Your skin is your largest organ and is intricately connected with the other systems in the body. This means that something that is good for your body is usually also good for your skin, such as getting enough sleep. Things that are bad for your body, such as chronic high stress levels, are also bad for your skin.
But even if you you’re making an effort to live a healthy life, you may be aggravating skin problems and triggering aging by eating certain foods. Some medical studies have shown that certain foods have an effect on our skin’s appearance. This is not to say that all skin problems are due to poor diet. But, if you’re looking to help your skin look its best, steer clear of the following foods that have been shown to cause or aggravate skin problems.
#1: Sugary foods
We’ve already covered the fact that sugar is one of the most damaging substances you can eat. We know that consuming too much sugar can contribute to health problems such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and digestive issues. But it turns out, sugar is also bad for your skin.
It’s your liver’s job to get rid of toxins from the foods we eat. It processes what we take in and gets rid of what it doesn’t need. Eating a candy bar means that the liver is overloaded with removing sugar and often can’t get rid of it all. As a result, it relies upon other organs, like the skin, to step in and help. The skin filters these toxins out, but as it does, it suffers inflammation, leading to acne, eczema, and/or rashes.
Sugar also disrupts the healthy bacteria balance in the gut. The gut and the skin are closely linked, so a bacterial imbalance in the digestive system can lead to a bacterial imbalance on the skin; namely, an overgrowth of bad bacteria like P. Acnes, which are a primary ingredient in an acne flare. This is why many experts believe that an unhealthy gut leads to acne.
Even if acne or rashes aren’t a problem for you, eating sugar could cause you to age faster. Studies have shown that sugar interferes with your body’s ability to produce collagen, a necessary ingredient for plump and youthful skin. Sugar can permanently damage collagen bonds, leading to more wrinkles, sagging, and sallow skin over time.
#2: Fried foods, most vegetable oils, and trans fats
Some fats are very good for your skin, such as omega-3s. Unfortunately, many of the fats in foods today are actually damaging your skin. The key is to know the difference.
Processed vegetable oils such as corn, canola, and soybean oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids. The average person’s diet consists of far too many omega-6s and not nearly enough omega-3s.
Omega-6 fats, while needed in small amounts, are unhealthy when we consume too much of them. The fats found in many processed vegetable oils are largely omega-6, and foods are typically fried in these kinds of oils. Omega-6 oils contribute to inflammation in the body. This can manifest as acne, eczema, and other inflammatory skin conditions.
To bring your omegas into balance, eat omega-3 rich foods every day. Avoid fast food and deep-fried foods. When you cook at home, use only oils that are rich in monounsaturated fats and low in omega-6, such as cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and cold pressed avocado, flaxseed, and coconut oil.
Many fast food and restaurant entrees also contain unhealthy trans fats that can damage your heart and are detrimental to your skin. Trans fats may lower skin’s defenses against sun damage. This leads to more dark spots, wrinkles, and overall skin aging. It may even lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. If you needed another reason to cut these unhealthy, unnatural fats out of your diet starting today, this is it. They offer absolutely no health benefits whatsoever.
When buying foods at the supermarket, read labels and avoid anything containing partially hydrogenated oils. These are often found in baked goods, packaged snacks, and coffee creamers.
#3: Lunch meat and processed meats
Cold cut meats, pepperoni, sausage, bacon, and hot dogs may be tasty, but they’re not doing your skin any favors. These foods are typically very high in sodium, which depletes your skin cells of their necessary water and hydration. These salty foods may also be high in substances known as iodides, which experts have known for years can contribute to acne.
But it gets worse. The World Health Organization has stated that processed meats actually cause cancer. Processed meats join the list of other inflammatory substances that have a damaging effect on your whole body. This includes pollution, smoking, ultraviolet light, and chemicals. Processed meats deplete your antioxidants, which are essential for skin health.
If you eat meat, go with organic, grass-fed beef or organic poultry. Also, focus on omega-3-rich fish such a salmon.
#4: Too much coffee
Coffee can be both good and bad for skin, depending on how you drink it and how much you consume.
On one hand, coffee is a good source of antioxidants that can be beneficial to overall health and your skin. But, consuming large amounts of it can contribute to stress levels, causing a hormonal imbalance and even anxiety or panic attacks. Stress can lead to more acne or other skin flares.
In addition, if you load up your coffee with sugar, you could be adding to inflammation that triggers skin problems and aging, as mentioned above.
If you can’t live without your morning cup of coffee, keep it to one or two cups and drink it black or add a teaspoon of coconut oil. Better yet, go for anti-inflammatory drinks such as matcha tea, which may actually help build collagen and fight off free radicals that damage the skin.
#5: Dairy products
Dairy products sold on shelves today are loaded with antibiotics and hormones that can disrupt your body’s balance in the gut and on the skin. In fact, there is a well-established link between dairy and acne. Dairy contains acne-triggering iodides and is high in sugar.
It also disrupts the gut health of many people who suffer from lactose intolerance. More than 65 percent of the entire human population has trouble digesting lactose. This puts stress on the gut and leads to the imbalances mentioned above.
Are you ready to have great-looking skin and feel your best? Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers can help with aesthetics, a customized diet, and an overall wellness plan that fits your life. Contact us today for your no cost consultation!
Karen Eisenbraun is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and writer with a background in digital marketing. She has written extensively on the topics of nutrition and holistic health for many leading websites.
Karen received her nutrition certification from the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2012. She follows a ketogenic diet and practices intermittent fasting. Karen advocates a whole foods approach to nutrition and believes in empowering yourself with information that allows you to make smarter decisions about your health.