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Our Diet and Skin Health

The phrase “you are what you eat” is literally true. The nutrients we absorb through the food we eat is fundamental in the health of our skin and all the fabrics of our inner body. By the same token, a poor diet on a consistent basis will negatively impact our bodies, wearing down the functions of our organs, and over time, can lead to deterioration of health in various degrees.

If you speak to a nutritionist or a functional medicine practitioner, they always believe that diet is the number one factor in a lot of symptoms of illnesses. These symptoms do not happen overnight, however, in many cases, symptoms of health problems may not be traceable or obvious until it becomes severe. I am seeing a lot of recent examples with autoimmune diseases. In the US, autoimmune diseases have become the number 3 killer in the country, after heart diseases and cancer. There are over 80 types of illnesses that fall under the autoimmune umbrella, but many of these diseases are not diagnosed until severe symptoms are observed. Unlike heart disease and cancer, research in this area have only quite recently become more significant.

Today, I want to focus on skin health. Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and the condition of our skin reflects clearly the condition of our health. We can drastically improve our health by avoiding foods that are bad for us, but at the same time, increase intake of food that are beneficial to our bodies.

Below is a list of foods that you should consider incorporating into your diet (if not already) on a daily basis (it is not the intention of this article to be about nutritional facts, but it serves to give you some idea what each food does):

  • Omega rich foods: vital in the functioning of cell membranes, brain, and major systems like our immune, pulmonary, cardiovascular and endocrine systems. Flaxseeds, fatty fish, broccoli are some good sources of omega 3
  • Avocados: an increasingly popular “superfood” that is rich in vitamins E (moisturizing) and C (anti-wrinkles), as well as antioxidants (protects skin from free radicals). The fat in avocado is “good” fat
  • Walnuts: rich in omega 3 and 6, and contains anti-inflammatory properties
  • Sunflower seeds: Rich in vitamin E and a good source of plant based protein
  • Sweet potatoes: good source of vitamin A (boosts vision and helps absorb vitamin E) and beta carotene (needed to absorb vitamin A)
  • Red and yellow peppers: Vitamins A and C, and collagen
  • Broccoli: Vitamins A and C, zinc, lutein (reduce oxidative damage) and sulforaphane (reduce UV absorption and helps skin maintain collagen)
  • Tomatoes: vitamin C, beta-carotene
  • Soy: contains isoflavones (helps with skin elasticity and wrinkles), collagen
  • Dark chocolate (not the sugary type): rich in antioxidants
  • Green tea: antioxidants

Start by incorporating some (or all) of these amazing foods into your diet, and walk down the pathway to a healthier you.

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