Today’s article was written by Soapwalla Chef, Rachel Winard. Rachel has created a fabulous organic skincare line – learn more here! A HUGE thanks to Rachel for authoring this article for Tiny Green Mom!

We are what we eat. What we put in our bodies is just as important, if not more so, than what we put on our bodies. Skin is the largest human organ and works hard to nourish us and eliminate waste and toxins from our bodies via sweat and oil secretion. Skin problems reflect stress, poor eating choices and lack of sleep almost immediately (doesn’t it seem like those fine lines and undereye circles appeared overnight? That’s because they virtually did!).

Luckily, our skin is forgiving, and great skin starts with a great foundation: our diets. All those fancy minerals and extracts in your organic, natural face creams that you religiously apply twice a day – these are exactly the kinds of foods you want to be eating as well. Below are some tips to help you get that gorgeous glow from the inside:

(1) WATER. Drink it, lots of it, several times a day. Water helps the skin flush toxins from the system, keeps skin plump and supple, and reduces fine lines and dryness. I never leave the house without my trusty 32-oz. Sigg™ water bottle, and I refill it several times a day.

(2) ANTIOXIDANTS. Antioxidants combat the signs of aging caused by the oxidation of our cells – basically, the rusting of our cells, as Dr. Michael Roizen, co-author of YOU: The Owner’s Manual, puts it. Beauty superfoods that are potent sources of antioxidants include berries of all kinds (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc), pomegranates, prunes, purple grapes, kale, kiwis, spinach, tomatoes, oranges, and artichokes. Dr. Roizen recommends five servings of organically grown antioxidant-rich foods a day. An easy way to get your fill: make a smoothie for breakfast each morning, using a handful of berries (frozen works perfectly well), an orange, a splash of apple juice and a handful of spinach. Blend until completely smooth and drink up!

(3) ACTIVITY. Move every day. Exercise generates sweat, creates muscle tone, brings blood to the surface of the skin, reduces bloating and puffiness, and gives you a boost of endorphins, which do wonders for your skin. Just 15 minutes of walking every day will rejuvenate you.

(3) SUGAR. Cut out refined sugar. Sugar is one of the main culprits of premature aging!* Why is this? According to Dr. Cathy Wong ND, author of The Inside-Out Diet, “The more sugar we eat, the more sugar we have coursing through our bloodstream…. Over time, this results in a process known as glycation – where glucose (sugar) molecules damage protein molecules by sticking to them. These new molecules are called Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs).”** AGEs destroy skin collagen, cartilage and ligaments, which results in reduced elasticity, and produces wrinkles and sagging skin.

(5) GOOD FATS. Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids are crucial for optimum skin and overall health, particularly if you suffer from eczema, psoriasis, chronic dry skin, and/or rosacea flares. They create cell membranes, regulate hormones and a host of other body chemicals which fight inflammation (a premature ager), reduce wrinkles, promote strong heart and arterial walls, and prevent cancer. Olives and olive oil, almonds, avocados, walnuts and flax seeds are excellent sources of essential fatty acids.

There is nothing more beautiful than good health. Simple nutritious foods combined with water and exercise – a recipe for beauty, inside and out.