, itchy, irritated skin, keep reading to find out what foods will help improve your skin.
My lifelong battle with skin issues is what threw me deep into the throes of natural health. You can learn all about my life-changing a-ha moments here. Who is the #1 Expert in Your Health?
For a more in-depth natural skin care guide, check out my ebook, Natural Skin Care 101 Guide.
There is no shortage of complicated advice on what to eat to be healthy these days.
The basic principle is to eat clean. What does that mean? Focus on eating real food. Food that does not come in a package or with an ingredient list.
“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t. ”
― Michael Pollan
How to Get Started on a Whole Foods Diet
First thing first, do not expect to overhaul your entire diet in one fell swoop. For this to work, it needs to be a process. You need to thoughtfully transition into eating more whole foods while slowly crowding out unhealthy, processed foods. The more you fill your plate with fresh, whole foods, the less you will crave processed junk food.
Your goal is to limit processed foods. This includes take out and especially fast foods. For all you busy mamas out there, it pains me to say this, but you really do need to start cooking more meals at home. Just keep your meals simple and slowly increase the amount of fresh, whole food ingredients.
Add More Fresh Produce Into Your Diet
Start with the basics and foods you already know and love. Try something simple like eating more apples. They really do keep the doctor away– and your skin glowing. Another simple trick is to eat a small salad before every meal but beware of bottled salad dressings. They are full of unhealthy fats and sugar.
The easiest way to add tons of fruits and vegetables to your diet is with smoothies. Start with this super simple Cinnamon Vanilla Smoothie
Watch Your Carbs
That doesn’t mean don’t eat carbs! Just make sure you are eating healthy carbs. Look for carbs that are minimally processed and full of nutrients like quinoa, steel cut oats, brown rice, millet, farro, and amaranth.
Don’t skip out on fruit for fear of carbs. Fruits are bursting with skin benefiting vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, and anti-oxidants.
Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are good for your brain and they keep your skin looking beautiful.
Let’s just be clear, margarine is NOT a healthy fat. It is full of fake, trans fats. When you think of healthy fats, think of whole foods like avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds. Oils made from these foods are processed, but they are much healthier for you than highly processed fake butters, and vegetable oils.
And please do not be fooled by canola oil’s health claims. Canola oil is NOT a healthy oil and should be avoided. If that shocks you or you’re skeptical, you can learn more here: The Human Feeding Experiment and New Disease
Should you eat butter? That depends. Generally, dairy is inflammatory and is not kind to your skin. But, if you’re not ready to give up dairy, it is better to eat butter than margarine or other unhealthy, highly processed oils. Butter should be organic because toxins accumulate in fat. Butter is all fat. Butter from non-organic milk is likely to be full of toxins, antibiotics, and hormones. Even better, you should choose organic, grass-fed butter for the healthiest source of butter.
Eat Foods High in Probiotics
Probiotics are critical for gut health. Remember, if you want healthy skin, you need to start with a healthy gut.
“All disease begins in the gut.” ~ Hippocrates
Keep reading for some foods and drinks high in beneficial probiotics.
Remember, dairy is not the healthiest food for your skin. But if you are going to eat dairy, choose wisely. Whenever you can, choose organic grass-fed dairy products. Fermented dairy does offer some additional health benefits.
Yogurt is enriched with healthy bacteria that help improve the performance of your gut and boost its overall function. Probiotics promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your body, which prepares your body to fight against gut inflammation. Yogurt is an inexpensive, plentiful source of probiotics, but be sure to choose the most beneficial varieties. Organic and Greek yogurts contain a higher level of probiotics as compared to their non-organic counterparts. Avoid purchasing yogurt that is actually labeled as “probiotic.” The companies that claim to offer probiotic-laden yogurts tend to add corn syrup, excessive sugar, artificial sweetener, and dyes in their products to expand its shelf life. Also, this type of yogurt is frequently pasteurized, which ends up killing the probiotics in the yogurt.
“If you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat”
― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
Kefir is a yogurt substitute that provides high levels of probiotics to help treat inflamed or leaky gut. It is produced by combining rice, sheep, goat, cow, or coconut milk with a gelatinous grain and fermented. The fermentation process expedites the growth of healthy bacteria. Kefir contains approximately 10-34 types of probiotics that can quickly soothe the symptoms of a leaky gut.
Kombucha is a fermented tea with high levels of probiotics. Kombucha’s high level of Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) plays a vital role in improving the performance and functions of your gut.
When correctly prepared, kombucha provides a number of health benefits that that can help improve the condition of your digestive system, increase your metabolism and aid the function of the liver.
Miso is packed with probiotics that play a crucial role in improving the performance of your gut. Miso is prepared by combining fermented rye, barley, and beans with koji.
Natto is prepared through the fermentation of soybeans. It has a strong flavor and a high presence of probiotics. Natto consists of Bacillus Subtilis, which plays a vital role in the improvement of your immune system, absorption of vitamin K2, and overall cardiovascular health. It also contains high quantities of nattokinase, which may help in cancer treatment.
Drink More Water
I KNOW you’ve heard this before.
Last, but not least, let’s talk about water. The truth is you really do have to drink more water if you want glowing, beautiful skin.
The Importance of Drinking More Water
Drinking more water can help with digestive issues, weight loss and it’s great for your skin.
Water Helps to Open Up Your Pores
When you are dehydrated, your skin is dehydrated and that means tight pores that trap in dirt and dead skin cells. As you rehydrate, your pores naturally open up and release the dirt and dead skin cells. When you think of dewy skin, think of drinking more water.
Tips For Drinking More Water
Just because you KNOW you need to drink more water, doesn’t mean you will. Here are some tips to keep you on track.
Keep track of how much water you drink
It is easy to lose track of exactly how much water you have consumed, so this is a good place to start. You can either keep a note in a journal you carry around with you, a little notebook on your computer, or use an app on your phone.
Use a cup that you enjoy drinking out of
When you enjoy your beverage cup, you are more likely to keep filling it up throughout the day.
My water intake skyrocketed when I discovered this stainless steel container. Your water will stay cold ALL day and you can add essential oils without worry of the essential oils breaking down the cup and releasing harmful chemicals. Another bonus is there is no goofy straw or parts that are hard to clean. You will never worry about mold growing in places you can’t see.
Try fruit-infused water
If you don’t like the bland taste of plain water, infuse it with fruits or vegetables. Try lemon, lime, orange, mint, cucumber, pineapple, or raspberries.
Try essential oils
First, make sure the oils you are using are safe for consumption. You might be blown away by the added flavor and health benefits of adding lemon, lime or orange essential oils to your water. You might also become a little bit addicted to drinking water.
Try herbal teas
In addition to keeping you hydrated, most herbs offer additional health benefits. Two birds, one stone- that’s the only way to roll these days.
To really kick it up a notch, add some raw honey and a drop of essential oil to your herbal tea. Adding a drop of cinnamon to your tea just might knock your socks off.
Reduce soft drinks, juice, and other beverages
You knew this was coming! Instead of 2 birds with one stone, you get multiple negative effects from one drink. Most other beverages are loaded with sugar, caffeine, artificial flavors and colors, they offer no nutritional benefit and they reduce your water consumption. Sugar and caffeine dehydrate you and pull minerals from your bones to help neutralize the acid effect they have on your body.
Final Tips on Transitioning to a Clean Eating Diet
If most of your food comes from any kind of restaurant or the center aisles of the grocery store, transitioning to a clean, whole foods diet will be a process. Support the process with the following tips.
Track Your Current Diet
Before you begin to transition to a clean eating diet, it can be really helpful to take stock of what you currently eat. It could be downright scary! But awareness brings so much clarity and motivation to change. If you find that eating cheese is in about every meal, that should be the last to go. You might be better off with a more gradual transition. If you already eat a good amount of clean foods, you can probably transition to it a bit faster.
Begin Gathering Recipes
Once you know what you can and can’t eat on a clean eating diet, you should start collecting recipes. Check online sites like Pinterest for ideas, buy cookbooks to keep at home, or get digital copies for your tablet and smartphone. Check out this cookbook for simple, easy to clean up meals, Healthy Eating One-Pot Cookbook.
Don’t forget to come back here for new recipes. Better yet, get on my mailing list and download your free guide Ultimate Guide to Clean Eating.