Today we’re going to take a dive into one of the topics I’m asked about most often – what to eat/drink/do for gorgeous skin.
And the great news is that the very things that benefit your skin also benefit your health, and make it easier for you to reach, and stay at, your ideal weight.
Without further ado, they are…
1. Eat real food
Yes, this is basic, but let’s start right here… Eating real food means building your diet around items your great-grandmother would have recognised as food. The more you do this, and the fewer processed foods you eat, the more radiant your complexion will be.
2. Forget “5 a day” and aim for at least 10
For your best skin ever, enjoy an abundance of the ultimate skin superstars: vegetables and fruits. And yes, you read that right: I’m suggesting you include at least 10 servings a day.
Doing this will give you the glow for several reasons but I’m going to talk about just one today: many fruits and vegetables contain natural plant pigments that are known to make skin tone more beautiful.
In one study, subjects were shown a selection of photos of people with a tan, and people who’d developed a more subtle glow from eating foods rich in carotenoids, an antioxidant found in many colourful fruits and veggies. The shock result: they consistently rated the food-induced “carotenoid glow” as more attractive than a suntan!
Make most of your 10 a day vegetables, because many fruits are high in sugar and even natural sugar, in excess, is bad for your skin (more on that below).
Don’t think you could eat that much veg? Check out my article Seven Easy Ways to Eat More Veg.
3. Drink a daily glass of raw vegetable juice
This health habit makes skin more attractive because raw vegetable juice is packed with plant-based goodness (including those glow-imparting carotenoids). A regular juice habit will also make the amazing natural colour of your eyes shine out extra brightly. Whether you buy it at a juice bar or make your own, this is one health habit that’s well worth acquiring! Here’s my all-time favourite raw juice recipe.
4. Ditch dairy
If breakouts are the bane of your life, going dairy-free could be your quickest path to a clear complexion. Dairy products are loaded with hormones and these can upset your delicate hormonal balance, leading to oily skin and acne. Dairy also triggers insulin production, and insulin is highly inflammatory. Inflammation makes skin prone to both redness and breakouts. Raw nut and seed milks are a much better choice than dairy and they’re easy to make. Want to know how? Check out my quick guide.
5. Shun sugar
Like dairy products, refined sugar will spike your insulin and this sets in motion the same inflammatory, acne-producing hormonal cascade. But that’s not all. Did you know that a refined sugar habit will also accelerate the rate at which your skin ages? This is because it contributes to the formation of Advanced Glycation End products, aptly known as “AGEs”.
Glycation damages collagen and elastin, the very proteins which make young complexions so taut, plump and springy. It shows up on the skin’s surface as signs of ageing, including wrinkles and an overall loss of radiance. And in the body it causes silent damage to all of your internal organs – not pretty!
For the above reasons, it’s not good to eat too many high-sugar fruits. The best fruits for skin health (and overall health, since the two are basically one and the same) are lemons, limes, avocados and berries of all kinds.
6. Avoid white flour and all products made with it
If I included all the reasons white flour and other wheat products are bad for your health – including in ways that show up on your skin – this would be one loooong article. So I’m going to keep this short.
One reason to avoid white flour is that it’s another food that triggers both insulin spikes and glycation, with all the undesirable effects on your skin. Another: wheat is also a food associated with weight gain. My advice? Go bread-free and swap your whole wheat pasta for quinoa, millet, black rice and brown rice.
7. Exercise daily
When you exercise, oxygenated blood whooshes through your system, boosting delivery of nutrients and oxygen to cells while flushing away cellular wastes and toxins.
This oxygenated blood also plumps up your skin and boosts collagen production. Exercise also counteracts the effects of stress by promoting hormonal balance, and balanced hormones equal happy skin. But everything I just said about exercise? Stress does the opposite…
8. In with bliss, out with stress
Have you ever noticed the effect your emotions have on your skin, and wondered why? In simple terms, being happy and relaxed promotes a state of internal “flow” where everything happens just as it should, including nutrients and oxygen getting into all of your cells.
But when you’re stressed, cells throughout your body contract. Spend enough time in this state and it’s a recipe for a sluggish system where nutrients and oxygen can’t get into your cells and wastes can’t get out. The solution? Make both sleep and relaxation time non-negotiable in your daily schedule.
9. Cleanse your colon
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the skin and the colon are intimately linked, and enlightened Western holistic practitioners have long known this to be true. What does this mean to you? It means you need to get out the gunk, gorgeous. An hour on the colonic hydrotherapist’s table may not sound like your “cup of tea” but what if I were to tell you that it won’t only do a lot more for your health than a facial; you’ll also leave looking as if you’ve had one…
10. Get fresh air every day
For your most radiant complexion, spend time outdoors each day, ideally in nature. Outside air is cleaner and a better source of oxygen than inside. And if your skin doesn’t receive enough oxygen, it will appear dull and aged, and be extra vulnerable to attack by free radicals.
So make time every day to relax out of doors in the most pristine environment you can access. And if you’re doing 7 (exercise) and 11 (deep breathing), the results you experience will increase tenfold if you can do them outside in fresh, clean, oxygen-rich air.
11. Develop a daily deep breathing practice
So essential are oxygen and good circulation for skin that I had to include one other action that will support these. Here’s my go-to deep breathing exercise:
1. Stand, lie or sit in a comfortable position then…
2. Breathe in for a count of 4;
3. Hold your breath for a count of 16 (allowing oxygenated blood to flood your system);
4. Breathe out slowly, taking 8 counts to push out every last bit of air in your lungs (it will take carbon dioxide and cellular wastes with it);
5. Hold your breath for a count of 4, then repeat.
You may find this challenging the first few times you try, but persevere and it will quickly increase the elasticity of your lungs, making it a breeze.
Perform this breath 30 times a day (outside in nature whenever possible) and it will not only beautify your skin, but also recalibrate your nervous system.
Clear, radiant, younger-looking skin is created by healthy, nourished, oxygenated cells, and this requires not only a clean diet and lifestyle but also a body-mind system in a state of easy “flow”.
Bad skin is the outer reflection of a system that is in a state of stress and sluggishness, with cells undernourished and overloaded with toxicity.
Following these 11 tips will get you back in that beautiful state of flow…and that’s why they give you the glow!
Want my personal help in implementing these tips, and others, for bringing out your most radiant complexion ever?