When you consider that your body and cells are literally made of what you eat, it becomes easier to understand the phrase “beautiful skin comes from the inside out.” Our bodies are amazing, constantly making new skin cells. In babies, new skin cells are made every fourteen days; in teenagers every twenty-eight days; and, in adults, every twenty-eight for forty-two-plus days. New skin cells are made in the deepest layer of the epidermis and work their way up to the surface of the skin.
Here are skin support tips based on what you eat, drink, and incorporate into your lifestyle.
Ten Ways to Support the Skin from the Inside Out
#1 Stay Hydrated with Eight Glasses of Water Daily
Avoid beverages that are dehydrating because these can cause the appearance of wrinkles and cause the skin to look dull. Also avoid ones that can increase stress hormones, which can contribute to acne, including coffee and alcohol. Ones full of sugar, such as soda, can cause sugar molecules to attach to collagen in the skin, leading to premature aging.
People can get bored with water, unable to drink eight glasses of plain water daily? In this case, use fresh herbs to flavor your water. They are high in phytonutrients and flavor: lemon balm, lemon verbena, peppermint, tulsi, rose, hibiscus, and so forth. Place herbs into cool water and allow them to steep for at least thirty minutes and up to twelve hours prior to drinking.
Water quality matters, so consider drinking filtered water. Check out the EWG tap water database to learn about your water.
#2 Exfoliate to Increase Rates of Skin Cell Turnover
#3 Eat with the Seasons
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are most often harvested at peak ripeness, having better flavor and more nutrients that contribute to skin support. So, eat the rainbow: at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, preferably more.
Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily provides important nutrients like vitamin C, which helps with collagen production. Fruits and vegetables also provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits because of the thousands of phytonutrients they contain.
Avoid foods that cause inflammation in your body (everyone is unique, for some this may be gluten or dairy). Consider working with a well-trained functional medicine practitioner to identify your individual food sensitivities and optimize your gastrointestinal health.
#4 Avoid Processed Foods
Consider minimizing foods that score high on the glycemic index. Elevated blood sugar leads to inflammation, oxidative stress, and glycation, which contribute to accelerated aging. Chronically elevated blood sugar is more likely to cause dry itchy skin as well.
#5 Don’t Smoke
Smoking causes blood vessels in the skin to narrow, reducing how many nutrients and how much oxygen is available to nourish the skin cells. Smoking, therefore, leads to premature aging and wrinkles.
#6 Detox Your Skincare Routine
Simple is best, hands down. I love using organic hydrosols to add moisture to the skin and provide a very light natural fragrance (try rose otto, lavender, or neroli). I then follow the hydrosol with an organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, used just as you would a lotion following a shower. The Skin Deep Database is a great resource to see how your current skincare routine, including makeup, stacks up.
Sleeping seven to nine hours each night is beneficial for your skin. In one study, participants who slept seven to nine hours each night had skin that retained more moisture and that could protect and heal itself better after being exposed to ultraviolet light when compared to those who slept only five hours or less.
#8 Reduce Stress
Chronic stress leads to elevated cortisol levels that not only wreak havoc on your blood sugar but also on your skin. Stress can cause flares of skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Stress can even cause hives, rashes, and fever blisters.
#9 Exercise Regularly
Exercise helps to increase blood flow, which brings oxygen and nutrients to cells while also carrying away metabolic waste. Sweating is also great for the skin. If you have access to a sauna, sweating in a sauna each week can help to cleanse pores and glands of the skin and may be beneficial for conditions such as acne.
#10 Enjoy a Cool Shower
Using cooler water helps to avoid drying out the skin and hair.
Eating to Support Skin Health
Focus on getting adequate sources of:
- protein: if animal protein, choose ones pasture raised on their natural diet when possible
- healthy fats: avoid processed seed oils, focusing on organic cold pressed olive oil or avocado oil and unrefined coconut oil, and whole foods like coconut, olives, avocado, and so forth)
- diverse vegetables: benefits include vitamins and minerals such as A, C, E, zinc, and selenium
- fiber to support gut health
- phytonutrients such as carotenoids, lutein, and lycopene
Top Eight Vegetables for Skin Health
- Beets: They contain vitamin C, which supports collagen production and nitrates; when converted to nitric oxide this may help to improve blood flow.
- Broccoli: This contains vitamin C (70 percent DV when uncooked), beta carotene (vitamin A), selenium, and lutein, which may help to protect the skin from sun damage.
- Radishes: Benefit from vitamin C and zinc, and become more hydrated.
- Fall Squash: Honeynut squash, for example, is a great source of beta carotene (vitamin A) and potassium, which is essential for the proper function of your cells.
- Carrots: Benefit from vitamin C and carotenoids, including beta-carotene.
- Sweet Potatoes: These contain vitamin C, carotenoids (including beta-carotene), and anthocyanins, which have natural sun protection properties and are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
- Fermented Vegetables: These improve skin health as well as gut health and immunity.
- Tomatoes: Benefit from vitamin C, beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin E, lutein, and lycopene, which may help protect the skin from sun damage.
In addition to vegetables, organic green tea, turmeric, and herbs such as rosemary are great ways to add flavor while also adding anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for your skin.
Farmer as Part of the Healthcare TeamAt The Chef’s Garden, we appreciate the beauty as well as the nourishing qualities of each and every vegetable, herb, and flower we carefully grow. We know that, by caring for our soil, we can grow healthier plants, which in turn create healthier vegetables for our customers. Our goal is for the farmer to become an essential part of the health and wellness team. We hope you will join us on this journey! Follow us @farmerjonesfarm and @amysapola, and join our Facebook group: Farmacy at The Chef’s Garden.