Skin Food

With the holiday season fast approaching I have many patients motivated to look and feel their best. One thing we all have control over is our food choices and by making the right ones we can give ourselves a boost leading into the holiday season.
When thinking about the relationship of the food we eat and the effect it has on our skin – some people appear to be luckier than others.
At one end of the spectrum, we have sensitive individuals in which certain foods can cause breakouts, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. Many of these people realize that there is a relationship between food and their skin and therefore have strong motivation to follow a certain diet.
At the other end of the spectrum, we have non sensitive individuals in which eating a poor diet seems to have little effect on their immediate skin health. These people generally have less motivation to consume or avoid certain foods for their skin because there are no noticeable effects in the short-term.
However, even if eating fried or highly processed foods doesn’t lead to a breakout in a few days,  the longterm effects of skin wrinkling, dull complexion, dark circles, and lack of cellular hydration are every bit as much of a reality for non sensitive individuals as they are for sensitive people.
As with any change, it is important to ask yourself how important your skin health and appearance is? Is this something you wish to improve and preserve as you age? If so, then it is important to make the proper food choices, prioritize preparation time, and maintain a certain degree of self-disciple to not overindulge in poor food choices.
Here are three of the best foods to prevent wrinkles and maintain a luminous glow.
RAW VEGETABLE JUICE: Packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes. Raw vegetable juices are also cleansing to the liver which processes many of the toxins we ingest. A better functioning liver means that less toxins are available to contribute to skin aging and breakouts. Commit to raw juicing for one month and experience the fresh glow that will result.
Dose: 250 – 500 mL per day
Include: cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, parsley, carrot, beet, ginger, lemon (try to avoid apple, pears or other sweet fruits).
Tip: Juice enough for 2 days and store the rest tightly covered in the fridge. Total time commitment is 15 minutes to juice and clean up. Raw juices can also be purchased at health food stores and other juice bars. Juice a large batch every couple days while preparing other meals to save time.
SWEET POTATO, CARROTS, BUTTERNUT SQUASH: These vegetables are high in carotenoids (orange pigments) which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to prevent wrinkles and sagging. A study found that high intakes of these vegetables also creates a healthy tanned appearance. Tanning in the sun creates colouration of the skin through melanization, where as consuming these vegetables creates skin colouration through the carotenoids they contain. When the study compared people that had colouration through melanization (from the sun) vs. colouration though carotenoids (from sweet potato, carrots, etc.), 75.9% of examiners stated that the people with colouration from carotenoids looked more appealing.
Dose: 1 – 2 cups steamed or baked at least 5 days per week
SALMON: In addition to providing several vitamins and minerals, salmon provides two crucial nutrients for skin health: omega 3’s and astaxanthin. Omega 3’s are incorporated into cell membranes to enhance transport of nutrients, energy metabolites, and waste products. A lack of omega 3’s results in stiff and rigid cell membranes. Skin health is dependent on properly functioning cell membranes in order to hold water and allow nutrients and waste to enter and leave the cell. Skin cells that lack omega 3’s are unable to hold moisture and appear dull, dry, and saggy. Astaxanthin is a unique carotenoid found in algae that has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to prevent wrinkling. A study found that women consuming astaxanthin for 8 weeks showed significant improvements in skin hydration, roughness, elasticity, fine lines, and wrinkles compared to a placebo group. Astaxanthin also provides internal protection from the sun and therefore provides optimal protection when paired with a  topical sunscreen.
Dose: 4 – 6 oz. (standard portion) three times per week
Tip: Choose wild salmon over farm raised Atlantic salmon whenever possible. Aegis Luma Glow also contains omega 3’s from flax and fish, astaxanthin, evening primrose oil, and vitamin D and can be used in conjunction with regular salmon intake.
Challenge yourself to incorporate one or all of these foods into your diet consistently for the next 6 weeks while emphasizing other healthy unprocessed foods to give yourself the gift of luminous skin this holiday season.
Lefevre, C. E., Perrett, D. L. (2015). Fruit over sunbed: Carotenoid skin colouration is found more attractive than melanin colouration. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68: 284-93.
Tominaga, K., Hongo, N., Karato, M., Yamashita, E. (2012). Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on human subjects. Acta Biochimica Polonica. 59: 43-47.

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