Importantly, manifestations of your nutritional status as well as body's nutritional needs reflect on the skin's health.
10 FOODS THAT CAN HARM YOUR SKIN:
1. Foods that disturb water balance
Dehydration causes drying of the skin. Wrinkling is a common side effect of lack of moisture in the skin. Dehydration and acne are interlinked because drying of skin and dead skin cells coming together cause acne.
2. Excess salt
Excess salt retains additional fluid in the body causing swelling and a puffy look to the skin. The skin texture is spoilt on prolonged salt abuse. Commercially salted foods (table salt), brined/canned foods, processed products are the potential sources of salt to the body.
3. Excess caffeine
Caffeine is a known stimulant which increase the cortisol production in the body and enhances the ageing process by thinning the skin. This dehydrates the skin and even leads to wrinkling. In addition, caffeine is a diuretic which further increases the risk of dehydration. So beware when you decide to go for an additional helping of coffee, tea or chocolates too!
Alcohol inhibits the Anti-Diuretic Hormone secretion thus causing dehydration. Furthermore, it also causes vasodilatation, which then leads to excess water loss through the skin. This is also known to be a contributing factor to acute phases of psoriasis as per the American Academy of Dermatology.
5. Foods with high glycemic load
These foods cause drastic fluctuations in the blood sugar. This leads to excess secretion of insulin and androgens during the high and low bouts respectivel. A major reason to contribute to surplus sebum production, enhanced skin cell division and aggregation of dead skin cells - leading to acne.
6. Excess sugar and use of artificial sweeteners, colours, flavours
These chemicals lodge into our systems and are difficult to flush out of our body. Overuse and inability to flush them out in time could be the pre-cursor for free radical production.
7. Aerated beverages
Aerated drinks can be nightmarish for the skin. Their caffeine content makes them the villains for skin health.
8. Processed foods
Refined or processed foods (and flours) and their products, canned and sweetened fruits and juices are low in fiber content, thus increasing the glycemic load. Moreover the processed foods are often high in their salt/sodium content. As a by-product of processing, these also lose the nutrients of the parent food products important for skin health.
9. Foods that enhance free-radical production
Free radicals are known to disrupt the skin's structure by destroying collagen and elastin; the fibres that support the skin structure. They also cause damage at the cellular level by disturbing the DNA structure.
10. Fried foods and hydrogenated fat
Excess heat application like during frying of foods and production of hydrogenated fat (margarine) leads to oxidation of fatty acids and destruction of anti-oxidant nutrients like vitamin E, omega-3 fats present in the oils/fat. Generation of trans-fatty acids encourages free radical production by fueling the oxidation process. So next time you think margarine is healthier to butter...you'll remember reading this!
Crash diets affect skin health through all the 3 mechanisms discussed before. Dehydration is a side effect of crash dieting. Studies suggest that consuming lot of water throughout this phase barely helps and this is because body doesn't retain water due to nutritional deprivation and lack of balanced meals.
Crash diets are known to cause dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar levels, no wonder acnes are so common amongst anorexics and bulemics. Skin requires antioxidant nutrients (Vitamins A, C, E, zinc, selenium, etc.) that scavenge the free radicals. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology (Feb, 2005) testifies that long term vitamins C and E intake is linked with reduced incidence of sunburns from exposure to UVB radiation. These antioxidant vitamins help protect against DNA damage by protecting the skin structure. Crash diets are known to cause nutrient deficiencies and thereby the lack of antioxidants too.
7 FOODS THAT KEEP YOU YOUNG
Apart from being high in Vitamin E, avocados are rich in antioxidants which help protect the skin. Avocados help in regenerating skin cells which makes your skin look fresh, giving a more youthful complexion.
Walnuts are a rich source of Vitamin E and having a handful can help your skin look great.
3. Kidney Beans
These pulses are full of fibre and potassium which help reduce the cholesterol levels and thus reduce the risk of any heart disease. But their major health benefit is that they are packed with proteins.
Broccoli is a great source of fibre and Vitamin C which not only help control weight, but also help to fight heart diseases. Sulforaphane found in broccoli hinders the growth of cancer cells.
Blueberries are rich in Vitamin C, which help in easy circulation of blood. Blueberries also contain certain minerals which help control the anti-ageing process. High in potassium, these berries help fight puffiness.
6. Aloe Vera juice
Aloe vera juice is excellent if you want younger-looking skin. Have 30 ml aloe vera juice diluted with 100 ml water early morning on empty stomach. And after 20-30 minutes you can have your regular breakfast.
7. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are a very rich source of selenium, a mineral that works very well with Vitamin E to stop oxidative stress and cell damage caused by free radicals; thus, slowing down the aging process. But should be eaten in moderation (two nuts a day) because of its high fat content.
Natasha Longo has a master's degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.