Who doesn’t remember that timeless adage from childhood?: “you are what you eat.” All those times your parents or an elder uttered the words, “make sure you eat all of your vegetables.” Although it more than likely made you cringe back then, most come to the realization that we ought to do it as grown folk, our of fear that our skin, hair, nails and overall bodily system will bear that cost of not doing it. The truth is that it’s never too late to make a dietary change, especially if it aids the various facets of your overall health. Perhaps one of the key aspects on which we should be focused is the health of our skin, as it covers our entire body, is our body’s protective shield and cannot be hidden [even though we sometimes wish it could].
Most of us have had to deal with minor skin issues (i.e. blackheads, whiteheads, pimples) at one point or another in our lives – I’ve come to discover the world of a difference changes to one’s diet can make to the skin. Add to that the common misconception which suggests that adults need not worry about acne – well, if that isn’t a load of bologna then I don’t know what is. The close association between adolescence and acne is in large part due to the increase in testosterone during adolescence, which often coincides with the onset of puberty, it nonetheless occurs in adults – the varying reasons being due to an interplay of genetics, hormonal imbalance, bacteria and of course, diet.
For instance, let’s take an adult person whose diet primarily consists of refined sugars such as pastries, candies, soda, and the like – that person is indulging in foods which spike their blood sugar levels – in turn causing their body to produce more insulin and subsequently, androgens (male hormones). As a result of the increase of the male hormones, causes the body’s sebaceous glands to be overworked, ultimately leading to the blockage of pores, and/ or inflamed skin.
Among the leading causes of acne is a deficiency in Vitamin A, for it supports the development of the epithelial tissues in the mucus membranes, which assist cells to retain moisture.
Provided below is a list of foods that contain a substantial amount of Retinol:
● Sweet Potatoes
● Collard Greens
● Butternut Squash
Of course the intake of Vitamin A is not the only prerequisite for radiant skin; it undoubtedly goes a long way. However, a diet that is loaded with Vitamin E also adds a beneficial element to the formation of supple and glowing skin. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and also protective in nature and thus, supports the skin in preventing UV damage, as well as plays a role in stopping the production of skin damaging free-radicals. Among the top food carriers of Vitamin E are:
● Bell Peppers
● Swiss Chard
● Sunflower Seeds
● Mustard Seeds
● Green Olives
It really only takes some good ol’ discipline to attain healthy-looking skin and let me tell you – as much as we may love delectable desserts – programming our brains into believing the killjoy aphorism, “everything in moderation,” as much as it may rain on your parade in that moment of temptation [to indulge in sinful foods], neglecting them surely goes a long way.
After a complete overhaul to one’s diet regimen, the body learns to crave healthier alternatives. Eventually attending those birthday parties, baby showers and office parties will become easier because your taste buds and intestinal lining will have grown accustomed to the intake of less sugar. Lastly, if you find it difficult to consume fruits and vegetables the old-fashioned way, juicing and/or smoothie-making has become the trend du jour, so trying that equally beneficial alternative is worth a shot. Happy healthy eating!
About Editor Nikki Coco
Nikki is a Toronto-based educator and writer, whose musings cover a wide range of topics including but, not limited to: politics, love, education and cultural criticism. You can follow Nikki @artculturemusiclove.