Did you know that for decades dermatologists were taught that there was no link between your diet and your skin? Today we know that there are strong ties between what we eat and the visible signs of aging. We know that there are certain foods that contribute to a healthy glow. I have seen wrinkles, rashes, rosacea, acne even eczema and psoriasis improve with an improved diet.
For instance, we all know how good vitamin C is for our skin. While it's good to apply it topically, you'll also benefit from eating foods high in this vitamin. By doing so, you'll get the benefits of the whole foods, which typically boast a wealth of nutrients, not just one. That's the case for tomatoes, which contain not just vitamin C, but vitamin A and antioxidants as well. Antioxidants will help mop up the free radicals that can damage your skin, while vitamin A is a wrinkle-fighter. Tomatoes are also high in lycopene, which helps protect your skin from the sun. Did you know that in India, tomatoes are used topically to shrink pores? Take a tablespoon of fresh tomato juice and add two to four drops of fresh lime juice. Apply to your face with a cotton ball. Leave it on for about 15 minutes and rinse with cool water. Try this every other day for a week or two.
Watercress is also full of vitamin C, and it has iron, calcium, and sulfur as well. One small study found that 10 out of 11 women noticed a significant improvement in their skin's appearance after eating a bag of watercress a day for four weeks – that's a lot of watercress. Of course, I have to mention lemons as well. The growing popularity of drinking lemon water has some measurable benefits, helping you detoxify and produce collagen. In addition to drinking lemon water regularly, you can keep lemon wedges on hand to squeeze over salads, roasted vegetables, and anything else you think could use a flavor and health boost. In Europe, a common practice is squeezing one-half lemon into hot water and drinking first thing in the morning. The Europeans, especially the French, feel this helps them stay internally fit. I have seen a number of French women with beautiful skin – they swear by this habit.
Sweet potatoes contain not just vitamin C, but vitamins B6 and D, along with iron, magnesium, potassium, and beta-carotene. These nutrients help us maintain skin elasticity and fight the stress that can sap our glow. Although they taste sweet, these potatoes contain natural sugars that don't cause strong blood sugar spikes like refined sweeteners do. So they don't contribute to the breakdown of the skin.
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Vitamin E is also essential for skin health, as it's an antioxidant that can help us avoid wrinkles and collagen damage. You'll find vitamin E in pumpkin seeds, which contain zinc, selenium, and omega fatty acids too. Pumpkin seeds not only provide vitamin E to protect your collagen, they actually supply some of the nutrients your body needs to build new collagen. And for an extra dose of vitamin E, try avocado. You can even apply avocado topically as a face mask. Mash up half an avocado with 1/4 cup uncooked oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of honey, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Let it sit on your face for about 20 minutes. Your skin will absorb a lot of the nutrition and you will be left with a moist and healthy glow.
Berries are rich in antioxidants, and blueberries in particular can support the skin by reducing inflammation and providing resveratrol to help repair sun damage. Fennel also fights free radicals, in addition to supporting your digestion and intestinal health, which will allow you to flush out toxins more quickly. Beets contain so many vitamins, including A, B, and C to beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, fiber, lycopene, and folic acid, so they're a powerhouse of nutrition and skin protection. Finally, burdock, a lesser-known root vegetable popular in Chinese herbal medicine, supports the digestive system and reduces inflammation, which can lead to skin woes, including acne and redness.
While any one of these foods can benefit your skin, eating a variety will ensure you're benefitting from a wide range of vitamins and other nutrients. I like to use this list as a starting point for salads and other side dishes. While you may not be able to get all 10 into one meal, try to incorporate them or similar foods frequently throughout your week. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much you can improve your skin without adding another product to your medicine cabinet!
And, if you want to add a little more vitamin C protection, you can use the Vitamin C Serum from Système 41. Protecting your skin from both the inside and the outside can keep it healthy and looking great for decades.
To your health, naturally,