Eat The Rainbow For Betting Skin
’Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry. But that doesn’t mean you have to blow your diet, puff up like the Pillsbury Doughboy, or risk an eczema flare due to poor food choices.
If you’re looking for ways to support clear, radiant skin, it may be as simple as looking in your refrigerator or cupboard. Overall health and wellness as a focus for skin and general well-being can benefit from a healthy diet and exercise. Chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis also can benefit from dietary changes.
Even if you have relatively clear skin, a diet high in fat, processed foods, sugar, and alcohol can cause inflammation, puffiness, and dehydration. Meat, dairy, wheat, and soy are other known food allergens that promote inflammation.
Eat the rainbow for better skin
Nutrition is a natural way to improve your overall health, and experts recommend eating a variety of whole unprocessed foods in their most natural states. Consuming fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains give your body and skin a boost of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support optimal health.
Why wait until the New Year to start a new eating routine? Eat the rainbow of foods and drink plenty of water to help give your skin a glow this winter. Start with a few small adjustments, like eating a fruit or vegetable at every meal or drinking a glass of water between alcoholic drinks. Read on to see how you can eat the rainbow and improve your health.
Yellow/Orange = Carotenoids
Orange and yellow foods are rich in Vitamin C and carotenoids, including beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. Along with supporting healthy skin and eyes, yellow foods fight the damaging effects of the sun and environmental irritants. They protect against heart disease and cancer, promote healthy joints/tissues, lower cholesterol, and boost immunity.
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash (butternut, kabocha, acorn)
- Orange and yellow peppers
Red = Phytochemicals
Fruits and vegetables in the red family are known cancer fighters, but they also improve skin quality and cell renewal. High in lycopene, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid, these foods lower blood pressure, support a healthy heart and reduce the risk of diabetes.
- Red peppers
- Red onions
Green = Antioxidants
There’s a reason why green smoothies are so popular. A powerful antioxidant, chlorophyll makes plants green. Eating green promotes detoxification, reduces inflammation, and improves digestion. Green fruits and vegetables are rich in lutein, folate, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, and vitamin K. Along with boosting energy and vitality, these foods support good eyesight, mood, insomnia, and overall immunity.
- Romaine lettuce
- Collard greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Green grapes and apples
- Spinach and swiss chard
- Arugula and kale
- Green beans
- Kiwi fruit
Blue/purple = Resveratrol
If you don’t eat blue and purple foods, it’s time to start. They offer an array of health benefits for the brain, heart, and skin. They are high in phytonutrients, including anthocyanins, polyphenols, and resveratrol. Research supports their anti-cancer, anti-aging properties. Resveratrol slows signs of aging and other skin problems. Bonus: The darker the food, the higher the antioxidant level.
High in flavonoids, these foods fight free radicals, protect against cellular damage and keep you looking younger. Blue and purple foods also promote brain health, lower blood pressure, and support eye and urinary health. In the way of chronic skin conditions, these foods can reduce the inflammatory response in the body and promote detoxification.
- Red (purple) grapes
- Red (purple) cabbage
White = Overall health
White foods sometimes get a bad rap for being high in starch and carbohydrates, but they have a range of health benefits. Onions and garlic contain antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, which can help control chronic inflammation and boost immunity.
They’re also rich in cancer-fighting compounds such as sulforaphane, allicin, quercetin, and phytonutrients. Other nutrients include potassium, fiber, beta-glucans, lignans, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These foods are good for heart health, digestive tract health, and overall immunity.
- Daikon radish
Healthy fats = Anti-inflammatory
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and Vitamin E are some of the best for maintaining good skin. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep skin supple and moisturized, protecting against dry skin, acne, and the sun’s UV rays. Omega-3 fats and zinc reduce inflammation while promoting skin cell turnover and a healthy skin barrier. And Vitamin E protects your skin from oxidative damage.
- Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel
- Nuts, especially walnuts
- Olive, flax, and coconut oil
- Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
Water = Hydration
Drinking enough water is important for good health as well as good skin. Since the skin is your largest organ, water helps carry moisture to the outermost layer, supplies nutrients to the skin’s cells, and eliminates toxins.
Without enough water, your skin can look dull and dry. Dehydration accelerates the aging process, making wrinkles and pores more noticeable. During the winter months, cold and dry air depletes your skin even more. You may deal with itchy or chaffed skin, red, irritated skin, and chapped lips.
Staying hydrated improves skin elasticity, helping it to look smooth and soft. It’s less likely to crack and reduces skin rashes and blemishes. Aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water or until you no longer feel thirsty. Add in sports drinks with electrolytes if you’ve been sick or exercise excessively.
Diet improves health, skin
It’s increasingly clear that what you eat does impact the health and age of your skin. In general, you want to limit foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar, preservatives, GMO ingredients, and artificial ingredients you cannot pronounce.
A healthy diet improves overall health, and a poor diet contributes to cancer, inflammation, and autoimmune disorders. Food allergies and intolerances often manifest as skin rashes and itchy skin.
Being mindful of what you eat can help control acne, eczema, and other skin conditions. Studies show foods high in sugar, trans fats, and artificial ingredients can exacerbate symptoms for eczema sufferers. And chronic conditions such as psoriasis are known to improve with an anti-inflammatory diet.
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Add colorful fruits and vegetables into your meal planning and holiday parties. It’s an easy way to boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and improve the look of your skin. Instead of grabbing chips and a soda, try drinking a glass of water and snacking on nuts or a banana. Remember to eat the rainbow for better skin.
APDerm offers a variety of medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology services. Contact APDerm today if you are concerned about acne or chronic skin problems that may be associated with food allergies.