Now that the season for New Year’s resolutions is here, many of you may be giving some extra thought to your eating habits. This year, keep in mind that what we eat is as important to the appearance of our face as it is to the size and shape of our body. Every aspect of our health from digestion and skin and muscle repair to mood regulation is affected by our diet. A diet that supports the healthy functioning of our organs and tissues optimizes the defining elements of a beautiful, youthful face. A radiant complexion, firm facial muscles, and a vibrant expression are all reflections of a thoughtful, balanced approach to eating.
Here are some dietary tips for maintaining a naturally attractive face:
1. Eat enzyme-rich foods – Raw plant-based and naturally fermented foods contain high levels of enzymes, substances that speed up and regulate chemical reactions in the body. Enzymes improve digestion and help cleanse the blood by breaking down toxins and organic wastes. Our body’s supply of these vital substances declines as we age. To replenish enzyme levels, include foods such as raw fruit and vegetables, sprouted grains, yogurt, miso, olives, and sauerkraut in your meals and snacks. You’ll find that eating these foods not only increases you energy levels, but also helps restore the clear eyes and fresh complexion of youth.
2. Consume plenty of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables – Broccoli, kale, yellow and red peppers, purple plums and grapes—eating a “rainbow diet” will ensure you get the antioxidants you need to fight the effects of free radical damage on the skin. Carotenoids—a type of antioxidant found in deeply pigmented fruits and vegetables—can even improve skin tone. These yellow, orange, and red pigments give your complexion a healthy golden glow.
3. Get enough protein – The amino acids in the proteins we eat provide our bodies with the raw materials for rebuilding the collagen fibers in our skin, muscles, and bones. Over time as collagen production declines, these tissues atrophy, causing sagging and wrinkling. To help slow this process, our diet should consist of 10% to 35% protein. The quality of the protein we consume is as important as the quantity. High-quality proteins contain some or all of the 9 essential amino acids that our body can’t manufacture on its own. Good sources of these amino acids include meat, fish, egg whites, legumes, soy, nuts, and quinoa.
4. Include healthy fats – Omega-3 fatty acids from plant sources and fatty cold-water fish have powerful anti-aging benefits. These healthy fats help keep the skin moist, control acne, and repair sun damage. By repairing cell membranes, omega-3s help protect the skin from environmental threats They’ve also been shown to improve mood and sleep, two important factors in maintaining a young, vital look. Good sources of omega-3s include olive oil, flaxseeds, nuts, avocados, salmon, and mackerel.
5. Avoid refined carbohydrates – High blood glucose levels from foods like white flour and sugar can trigger the chronic inflammation and hormonal imbalances associated with acne. Chronic inflammation also contributes to the breakdown of the collagen and elastin fibers that keep our skin strong and resilient. These fibers can begin to crack and tear when they bond with sugar molecules. To keep both acne and wrinkles at bay, substitute fresh fruit for sugary treats and replace refined carbohydrates with 100% whole grain products.
Your face is the mirror of your total health and wellbeing. In upcoming posts, I’ll be saying more about how to beautify your face by adopting healthy lifestyle practices.