Are you plagued by pimples? If you’ve tried every cream and face wash in the pharmacy with no luck, maybe it’s time to change your diet, instead. Dr. Amy Wechsler, who is board certified in both dermatology and psychiatry, shared her diet plan for those who want clear skin- and fast! The following is an example of what a plate should look like for beautiful skin:
First, Pile on the Veggies and Fruits
Grab enough to fill fully half your plate, not a measly corner or two. Fruits and veggies are brimming with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which are other protective plant substances known to help humans. Eating lots of fruits and veggies helps replenish our natural anti-oxidant stores, protecting against sun-exposed skin against wrinkling and even skin cancer. The abundant vitamin C in these foods may be particularly beneficial; it is involved in the production of collagen, and the skin of women whose diets are rich in C is the least likely to have signs of aging.
Some studies are now showing that vitamin C may also give your metabolism a boost, increasing your fat-burning capacity by 30 percent. Researchers have demonstrated that vitamin C can reduce age-related weight gain, and that too little vitamin C in the blood correlates with increased body fat and wider waistlines.
Second, Garnish Your Fruits and Vegetables with Nuts, Seeds or some Olive-Oil-Based Dressing
Nuts and seeds are full of vitamin E, another off-the-charts antioxidant that, like C is abundant in skin. Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants, but its real skin benefit appears to be its good fats (the monounsaturated kind). These healthy fats seem to help cells resist photoaging, which surfaces as wrinkling. Other foods that may help protect sun-exposed skin from wrinkles include vegetables and legumes—beans, lentils and chickpeas.
Third, Fill a Quarter of Your Plate with Lean Protein
What you want: Healthy fats and certain skin-essential minerals and vitamins.
What you don’t want: Aging fats, meaning the saturated fats found in steak and other red meats, as well as in fat-oozing creamy cheeses and other full-fat dairy foods. They don’t do any part of your body good. So, when you think skin and protein, think fish, white meat poultry, tofu and legumes.
- Seek wild salmon or mackerel for their health omega-3 fatty acids. Also choose tuna and salmon, as well as shellfish (lobster, clams and crabs) for their selenium, which partners with vitamin E to keep your birthday suit smooth and unwrinkled.
- Eat dark leafy greens like spinach and orange ones like carrots; they’re a quick way to get your daily vitamin A, which helps revitalize skin’s surface by increasing cell turnover.
- And don’t forget beans, chickpeas, lentils, and other protein-filled legumes. Along with poultry and some fortified cereals, they supply skin with zinc, which is essential for the antioxidant activity and cell division. Shortfalls of zinc are linked to eczema and slow wound healing.
Fourth, Fill That Last Quarter of Your Plate With Whole Grains
Say goodbye to refined carbs and white bread. Stick to whole grains like whole-wheat pasta and couscous, brown rice, barley, oatmeal and bulgur. These and less familiar but equally delicious whole grains, such as quinoa and amaranth, are filled with skin-helping, stress-hampering ingredients.
Unlike highly processed simple carbs (white rice, white pasta, white-flour anything), which trigger sharp, unhealthy blood-sugar spikes that can add to physical stress, complex whole-grain carbs are full of fiber. That means they are absorbed slowly, which keeps blood sugar steady, so that your energy is less likely to slump.
For more health tips like these, check out Dr. Wechsler's book, The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin and a Whole New You.