Key foods that will save your skin
I started eating well (by this I mean healthy) in my 20’s and I think that has been the solid base for my skin. Clear healthy, glowing skin is the sign of your organs functioning well. From a Macrobiotic perspective, the skin solely and wholely relies on what you eat and your ‘gut’ health to do reflect itself. Skin microbiome is a field that is emerging, and there is a lot of conversation on our ‘gut’ bacteria determining our skin health. The lungs manifests in the skin, so clearly good skin is a sign that oxygenation is taking place as planned by the body. The lungs send body fluids to the skin for moisture and nourishment. Your lung condition is very important for great skin. Unhealthy skin is an indicator of a deeper lung issues, and vice-versa. Deficient lung ‘qi’ can cause wrinkles, itchy, dry, rough skin. What you are on the inside, is exactly what will reflect on the outside. Even the most difficult skin problem, that is those arise out of an autoimmune state, largely happen due to the ‘gut’ being a precursor to the condition itself.
Having said that lets look at the key foods that you will build the foundation of good, clear and vibrant skin. The only real tools are a good diet, exercise, daily care, minimize stress and rest (sleep).
Foods that do not help the skin
- Meat, chicken, eggs, dairy foods, fish, and animal foods tend to be contracting in nature, they will also produce a tightening effect on the body. This means constricting, while some amount of balance can be made for fish; the rest of the animal foods category tends to do just that – contract and tighten (tissues, muscles; restricting blood flow). Heavy dense proteins are laden with saturated fats, contracting minerals, sodium; and become difficult to assimilate.
- Sugar produces an expansive effect, and depletes minerals over-time; besides causing insulin imbalances. Sugars comes in various form, and hidden sugars are also present in various food products and refined white flour (maida).
- Processed and preserved foods may have a lot of sodium and other preservatives; the use of fire, pressure and salt while packaging causes the same contracting effect that animal foods do.
- Colas, sodas, aerated beverages also have caffeine and sugars, and do not augur well for a radiant skin.
To achieve radiant skin, we must know what foods will cause us to discharge on our skin negatively; for example, if you suffer from skin issues that get worse with heat, then eating foods that are warming will cause a skin discharge. If your skin is dry, then choosing foods that will cool the body will again cause issues.
Whole, natural foods that are closer to nature and less de-natured are the base for nutrients that are needed. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and good fats. A base diet should always focus on the food groups that nourish skin.
The basic foods that save the skin
- Complex carbohydrates are a good source of fibre, and also promotes smooth functioning of the digestive tract; ensuring proper waste elimination. When there is no stagnation of wastes in the body, automatically it will reflect on your skin. Here, I cannot emphasize the necessity of whole grains from a brown/red rice to any good millet that really aids with the amounts of antioxidants and anti-aging benefits (brown rice alone has 70 anti-aging antioxidants).
- Good quality protein helps those collagen fibres and aids skin repair; protein also maintains our muscles; this means lean protein if you eat fish and meats and plant-based protein if you are a vegetarian/vegan. Excess protein (animal protein) is not good for your skin. We don’t want those pathways getting blocked we must maintain the quality of blood being clean and not toxic.
- Vegetables, which not only have good quality fibre; but also, coloured vegetables that have plenty of antioxidants to help with skin repair as well (E.g., beta carotene that converts to Vitamin A and aids in skin repair is essential from coloured vegetables). Plus, leafy greens and green vegetables (also in the form of barley grass or wheat grass), these mimic the blood structure and are necessary for cleansing the blood and the much needed chlorophyll they provide.
- Fermented foods, serve a crucial part of any diet plan supplying good amounts of probiotics to nourish our guts. Foods like sauerkraut, quick pickles, non-dairy kefir, kimchi are highly recommended.
- Nuts and seeds bring in the trace minerals, good fats and oils that are needed to keep the skin supple and our pores nourished.
- Fruits again provide a plethora of vitamins and antioxidants to help the skin.
- Just the right amount of water or liquids as too much will loosen and expand our tissues, a lot of water comes from the foods you eat. An excess of liquids puts a pressure on the kidneys, bladder and sweat glands as well; making us tired over time. We need just enough, one way of measuring this is to ask ourselves: are we really thirsty?
- Adding sea vegetables like spirulina helps in detoxification, vitamins, protein, minerals and antioxidants.
- Top up the diet with turmeric and collagen from bone broth or a vegan source.
- I would add a list of other skin antioxidants, however its best you are under a practitioner for these. Don’t forget to use your skin serums, cleanser, toner, sun block and night cream as a routine daily.
Lifestyle for radiant skin
- Breathing and pranayama to help the lungs stay healthy is very helpful.
- Exercise to keep the circulation up and help oxygenate cells.
- Massage to aid lymphatic drainage and aid circulation.
- Have a skin routine, such as cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize and use a sunblock – for those who are aging please use serums, as prescribed by your health practitioner.
- Cultivate a positive attitude, use meditation or any technique that will help you achieve an attitude.
- Have gratitude, to have attitude. Stay happy, the skin is a reflection of your colon and your mind.