The 10 Best (And Worst) Foods for Your Skin

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You know what they say – you are what you eat. Follow these simple “eat this, not that” guidelines to find out which foods are hurting and helping your skin.

The Bad

There are so many bad foods out there (but some of them taste oh so good), it can be hard to know which ones are damaging your skin.

1. Skim Milk

While controversial, skim milk has been linked to increased rates of acne, especially for those with lactose intolerance. The thought is that milk can cause inflammation, which in turn can increase your skin’s oil production. Interestingly enough, yogurt has actually been found to help fight skin breakouts.

2. High Glycemic Food

High glycemic foods, like pasta, white bread, cake, potatoes, and many breakfast bowls of cereal may be causing your skin to break out in acne. These types of foods can spike your blood sugar levels and increase oil production. Long term, eating high glycemic foods in excess can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.

3. Sodium

Sodium is found in almost everything we eat, specially packaged processed foods. Staying under the daily sodium limit isn’t too hard if you don’t eat out a lot and cook most of your meals. Taking in too much sodium can cause you to become bloated and your skin to look puffy, oily, and blotchy. Keep an eye on how much sodium is in the everyday foods you eat.

4. Alcohol

Do you know how drinking alcohol can cause your face to turn red? Think how this will look if you drink excessively every day for a few years. Alcohol can severely dry out your skin while dilating the blood vessels, making your skin appear red. You can sometimes spot the long-time drinkers by their enlarged red noses (sorry Rudolph) and blotchy red cheeks.

5. Sugar

Like high glycemic foods, candy, raisins, soda, and anything else with high sugar levels can dramatically elevate your blood sugar levels while damaging your skin’s collagen and keratin. Excessive sugar intake is not only bad for your weight, it can make your skin look wrinkled and oily.

The Good

Just like there are foods that hurt your skin, there are just as many that can actually help it.

6. Green Leafy Vegetables

I don’t really buy into Popeye getting huge guns from chugging a can of spinach, but maybe he was on to something. Spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that can repair damaged DNA while fighting off skin cancers. These vegetables are also high in lutein, potassium, and fiber, all of which can keep you looking youthful.

7. Berries

Berries are kind of like the green leafy vegetables of the fruit world. Most berries, especially blueberries and acai, are packed full of antioxidants, which can reduce the damage from UV rays and help repair damaged DNA. Berries are also abundant in Vitamin C, E, and K, all of which are important for maintaining the collagen and keratin of your skin.

8. Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds, especially almonds and pumpkin seeds, are great for supplementing your body with extra Vitamin E and monounsaturated fat – a “good” fat. These two foods are also full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals, both of which can keep your skin looking young and fresh. Nuts are also full of fiber and protein, and research has shown they can lower your cholesterol.

Keep in mind – not all nuts are created equal. Avoid super salty peanuts because the salt will aggravate acne (and your blood pressure). Also, Almond Joys, Snickers, and Pay Days don’t count as healthy nuts!

9. Salmon

Most of us aren’t getting enough fish in our life, especially salmon. Sure, there are supplements to help mimic the effects of eating fish, but nothing is quite as good as the real thing.

If you have to choose one type of fish to eat, it should be salmon. This oily fish is full of omega-3 fatty acid, which is one of the best fats for keeping our skin soft, shiny, and vibrant. Fatty acids are also great for reducing inflammation, keeping our skin clear and uniform.
It’s not just all about the skin when it comes to salmon. Weekly intake of fish has been shown to help fight off heart disease and possible dementia. Studies are ongoing to determine if Omega fatty acids can help prevent cancer as well. For the healthiest type of salmon, look on the packaging for wild-caught salmon instead of farm-raised. Farm-raised salmon have been shown to contain higher levels of PCB, a toxic chemical.

10. Water

No shocker here – water is the number one way to keep your skin looking clean and youthful. Studies have shown that by drinking at least 8 cups of water per day, your skin will become clearer and more uniform, reducing red blotches and oily pores. Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and it needs water to help flush out toxins and improve circulation.

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