Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Eat (and Drink) Your Way to Better Skin

We already know that too much sun is bad for our skin. But what you may not be aware of is just how quickly you can improve the look and feel of your skin by getting the right nutrients. “Your refrigerator can be the fountain of youth when it comes to your skin,” says Sunny Lavalle, a registered dietician who has been working with clients in Miami for more than 12 years. “Besides not smoking and using sun protection, your diet is the next best thing you can do to keep your skin healthy and looking good.”

What to Eat for Better Skin: Eating a variety of foods from the major food groups is the key to promoting healthy skin -- and to keeping your diet interesting so you'll be able to keep it up, says Lavalle. She suggests: High-quality carbs: Stick to whole grains, oats, barley, wheat and bran. Stay away from white bread and pasta, which are overly processed and have lost essential nutrients.

Protein: Eating protein helps maintain collagen and elastin -- without these, the skin can become dull and age prematurely. On average, men should consume about 90 grams of protein daily, from sources like lean cuts of meat, poultry, egg whites and fish, especially wild salmon and mackerel.

Good fats: According to Lavalle, omega-3 essential fatty acids help repair your skin and keep it supple. You can find them in fish like mackerel and salmon, as well as in flaxseeds and walnuts.

 Fruits and vegetables: You’ve heard it before, but Lavalle wants you to hear it again: Eat the rainbow. Eat as many colorful fruits and vegetables as you can, include their skins too (after you wash them well), where a lot of the good stuff is stored. Orange fruits and veggies should be on top of your list as far as your skin is concerned: They contain beta carotene which works with vitamins C and E to increase the production of collagen.

What to Drink for Better Skin: Water and teas: Avoid sodas and other highly caffeinated beverages, says Lavalle. Be sure to drink plenty of water, herbal teas and green tea, which is loaded with antioxidants.

Sunny's skin-boosting smoothie: Here's an easy way to get all your fruits and veggies in: Chop and toss two tangerines, half a mango and half a cup of frozen strawberries into the blender. Add half a cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, two tablespoons wheat germ, two tablespoons ground flaxseed and one tablespoon lemon juice. Blend until smooth and enjoy. "This flavorful skin-boosting smoothie is very high in beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and omega-3 fatty acids," says Lavalle, who developed the recipe for her busy clients. She recommends you drink it once a day for optimal results.

Bonus: Eat Better, Get Healthier Hair: Turns out, what’s good for your skin also helps promote healthy hair and beard. So if you happen to be follicly challenged, the right diet may be that magic bullet you’ve been looking for.

(c) Tim Jarvis is a freelance health, technology and entertainment writer who contributes to O, The Oprah Magazine and the men’s grooming and lifestyle site. He is working on a book about the mysteries of quantum mechanics. 

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