Suzanne Hollander, MS, RD

As a dietitian, home cook, and enthusiast of all-things-delicious, I'm often asked, "so what do YOU eat?" Here's a blog to answer that very question! My hope is that you'll find (even just a little) inspiration from some of my favorite recipes, restaurants, party-ideas and food musings for your own happy, healthy, food-loving lifestyle.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What To Eat for Better Skin

Want glowing skin all year-round? Whether you're trying to reduce acne, prevent wrinkles, or improve the health of your skin, nutrition plays a major role. Healthy skin cells not only help us look our best, but they are involved in important functions, including: hair & nail growth, immune and nerve function, energy storage, and body temperature regulation. Optimize this complex body system with liberal SPF application and a healthy diet. Here are a few skin-focused nutrition tips:

  • Choose complex carbohydrates. Research shows that eating a diet with a high glycemic index contributes to acne. Foods with a high glycemic index are those that increase blood sugar rapidly, causing your body to produce more insulin. This insulin response leads to hormone-, sebum- (skin's natural oil), and cell-production that cause acne. For carbohydrates, choose whole grains, yams with skin, beans, peas, lentils and, as always, fruits and vegetables. Limit refined flour and sugar. 
  • Limit dairy. Though the research is not conclusive, there may be a correlation between milk intake and acne. If acne is a concern, consider non-dairy milk alternatives like almond or soy milk.
  • Consume healthy fats. Our skin has a lipid barrier which is maintained by essential fatty acids in our diet. Keeping this barrier strong creates a natural moisturizing effect by slowing water loss. Focus on omega-3s from fish, flax, and walnuts, and omega-6s from plant oils, nuts, and avocados. 
  • Get your antioxidants! Protect skin from photoaging and our environment's other harmful free-radicals an antioxidant-rich diet. Green tea and red ginseng have both been linked to improved skin elasticity (fewer wrinkles!). Other antioxidant-rich foods include dark chocolate (just a small portion will do the trick!) and fruits & vegetables.