A high-glycemic diet, one that’s heavy on pizza, bread, and desserts, can really do a number on the skin. Scientists aren’t quite sure why this happens, but it’s true for a substantial number of people. They look older, have poor skin color and are prone to breakouts. The same goes for alcohol or too much caffeine. Alcohol dehydrates – think how thirsty people are when they wake up with a hangover – and dehydration shows up in the skin, lessening elasticity. Caffeine is a vasodilator (opens up the capillaries) and can make skin look red and swollen. So can spicy foods, which are definitely a no-no for those with rosacea.
MSG and heavy salt consumption can make the face look puffy, particularly around the eyes. If you have a heavy hand with the saltshaker and also have chronically puffy eyes, you might want to consider cutting down on your salt intake. For people with acne, dairy and sugar are a bad combination. Recent studies have shown that cutting out dairy and sugar improves acne in a substantial percentage of patients.
I am a firm believer in the benefits of green tea and even offer it to the patients in my practice. It has proven anti-oxidant properties as a beverage and is a very good anti-inflammatory when applied directly to the skin. But this is only true of freshly brewed tea. As for beverages that claim to balance or clarify the skin, it’s a great marketing ploy, but totally not true. People who buy these products are making companies richer, but not helping their skin.
So what foods and drink are good for the skin? For starters, fresh fruit and vegetables, lots of them, which contain vital phytonutrients that are not found in pills, flavored waters or energy bars. Raw nuts, like almonds and walnuts. Extra-virgin olive oil. Lean protein. Water – plain. Fresh green tea, with a squirt of lemon. People who eat all these things, drink plenty of water and stay away from sugar and dairy notice an improvement in their skin tone in just a couple of weeks.
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