Your diet & skin are connected more than you think

“You are what you eat.”

This can’t be more true for our skin. While the correlation between the quality of one’s diet and its impact on physical health (especially the heart, gut, immune system) and mental wellness has long been established, what often gets missed is its very visible effect on our largest organ - the skin.

This is especially evident within the new setting we find ourselves in, being safely ensconced in Zoom windows while working from home, where one can be pardoned to focus singularly on chasing immunity with the infusion of everything from Amlas to Turmeric in their diet. However, whether attending a meeting virtually or in-person; fresh, glowing skin goes a long way in making a distinctive presence across one’s engagements.

So, the next time you lay down your plate for a meal, pause for a moment. What’s on it, really? And how can it impact your well-being, including your skin? A fact that is completely unrelated to whether you have existing skin concerns or not is, how your food habits are impacting your skin. 

While talking skincare and food, one of the primary things to do is to take an inside-out approach. This means, the healthier the food items you consume, the healthier is your skin.  

The food-skin connection

If your plate is laden with meals cooked straight out of a ready-to-eat pack and tons of carbohydrates like chocolates, French fries, soft drinks etc. – you need to rethink your choices. These foods when consumed regularly can lead to chronic inflammation in the body and show up on your skin in the form of acne & pimples. 

Also, there’s a strong correlation between diet and protection of your skin from sun-damage. Of course, there’s sunscreen that shields you from the sun’s UV rays, however, a lesser known fact is that there are certain foods that can protect your skin from sun damage – the effects of which can be wrinkles, early aging, sagging skin or even melanoma (a serious form of skin cancer). This is where your diet fits in! Foods rich in antioxidants can help protect your skin from the sun and reduce the extent of sun damage, naturally. 

What to eat, what to avoid?

Good carbohydrates like beans, potatoes, oats, quinoa, can be consumed in healthy amounts. They help regularize your blood pressure and amp up your energy levels. Include nuts and seeds in your diet; almonds and cashews are rich in minerals while chia, flax or pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamins, both of which lend a healthy glow to your skin. Dark coloured fruits and vegetables like carrots, beets, pumpkins are often a good source of vitamin A and C, both of which are antioxidants that help in fighting sun damage and are essentials for keeping your collagen levels up. 

To ensure a healthy skin, avoid processed foods and consumption of white sugar. Both are a major cause of inflammation and acne. Refined carbs tend to make your skin oiler by increasing the sebum production eventually leading to acne formation. Also, it is advisable to cut down on soda and sugary drinks since these can affect the formation of collagen in your skin as well as lead to blemishes.

The bottom line

Your food choices make or break your skin. It is essential to feed your skin with enough nutrients in order to keep it healthy and glowing naturally. And whilst you’re at it, make sure to keep yourself hydrated. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day is the first step to a healthier skin.

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