Nutrition, Skin Care

Myths about food and your skin: True or False?

Do certain foods benefit or harm your skin? Due to an increasing amount of scientific studies linking what you eat to the health of your skin there is an abundance of information about what or what not to eat. Many articles have been written touting certain foods and condemning others for contributing to your complexion. Surprisingly, skin care experts seem to agree across the board.

Myth #1: Chocolate causes breakouts

Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that can provide luminosity to your skin. Cocoa is also shown to have hydrating properties. For maximum benefit eat chocolate with at least 70% cacao. Steer clear of milk chocolate as it is loaded with sugar and can cause breakouts. Limit consumption to one to two bites.

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Myth #2: Oils and fatty foods cause ruddy, blotchy skin

It is true that too much fat is not good for your body or your skin but it’s the type of fat that counts. Nuts, avocados and olive oil are full of skin benefiting oils and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. The Mediterranean diet is known for being chock full of these beneficial oils and has become increasingly popular. Saturated fats, however, have been known to make skin angry. Surprisingly, fats pose less of a problem for skin than sugars and processed foods, particularly carbohydrates.

Myth #3: Caffeine causes breakouts

Experts vary on whether caffeine causes breakouts. There is inconclusive evidence but it can affect hormones and the digestive system, and ultimately your skin. Caffeine also has its benefits. Beverages with caffeine such as coffee, black and green tea, boast antioxidants that help protect the skin from damage, particularly the sun. Drink it in moderation and make sure to drink plenty of water to counteract the dehydrating effects of caffeine.

Myth #4: Natural sweeteners are better than refined sugar

Artificial sweeteners give the illusion of healthy as they have fewer calories and make it possible for dieters to satisfy their sweet tooth. In reality, sugar is sugar and artificial sweeteners can inflame the skin. The sweetener may not spike blood sugar as much, but it is still high on the glycemic index and can trigger skin damaging effects. Try to keep sugar, artificial or refined, to a minimum and stick to natural sweeteners such as honey or agave. They tend to be sweeter than sugar so you will use less to satisfy your craving.

One extremely important “do” that benefits not only your skin but all around health is drinking enough water. The eight glasses a day model is slightly outdated but still widely used as it is easy to remember. To calculate how much water you need daily take your body weight and divide it in half. That gives you the minimum number of ounces you should drink per day.

The takeaway is everything in moderation is best. Foods that in the past have been given a bad name actually benefit your skin when done in moderation. Some foods may irritate your skin more than others. If you are unsure about how foods are affecting your skin, I suggest keeping a journal for a few weeks of what you ate and how your body and skin react. By doing this you can identify problem foods and steer clear.

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