Battling acne, worried about wrinkles, skin looking blah, or wondering what to do to prevent skin cancer? Foods to the rescue, of course! Here are 5 nutrition tips to help you tackle them all:
1. Dairy foods (milk, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, ice cream, frozen yogurt, etc.) and refined carbs (sugar, candy, soda, white pasta, white bread, white rice, etc.) with their resulting insulin spike are really, really good at making pimples. Drop both for 3 weeks and see your skin clear up. More on the whys here.
2. Get enough protein, and get it from plants to help prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Skin is made of protein, and an adequate supply is needed to prevent its deterioration. Your daily protein needs are based on your body weight and are equivalent to your body weight in lbs X 0.36. So, a 180-lb. person needs 65 grams of protein a day. But, you can’t eat it all at once — it should come at 15-20 gram increments throughout the day. Plant proteins are best because they’re moderate while still being sufficient in protein (too much protein harms your kidneys, bones, and encourages weight gain), and some are rich in another wrinkle-destroying diva: Vitamin E. Vitamin E is highest in sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, and spinach. Vitamin E also protects your skin from melanoma. Eat up!
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids aren’t just important for heart health. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a eating Linoleic Acid-rich foods (walnuts, flaxseeds, and flaxseed meal) greatly reduces wrinkle formation and may even help eliminate wrinkles that have already formed. Use flaxseed meal as an egg substitute in baking and French toast, or toss it into smoothies or cereal. Wrinkles be gone!
4. Upping your intake of Red, Orange, Yellow, and Dark Green fruits and veggies by just 1 serving a day is likely to make your skin look healthier and more attractive in just 6 weeks. A study done with Scottish college students showed exactly that. The antioxidants and rich pigments in colorful fruits and veggies — specifically beta-carotene an lycopene — greatly affect skin tone and encourage rosier, healthier-looking cheeks and skin. A Bonus: These veggies and fruits are also rich in Vitamin C, which helps prevent the free-radical damage responsible for most skin cancers. As a goal, try for 4 servings of veggies and 3 servings of fruit each day. Rainbow power!
5. Aside from wearing your SPF while all the while still getting adequate Vitamin D, Caffeine may actually help you prevent skin cancer. Research from Harvard’s Nurses Health Study showed a 20% decreased risk in women who drank 3 or more cups of coffee a day. Research still emerging on this one, but coffee drinkers may just be ok afterall.
See recipes here for ideas on including all these tips in your food day.