By: Rebecca Lewis, RD
Being healthy and happy go hand in hand. Eating the right nutrients and superfoods have the ability to affect our physical, mental and emotional well-being. And our skin’s health has strong ties to our diet. In fact, vibrant, healthy, and clear skin starts from the inside out. You can harness the power of nutrition to fuel glowing skin by making the best food choices, ones that are high quality and nutrient-dense.
ACNE TRIGGER – ALCOHOL
Alcohol dehydrates skin. This is in part because it is a diuretic – which makes you have to pee more. It also interferes with the production of the hormone vasopressin, which helps the body to absorb water. In combination, alcohol effectively forces water out of the body and then makes it harder to put water in. Additionally, alcohol also interferes with the absorption of many vitamins & minerals – the very nutrients we need to keep our skin looking radiant. Lastly, when alcohol is combined with high-sugar mixers, an overproduction of oil is triggered.
ACNE SOLUTION – WATER
Our skin is 64% water – so when it’s dehydrated our skin is one of the first places to show the problem. Initially, skin becomes dry and this causes us to produce extra oil to try and keep our skin hydrated. However, this can lead to overly zealous oil production. Water works wonders to flush out your system and puts an overabundance of sodium back in balance. On any normal day, the recommendation is to drink 64 oz. of water. That’s eight, 8oz glasses a day. If you’re having trouble with that, consider adding some sliced fruit or fresh herbs to your glass to pump up the flavor.
ACNE TRIGGER – SUGAR
Acne is often a result of too much sugar in the diet. This is because sugar affects our hormone balance. Constant exposure to a high intake of sugar raises our insulin levels – and, chronically high levels of insulin then causes stress in the production of other hormones (like testosterone). This hormonal imbalance has been linked to causing skin inflammation and increasing our sebum production (which clogs pores), both of which lead to acne.
ACNE SOLUTION – FRESH FRUITS & VEGGIES
All produce are nutrient dense and also high in antioxidants like vitamin A, C, E, all of which help balance skin from the inside, preventing inflammation and fighting the damage we do to our skin daily. To keep skin hydrated and fresh, eat produce with a higher water content like watermelon, grapefruit, strawberries, green peppers, and celery. Cucumbers in particular have photo-chemicals in them called cucurbitacins which have anti-inflammatory benefits to help the collagen in your skin tighten! To fight the damage we’ve done to our skin, choose brightly colored produce. Typically, the more colorful, the larger the abundance of antioxidants like vitamins A and C. Think dark purple, red, and orange colored fruits and veggies like berries, plums, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes or vibrant greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli.
ACNE TRIGGER – HIGHLY PROCESSED FOODS:
Refined foods are typically high in both saturated fats and sodium. Research shows that foods high in saturated fats can activate inflammation in the body which expresses itself on our skin in the form of puffiness. High levels of sodium in the body will cause us to retain water and end up dehydrated our skin. This combination of dehydration and inflammation will end up causing skin to have a dull and damaged look, and also trigger acne.
ACNE SOLUTION – NUTS & SEEDS:
To bring back a healthy glow, you’ll need to repair skin cells and encourage new cell growth. This makes foods like nuts and seeds a perfect choice. In particular, pumpkin seeds are a skin superfood because they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids and zinc, as well as provide generous amounts of vitamins A and E. Omega-3’s possess anti-inflammatory properties, which help to calm down overactive oil glands. These fatty acids also have natural emolliating properties that keep the skin moisturized. Additionally, this nutrient can also reduce the redness and scarring caused by acne. Zinc is a mineral that protects your cell membranes due to its antibacterial properties. It also helps maintain collagen (the substance which keeps our skin nice and firm), and promotes cell turnover for fresh new skin production. Both the antioxidants, vitamin A and E help fight free radical formation and thus, reduce the incidence of premature aging. Lastly, pumpkin seeds have a high amount of tryptophan, which helps you to relax and get to your beauty sleep faster. This will allow your body the adequate time it needs to let the powerful nutrients in healthy foods repair any existing damage in our skin.
This makes Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed Bars the go-to choice when picking a snack that works to provide functional energy while also keeping your skin looking beautiful. They are high in plant-based protein from the pumpkin seeds and also lower in sodium and sugar. Not to mention they are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and contain no artificial colors or flavors. And (bonus!) some flavors use additional helpful spices like turmeric and cinnamon, both of which are known to help reduce inflammation in the body. Real food for real people!
Rebecca Lewis is Registered Dietitian on a mission to change the world by empowering people to take control of their health. Her passions lie in getting people back into the kitchen, reconnecting them with fresh foods, and rebuilding their confidence to have FUN with cooking. She is a champion of nutrients and a world traveler who loves peanut butter. As a fitness enthusiast, she enjoys Crossfit, the aerial arts, running, dancing, and yoga. Find her on Instagram.