It’s no secret that we at Belmondo Skincare love using nature’s ingredients in our healthy skin regimen. Teaching our clients, customers, and readers about the benefits of using earth-grown ingredients in their skin care regimen is the heart and soul of what we do.
In Part 7 of this 10-part series on the benefits of natural skincare, we’re talking about the best diet for healthy skin, including which foods to eat because they reduce inflammation and which pro-inflammatory foods to avoid.
P.S. Look for Belmondo’s Favorite Tips scattered throughout this series. There’s one in each article. We’re giving you the inside scoop on how we enjoy the things of earth, naturally, for beautiful skin and a greener planet – and how you can, too!
Where does your skin’s beauty start?
Not in the bathroom cabinet that holds your cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. Not even in the refrigerator. (Although that’s a great place to look.)
Your skin’s beauty starts in fields and farms, under the oceans and in the orchards. And in the air, filled with rain water.
We believe that natural beauty is what it sounds like: natural. This means creating a healthy lifestyle, including choosing organic whole foods whenever possible and drinking plenty of water. This leads to a radiant inner beauty which glows from the core of your cells out through your skin.
Eating well -- which means a diet of nourishing, anti-inflammatory whole foods and plenty of water -- is easy and satisfying. And it will almost immediately improve your skin’s complexion, tone, elasticity, and overall vibrancy. We’ll show you how.
After years of research and pursuing a passion for healthy, clean eating in my own life, I’m convinced you can pretty much eat your way to great skin. Not only does your skin thrive with quality nourishment, but so does your whole body, and you get to enjoy the most delicious food the earth has to offer. I call this a win-win-win.
Eating well starts with educating yourself about the benefits of a healthy diet, followed by making a decision to luxuriate your body with whole foods. Please note that while I’m no doctor, the information I’m sharing here is the result of my own extensive research into the field of natural health and nutrition, as well as what I practice in my own lifestyle and recommend to my skincare clients. That said, please always consult the healthcare professional of your choice before making significant dietary changes, especially if you take medications.
For starters, how exactly does food affect the skin?
Food itself doesn’t affect your skin (unless you apply it directly to your skin in the form of an egg or honey mask), but the nutrients in food do once you’ve consumed it and your body has metabolized it. Nutrients make their way to your skin to protect, repair, rebuild, and replenish it, according to their functions.
Your skin needs constant regular input of nourishing foods to help itself regenerate, hence the call for a ‘balanced’ diet featuring a variety of whole foods from all food groups.
And contrary to popular belief, you can’t get the same quality of nutrients from supplements as you can from the real, whole foods.
What you put in your body is reflected through your skin. Fuel your body with high quality nutrients from whole foods and you’ll have an overall look of radiance and health on your skin.
How does stress affect the skin?
When you’re under stress -- going through a divorce, having financial challenges, adjusting to a new job, pregnant, or treating a serious illness -- the need for optimal nutrition is even greater, as energy stores are depleted and hormones are propelled differently through the body in response to emotional and psychological triggers. Good nutrition during these stressful times acts to support and promote healing throughout the body and mind.
What to eat for clear, glowing, well-hydrated, smooth and healthy skin.
Most of us are familiar with the term ‘superfoods.’ Superfoods are foods that have been shown, through years of scientific studies, to promote overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Superfoods and Super Spices
Fruits & Vegetables
You can train yourself to eat more fruits and vegetables -- and learn to crave them, actually -- by eating one at every meal. Another way to up your fruit-and-veg intake is to enjoy a big salad or vegetable-based soup everyday. This TED Talk by Dr. Terry Wahls is an impactful primer on the healing power of fruits and vegetables.
- Apples, avocado, all kinds of berries: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries (fresh or frozen), and other Vitamin C-rich foods.
- Tomatoes, green vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, collard greens, turnips, cauliflower, swiss chard, carrots, spinach, garlic, shallots, leeks, bell peppers, mustard greens. Yams and squash
When it comes to beautiful skin and better brain functioning, healthy oils are your friends.
- Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and extra virgin olive oil -- we at Belmondo are big fans of this last one. [Daniela -- you could insert link here to your article on the benefits of olive oil]
- Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and macadamia nuts (my personal favorite).
Choose high-quality lean proteins, grass-fed when you can. Eating moderate portions of lean animal protein helps to balance your energy and glycemic levels.
- Free-range poultry (chicken/turkey); wild caught fish, such as salmon, sardines, trout, and mackerel. Lean, grass-fed meats.
Wild Caught Fish
- Wild caught fish are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Consume wild caught fish, not farm-raised, 3-4 times a week.
- Take a good fish oil supplement. I recommend Nordic Naturals.
These spices are found to help regulate blood sugar, speed up metabolism, as well as other benefits. Make ample use of them as seasonings or garnishes.
- cinnamon, cumin, oregano, thyme, turmeric, ginger, rosemary, black pepper, and cloves
- yellow curry
Other Excellent Choices
- Beans and legumes.
- Eggs, yogurt and kefir (a probiotic fermented milk drink)
- Dark chocolate -- this one gets me most excited! I eat one piece of dark chocolate every day.
- Tea: green or black. Green tea, especially, contains powerful antioxidants and is very hydrating.
Belmondo’s Favorite Tip No. 7: I love to drink warm water first thing in the morning with some fresh lemon. This is seriously the elixir of life and I love it; it jumpstarts my system and I feel best when I incorporate this ritual in my morning routine. Try it and see what a difference it makes for you. Also recommended by Sara Avant in her book, The Way of the Happy Woman.
- Drink ample water. It will hydrate you and help to flush out toxin. Increase intake when you're active.
Inflammation looks like what it sounds like: inflamed, red, tender, and swollen cells and tissues. Picture what happens when you cut yourself: the area around the cut grows red due to blood rushing to the wound, and the tissues become swollen due to the increased bloodflow. Inflammation occurs inside our body, too, in our joints, blood vessels and around our cells. Chronic inflammation can increase joint problems and exacerbate skin conditions.
We can fight inflammation with good nutrition. Research shows that a diet based on anti-inflammatory foods is the best approach for overall health and glowing, balanced skin.
Most skin conditions -- from acne to rosacea to general dryness -- are triggered or worsened by inflammation. Inflammation literally turns up the heat in your body. It revs up your metabolism, churns out cortisol (the stress hormone), and increases the temperature in your body. Each time we subject our body to the stress of inflammation, our body is left with debris in the form of free radicals and other by-products that damage our cells, leading to premature wrinkles and skin dryness.
An anti-inflammatory diet features the highest quality foods from all major foods groups, including all of those in the list above.
Here is an additional list of particularly anti-inflammatory foods to help keep your skin healthy and clear:
- Colourful fruits and Vegetable
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Lean Proteins - aim for grass fed
- Salmon, Sardines, and other cold-water fatty fish
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Red pepper
- Spinach, dark leafy vegetables
Avoid these, as they do nothing of value for your body, your brain, or your skin:
- Bread, bagels
- Corn Syrup, high fructose corn syrup -- check labels carefully, as this stuff is lurking in many processed foods that may be marketed as ‘healthy’
- Fried Foods
- Hydrogenated Fats, found mostly in packaged foods.
- Non-dairy creamers -- they're made from hydrogenated oils
- Processed meats
- Sugary drinks: fruit drinks, fruit juices with added corn syrup
- Sweetened Cereals
Eating well for natural beauty is a lifelong proposition, and a pleasurable one at that. I’m so glad to share with you today what works well for me, in the hopes that you will receive benefit and increased vitality, too: a diet that helps to reduce inflammation and promote total wellness and healthy, clear skin. I hope you enjoy eating the things of earth, naturally!
Like Belmondo on Facebook for more skin-friendly tips to promote your healthy lifestyle and longterm beauty.
*We at Belmondo Organic Skincare are natural skincare professionals, not medical professionals. If you have a skin condition you feel needs medical attention, please consult a physician.