Great genes are one way of achieving flawless skin, but a good diet is crucial to sustain or improve its quality. We’ve often heard how a poor diet can take its toll on our health. Likewise, what you eat also affects your skin. If you’ve been plagued by poor skin lately, look at what’s on your plate before rushing out to consult with your dermatologist. In the words of Robert Urich ”a healthy outside starts from the inside.”

A healthy and balanced diet is the cornerstone to achieving a healthier, more radiant complexion. However, before you can make changes to your diet, you need to know how food and skin relate.

Here are the 10 ways in which your diet can affect your skin:

Carbs

Carbohydrate-rich diets such as bread and pasta and sugar-rich foods and beverages may be what’s responsible for your acne breakouts. These foods tend to unleash hormones that boost oil production in your skin by increasing your blood sugar levels.

The oil clogs your skin’s pores, making skin cells shed faster. If you want to eliminate acne from your skin, consider reducing if not eliminating your Carb and Sugar Intake. Replacing it with proteins, vegetables, and whole-grain foods will work wonders on your skin while helping keep your blood-sugar levels low.

Easy On Salt

If you’re only touching 30 and have puffy eyes with dark circles, look to salt as the main culprit. Sodium, which most table salts contain, tends to cause puffiness by swelling up your tissues. This makes your face seem bloated and tired.

That being said, salt isn’t something you can completely avoid. It forms the foundation for the flavor of almost all dishes. However, you can still reduce your sodium intake with just a few precautionary measures.

Firstly, try to avoid iodized salts. They are fodder for acne. Consume foods that are rich in potassium instead, such as spinach, or sweet tomatoes. Another measure you can take to minimize the amount of sodium that finds its way into your body is to properly rinse all canned vegetables, meat, and beans before consuming them.

More Water Please

A body needs enough water daily, whether you’re on a diet or not. Without ample hydration, the nutrients from your diet cannot reach your skin cells. So, how much water should you be drinking every day?

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says the adequate intake level in male adults should be about 15.5 cups (3.7 L) a day and 11.5 cups (2.7 L) a day for women. A great way to make this a habit would be to keep a bottle close to you throughout the day.

Limit Alcohol

In moderation, your body and skin tolerate alcohol pretty well and it might even be good for your health. But when you consume it regularly, your complexion pays the price. You might have noticed how thirsty you get after you’ve had a few drinks.

This is because alcohol causes dehydration which in turn leads to dull, wrinkled, and dehydrated skin. It also lowers Vitamin A levels that are necessary to facilitate the renewal of skin cells.

You don’t have to give up on it altogether, but to keep your skin looking its best, keep your alcohol intake to one drink for women and two for men

Less Coffee

If you don’t already know this, you’ve probably never considered switching to decaf either. But more than 2-3 cups of caffeinated beverages a day will increase your body’s cortisol levels. High levels of Cortisol, also referred to as the ‘stress hormone’ can accelerate the aging process.

While coffee does boost your energy levels, too much of it can dehydrate and dull your skin. This makes your skin thinner, resulting in wrinkles and fine lines. If you find it difficult to go without your daily fix of caffeine try reducing their intake. Gradually replace your caffeinated beverages with non-caffeinated versions, just enough to keep your body’s cortisol levels in check.

More (Good) Fats

Cutting back on fats is a major factor in how your body will turn out when you’re on a diet. But keep in mind that certain fats are actually good for you and should remain a part of your diet.

For instance, your body cannot produce its own omega-3 fatty acids which your skin needs to maintain hydration. You’ll get it from foods such as walnuts, soybeans, and salmon. These fats will help keep wrinkles, inflammations, and dry skin at bay.

Dairy Intake

Dairy foods form an important staple on almost everyone’s plate in one form or the other. You can’t have a life without cheese, milk, and curd which makes it unfortunate that they’re responsible for numerous skin concerns.

The proteins present in milk and other dairy products release a hormone very similar to insulin when digested. This hormone is responsible for triggering breakouts leading to acne, blackheads, and other skin abnormalities. Like everything else on this list, your dairy intake also needs to be carefully monitored.

Excess Sugar

Sugar is notorious for the number of health conditions it’s been responsible for and your skin isn’t exempt from the damage either.

Studies have demonstrated that high sugar levels in your diet can cause premature aging. Consuming sugary foods in excess can damage collagen and elastin, which are the tissues that connect your skin and keep it firm.

Eat The Rainbow

It is said that you should fill your plate with the colors of the rainbow. Go for all the colorful fruits and vegetables available in your local market. Fruits and veggies in orange and red get their color from a compound known as carotenoids some of which get converted to Vitamin A during digestion. Vitamin A is responsible for keeping your dermis and epidermis (the top two layers of your skin) in good shape.

Fruits and vegetables are also rich in Vitamin C which is an excellent antioxidant. It is rightly considered the skin warrior, fighting off free radicals that damage skin and cause aging. Vitamin C is also needed to produce the collagen that supports the skin tissue.

Protein Rich foods

The collagen and elastin in your skin determine its texture and elasticity. Your body uses the proteins from your diet to produce them. Without proteins, your skin tends to loosen and can develop wrinkles prematurely.

Make sure to incorporate a protein-rich diet. The fatty fish Salmon contains a healthy proportion of proteins and essential fatty acids that are vital for the skin. If you’re a vegetarian/ vegan the best sources of proteins would be pulses, lentils, green peas, and beans.

The pointers given above are easy to understand and if practiced consistently will lead you to clearer and healthier skin. At the end of the day, no matter how many beauty products you use, you are what you eat and so is your skin. No beauty cream will make your skin beautiful if you don’t start eating healthy.