We are often asked how we maintain our glow on. Apart from our healthy dose of chocolate and wine, it’s very important for you to know that beauty can be amplified by taking care of yourself from the inside out. What your body is experiencing internally is often mimicked externally.
Below are some useful tips for a healthy glow, starting with what you are eating and how your body is processing it from the inside. Don’t forget to check out our DIY Beauty in the Kitchen for some great DIY masks that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and you can cook up at home.
On the inside
Inflammation: is your body’s way of responding to something that isn’t quite right. It can be very beneficial, as the inflammatory response is vital to the immune system, and needed in order to heal. But sometimes, for some people, too much inflammation in the body (known as chronic inflammation) can create the organs to run a little haywire. Too much inflammation in the gut = bowel diseases and disorders; too much inflammation in the joints = arthritis; and the same thing goes for the skin: too much chronic and systemic inflammation will often times begin to be expressed externally with acne, rashes, eczema, dermatitis etc.
As Nutritionists we often see chronic inflammation closely associated with certain types of food that the body perceives as being foreign. This usually manifests as an allergy or intolerance to a specific protein within that food. This allergy response can be symptomatic immediately (anaphylaxis) or it can be very mild and take its time to manifest. For example, some symptoms of systemic and chronic inflammation include:
- Constipation/ diarrhea
- Allergies/ asthma
- Skin issues
Knowing what specific foods your body is reacting to can be very beneficial, but finding this out can also be a grueling task. It involves lots of testing and an anti-inflammatory diet, which is a diet that is very hard to maintain. It will be beneficial and therapeutic if you take it on, but for those who cannot commit there are some other ways to help clear the skin without weeks of eating chicken and steamed veggies.
There are two specific foods that are the biggest culprits in messing with your skin: dairy and sugar. Major inflammation comes from constantly consuming the two, and if you are constantly experiencing any of the above symptoms; our guess is you are most likely eating too much dairy and/or too much sugar.
Hello Sugar! It’s a well known fact that North America’s addiction to sugar has led to an obesity epidemic and poor eating habits that can be rooted from the earlier years of life. The fact that refined and processed sugar is bad for your waistline is not hidden anymore, but how does sugar affect the skin?
That is something that the general population has not been told about. High sugar foods that are consumed cause insulin levels to spike. Chronically high insulin levels are a contributor to inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation can produce certain enzymes that break down collagen and elastin (which make up healthy skin), and this in turn can result in aged and weathered skin.
Another thing that sugar does within in the body is it feeds candida (yeast) and bad bacteria (that live on our skin and in our gut). Excess sugar consumption coupled with the lack of good gut bacteria allows the bad guys to proliferate and take over. This can contribute to acne, a build up of toxins, fatigue, intestinal issues etc., and overall contributing to more inflammation.
These are just a few small ways that excess sugar messes with our body and our skin and gives you a glimpse of why we need to cut back on our sugar consumption (we are referring to refined and processed sugar, and not the one coming from fresh fruits and veggies).
Dairy. The overconsumption of dairy can cause inflammation; yes, okay we understand that, but what else about it makes it so bad for our skin?
Well, let’s first look at what dairy is: milk from a pregnant animal that is not human, most likely cow’s milk. Since this animal is pregnant, dairy tends to be loaded with naturally occurring hormones. Cow’s milk is meant for calves and not humans (by nature) and the naturally occurring hormones combined with our hormones can cause a whole host of problems – one being skin issues. So now we have inflammation, hormones and guess what else dairy has a large amount of: Sugar! Milk sugar (lactose), along with most other sugars, can cause blood sugar to spike which raises insulin and cortisol, bringing us back to making our hormones run amok. On top of that, many of us are lactose intolerant which means that we are unable to properly digest lactose which causes gas and bloating, and that messes up with our gut health.
Don’t get us wrong we still love our wine and cheese, but we like variety in our diet…so we explore and try out some delicious vegan options too!
Given that we have a few foods we need to cut back on, we are here to tell you that when you increase the following foods in your diet you are adding foods that can help reduce inflammation, increase collagen and elastin, increase fatty acids (that help keep skin looking great) and make you feel better from the inside out.
Here are our favourites:
- # 1 is water!
- Sweet potato
- Probiotic foods (Miso, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Kefir, Tempeh)
- Omega 3 foods (Fish, Chia, Flax)
- Nuts and seeds
- Dark leafy greens (Spinach, Chard, Kale, Arugula)
- Green tea
Don’t forget to check out our DIY Beauty in the Kitchen for some great DIY masks that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and you can cook up at home.