Skincare Series: What to Eat for Clear Skin
In the last article, we talked about five skincare products that every man needs on his bathroom counter. Let’s keep the skincare conversation going. Below, you’ll find ten skin-enhancing foods to keep you glowing from the inside-out.
Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria that live inside of our bodies (mainly the gut) and support our health. Sometimes we don’t have enough of them, and that gives way for bad bacteria to trigger inflammatory responses like acne.
Luckily, we can restore balance to the bacterial environment by taking supplements and eating foods rich in probiotics. Probiotic food includes yogurt, kimchi, miso, and kombucha — just to name a few.
Once you’ve got all of that good bacteria showing love to your digestive tract, it’s time to throw some prebiotics in the mix. Think of prebiotics as food for your probiotics. Asparagus, dandelion greens, grapefruit, garlic, chickpeas, bananas — just some of the foods that nourish your gut’s microbiome and keep the inflammation at bay.
#3 Low-glycemic foods
When we talk about foods that are high and low on the glycemic index, we’re referring to how much they affect blood sugar levels. High GI foods like white bread and cookies tend to spike blood sugar levels, which can spark inflammation and irritate skin. There’s no such thing as “bad” foods, but if you’re eating all refined carbs, you might want to introduce more balance into your diet with low GI foods.
Quinoa, steel-cut oats, sweet potato, chicken, brown rice, avocado, berries, eggs — these are all examples of low-glycemic foods. There are plenty more, but that’s a great place to start!
#4 Non-dairy milk
For all my dairy lovers out there, I ain’t got nothing against you — I love all of y’all. I just want to provide you the data to help you make the best decision for your unique situation. While there’s no evidence that explicitly says that dairy causes acne, we have reason to believe that dairy may influence it.
A study from 2018 examined dairy intake and acne among 78,529 children, adolescents, and young adults. The researchers broke the experiment down into different types of dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese), dairy subgroups (full fat, low fat, skim, etc.), and dairy at various amounts and frequencies. What they found was that consuming any type of dairy was associated with a higher likelihood of acne for people between 17 and 30 years old.
The awesome news is that we have plenty of options for dairy alternatives these days. There’s milk made from soy, coconut, almond, cashew, rice, and of course the newest craze — oat.
Berries may be tiny, but they’re jam-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. What do antioxidants have to do with skin? Well, to start — antioxidants fight inflammation, support skin repair, and protect against free radicals which cause skin to prematurely age.
So go ahead and get yourself blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and açaí. Your skin will be smooth and bright in no time.
#6 Leafy Greens
If you’re not into berries, you’re in luck. Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are full of antioxidants. Let’s take a closer look at the types of antioxidants we can find in our salads and green smoothies:
- Vitamin A works very well for dry and flaky skin. It’s also the vitamin that the anti-aging ingredient retinol is derived from.
- Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that brightens skin, smooths fine lines, and scavenges for free radicals. Many popular skincare products also contain vitamin C to apply topically. (Just talk to your dermatologist to figure out the concentration level that’s right for you.)
- Vitamin E counters inflammation and protects the skin from sun damage.
Note that these vitamins and antioxidants all perform multiple functions that are too long to list here. But just a bit of research will reveal them for the multi-tasking powerhouses they are!
We can’t stop saying good things about this powerful little root, but since you’ve heard me talk plenty about it, I’ll keep it short: Turmeric is one of nature’s greatest weapons against inflammation. It’s also been proven to support immunity and brain function.
There are lots of ways to fit turmeric into your diet, but my personal favorites are through drinking turmeric tea and taking turmeric supplements.
And we’re not just talking about egg whites. Egg yolk is known to be super rich in vitamin A, an antioxidant whose primary function is skin repair. So next time you whip up an omelette, don’t feel obligated to use only egg whites! Your skin will thank you.
#9 Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are yet another great source of antioxidants that protect skin from, you guessed it, free radicals. (Are you starting to sense a theme here?)
But more specifically, these little guys provide our bodies with something called selenium. According to Dr. Kedar Prasad, a renowned expert in micronutrients, selenium “increases the glutathione level in your skin cells.” To understand what this means for your skin, think of glutathione as the mother of all antioxidants — it’s a pretty big deal.
Last but not least, make sure you’re getting in enough citrus in your diet. You can do your lemons, oranges, grapefruit — the list goes on. These fruits are great because they support the body’s natural production of collagen, helping the skin to be both firmer and more elastic.
In terms of skin firmness, it’s worth noting that men might not get as great of results as women, and that’s because men naturally have thicker skin. But before you dismiss citrus all together, realize that citrus (namely vitamin C) is the key to powerful immunity. And once you’ve got your immunity working at optimal levels, your skin will be the inevitable beneficiary.
We hope this helps you on your skin journey. Did we leave anything out? Leave a comment below and share your gems with the Evan Alexander community.