Your skin is your largest organ, so it’d be crazy to think that the food you eat and the nutrients you absorb can’t affect it. In fact, food can have a huge impact on the quality and appearance of your skin, especially when it comes to acne and wrinkles. Avoid these skin-damaging foods if you want to have radiant, clear, and youthful skin without having to use those expensive skin-care products.
By now, we’re sure you’ve heard that these sugary, carbonated drinks are bad for you, but they’re also damaging the quality of your skin. First, foods and drinks with a high sugar content will increase the amount of sugar that’s in your bloodstream. A high blood sugar level will trigger inflammation, which can wreak havoc on your skin. Inflammation not only increases redness, but it also promotes the breakdown of collagen and elastin, two very important proteins that keep the skin looking youthful, firm, and radiant. Research has also demonstrated that sugar in the bloodstream will promote the production of sebum—the substance that makes your skin oily and clogs pores.
Fried and fast foods usually contain a large amount of saturated fats from the oils they’re cooked in. A recent study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology concluded that a diet high in unhealthy saturated fats increases inflammation and can worsen inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis. It’s best to replace these saturated fats with healthy unsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids because they have anti-inflammatory properties. These foods will calm the inflammation in the skin and the rest of the body as well.
The risks associated with the consumption of processed meat are well-established by now. We know that they are horrible for our health and have a strong causal relationship to bowel cancer. All processed foods are damaging to our skin. It’s best to stick to whole foods in their natural state if you want to care for your skin (and health!) as best as possible. Processed meats, such as salami, hot dogs, and other deli meats, are treated with many chemicals and artificial preservatives. All of these unnatural ingredients can trigger inflammation, and by now you know how damaging inflammation is for your skin health!
If you’ve ever asked a nutritionist, dermatologist, or even Google what foods to avoid if you’re suffering with acne, they’ve probably mentioned dairy as a culprit. Unless you buy organic dairy, your milk is probably coming from a huge farm where the cows are fed hormones to help increase their milk supply. These hormones end up in your milk and then into your bloodstream, where they can mess up the entire endocrine system. If you have hormonal acne, you should stay away from foods that are pumped with hormones.
White bread contains very few nutrients, but it also has a high glycemic index, meaning that it spikes your blood sugar levels immediately after you eat it. Although white bread isn’t sweet like candy or soda, both of these foods are, ultimately, simple carbohydrates. The body breaks them down in the exact same way and the result is a simple sugar molecule. High blood sugar levels increase inflammation, which can irritate the skin and cause breakouts and redness. Sugar can also cause the breakdown of collagen, leading to an increased appearance of wrinkles and dull skin.
Too much sodium can increase water retention and leave you (and your skin) feeling extremely dehydrated. In our physiology, water always follows salt concentrations. When we eat really salty foods, our body keeps as much water as possible to keep a balance between the two and prevent dehydration. However, this means that it will take water from the skin and give it to the vital internal organs. The result? Dry, flakey, and puffy skin. If you’ve ever eaten a bag of chips and woke up the next morning with puffy eyes or even feeling bloated, this is why. Your body is holding onto as much water as possible to counteract the high sodium content. Try switching to a low-sodium diet and if you find yourself sneaking into that bag of chips again, make sure you at least drink plenty of water with them.
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