Glowing summer skin starts not from exorbitant department-store creams but from what you eat. That’s right: beauty really does come from within, and even the best dermatologist and cleansers can’t rescue a bad diet’s effects on your skin.
NEW YORK TIMES best-selling celebrity nutritionist JJ Virgin, author of THE VIRGIN DIET has five strategies to boost your complexion for younger, healthier skin – no matter what the season, including:
1. Get an Oil Change. Vegetable oils and processed foods are loaded with inflammatory fats that help neither your waistline nor your complexion. Swap them for extra virgin olive oil (drizzling on salads), olive oil (sautéing), and coconut or red palm oil (high-heat cooking). Avocado, olives, and coconut milk also provide good fat for glowing skin. Raw nuts and nut butters make healthy snacks rich in good fat. A study in the Journal of Lipid Research found the omega 3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in fish and fish oil could help prevent skin aging. If you’re not eating wild-caught fish several times each week, supplement with high-quality essential fatty acids formula.
2. Taste the Rainbow. A variety of fruits and vegetables provide valuable nutrients and antioxidants that support healthy skin. As you get older, your collagen breaks down, leading to wrinkles. Since your body requires vitamin C to synthesize collagen, you’ll want to get optimal amounts from fruits and vegetables like broccoli and berries. You have probably heard about resveratrol in grapes, blueberries, and yes, red wine. A study in the journal PLoS One found this anti-aging compound could prevent age-related skin disorders.
3. Ditch the Sweets. You know sugar isn’t doing you any favors, and that especially proves true with your skin. Sugar attaches to collagen in a process called glycosylation. Scientists call these sticky proteins advanced glycolated end products, with the appropriate acronym AGEs, since in this case they age your skin. A study in the journal Experimental Gerentology found that skin AGE accumulation contributes to the loss of skin elasticity. Learn to satisfy your sweet tooth with low-glycemic berries and other fruits, sweet potatoes, and vanilla.
4. Protein for Healthy Collagen. High-quality protein like wild salmon and grass-fed beef offer optimal amounts of collagen-building amino acids like lysine and proline. Animal protein also contains zinc. A study in the International Journal of Dermatology found this mineral provides excellent antioxidant protection for healthy skin. I start every morning with a protein shake that combines plant-based (but not soy) protein powder, unsweetened coconut milk, berries, kale, and flax or chia seeds. Talk about a fast, filling, fat-burning breakfast that’s also fabulous for your skin!
5. Hydrate. Once you realize you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, which takes its toll on your skin. Always keep a canteen with purified water nearby to quench your thirst and hydrate your cells so nutrients stay in and toxins get out. Proper hydration means you sweat more efficiently to keep your skin glowing and looking fabulous. A study in the journal Wound Repair and Regeneration showed that about two cups of water every day improved blood glow to your skin. Drink half your body weight in water ounces, starting with a big glass first thing in the morning. The only time you should not drink is during meals, when too much liquid can dilute stomach enzymes that break down protein.
About the Author
JJ VIRGIN, cns, chfs, is one of the nation’s foremost nutrition and fitness experts. A 25-year veteran of the health and fitness industry, she has coached high-performance athletes, CEOs and A-list celebrities. She frequently offers health advice for national television, radio, and print media, including NBC’s Today, Access Hollywood and The Doctors, among others. She spent two years as the nutrition expert on Dr. Phil and most recently was the co-host of TLC’s Freaky Eaters. Visit her at www.TheVirginDiet.com.
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