Last time, we talked about preventing skin breakouts with brushing and exfoliation. But there’s a strong connection between your diet and your skin health, too! Red, irritated skin is caused by inflammation. Some foods can cause inflammation, such as those with lots of saturated fat or trans-fat (so try to limit your exposure to those). Luckily, there are also foods that can actively reduce skin redness and promote overall skin health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are some of the most important nutrients for fighting inflammation. But there’s just one problem: while Omega-3s are for good your overall health and can enrich your skin, your body can’t synthesize them by itself! You need to get them by eating foods that are densely packed with these essential fatty acids. Some of the highest Omega-3 foods are fish: herring, sardines, mackerel, salmon, and halibut.
“But wait!” I hear you cry. “I [don’t eat fish/can’t stand fish/can’t afford to eat fish five times a week]. What are my alternatives?”
Luckily, you can take fish-oil capsules, which are much more economical and convenient than starting a tab at your local fish market. You can also fill up on eggs, turkey, flax seeds, black raspberries, walnuts, canola, and lingonberries – all of which are chock-full of Omega-3s. Focusing on getting more of these essential nutrients in your body will pay huge dividends for your skin. Besides, have you ever had almond lingonberry muffins? Pure heaven.
You already know how important it is to brush your teeth every day (at least, I sincerely hope you already know this). But maybe you didn’t know that brushing is also a great way to keep your skin naturally healthy and vibrant.
Most of the time, skin breakouts are due to either your skin glands producing a little extra oil, some naturally-occurring bacteria getting a little out of control, or the accumulation of dead skin cells. Luckily, gentle brushing for just a few minutes a day can help counteract all of these problems.
Using a long-handled natural bristle brush (which you can find for around $10 online) or a natural loofah sponge, start at your feet using small circles. Work your way up your legs, across your chest, and over your arms, neck, and back. Be sure to avoid sensitive areas like your breasts and face, and don’t brush too hard – a little goes a long way.
This kind of gentle brushing can improve blood and lymph flow, remove dead skin cells, and help keep your skin looking youthful. And it doesn’t take a huge time commitment – you can probably cover your whole body in about two minutes. So consider adding a quick body-brushing regiment to your day, right after brushing your teeth. Just be sure to use two different brushes.
Next time: Learn how Omega-3s can save your skin!
When we were little, we were cranky when we were tired, or hungry. And extra cranky if we were tired AND hungry! As adults, we may be better at masking our crankiness, but it’s still there. But, until workplaces add adult naptime into their policies, most of us will have to regulate our mood with food.
- Eat every 4 to 5 hours to keep your blood sugar level, unless you have hypoglycemia. If you eat every 2 hours, you end up with too many calories from grazing all day.
- Limit foods that spike your blood sugar, like refined sugars, corn syrup, white flour, white rice & white pasta. In other words, walk past the snack machine and eat an apple! What you need to know is that the white stuff (white rice, bagels, many breakfast cereals, english muffins, etc) is that even though it doesn’t say it contains sugar, your body treats it just like sugar because it is metabolized very very quickly. Look for 100% whole grains, and if you see the words “enriched” or “bleached,” stay away! Better yet, eat whole foods. Fruit has sugar too, but in the form of complex carbs that metabolize slowly – you’ll feel satisfied longer and have an even flow of energy to burn.
- Exercise does more than improve your mood by increasing endorphins – it’s been shown put people in a positive healthy mindset. Most people will follow through with good food choices after having exercised.
- Combining high quality protein with a high quality carbohydrate will slow the absorption of the carb in your blood stream, keeping your blood sugar from spiking. Spiked blood sugar makes you hungrier, and causes energy-crash, but by eating carbs and protein (the best choice in your vending machine is the Snickers bar), you’ll maintain your energy and your sense of humor.
Best Choices for Feel-Good Food
- Omelet and fresh fruit – This has that protein and carb balance for even energy.
- Grilled chicken salad or salad with nuts – A power-packed lunch to keep you awake during afternoon meetings.
- Beans and lentils – these are high in protein and good carbs, with the added benefit of fiber which slows carb absorption and controls blood sugar.
- Non-fat Greek Yogurt – has twice the amount of protein as any other yogurt. Mix it with your favorite extracts – try cinnamon and honey, or fresh blueberries.
- Oranges – are rich in folic acid, and filled with fiber and pectin. These help lower homocysteine levels which support mood and brain health.
- Dark Chocolate or Cacao (70% or more) is sure to improve the mood of chocoholics!