In the Mouth and Out Through the Skin

Guest blogger Alexa Lampasona, from the blog Active Tasty Life, (, @ActiveTastyLife) gives us an inside look into what she learned at last week’s ACSM fitness conference. In her first post, she filled us in on barefoot cardio, and today, she walks us through eating foods for healthy, beautiful skin.

“Eat foods that are eye thrilling and gut filling,” Dr. Leslie Bonci (MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN) addressed us at the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Health and Fitness Summit. Colorful foods not only look appealing on your plate, but they can make your skin look appealing too.

Taste the rainbow does not mean eating Skittles. The big stressor to our skin: sugars. According to Bonci, they can increase inflammation and contribute to collagen breakdown, which causes cell membranes to lose their elasticity.ACSM

“Simply by increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables by one serving per day can change your skin color over the course of six weeks,” Bonci said.

At first, you may notice skin redness, but that could mean the polyphenols (a type of antioxidant that reduces stress) are positively affecting artery elasticity and skin health. Eventually, you’ll notice an overall improvement in skin tone.

Your skin is 30 percent of your body, so seek out these dietary components that will bring the best benefits both inside and out.

These nutrients are essential to stress reduction. They protect cells from damage and disintegration. This time of year, fresh berries, green beans or artichokes are perfect picks.

As the sun shines brighter, free radicals pose a threat to our skin. However, carotenoids concentrate themselves in our skin and can increase the minimum level of UV exposure, meaning they add extra protection beyond sunscreen. Think red, orange and yellow foods for the highest concentration like sweet potatoes, carrots and red peppers.

No diet excludes water. Studies have shown that women need between 70 and 90 ounces of fluid daily. Try to avoid sugary beverages and minimize alcohol intake, although a little wine never hurt anyone. Looking for some flavor? Try green tea, which has been known to reduce damage from UV light.

We shy away from this buzzword, but healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, are beneficial. They keep skin cells strong and elastic and keep out harmful substances by holding water in cells. Avocados and salmon fit both warm weather cravings and essential fat intake.

This isn’t just an element on the periodic table. It’s also in your food, and it combats oxidative damage to skin cells. Find this nutrient in sesame seeds, fresh seafood and whole grains such as brown rice.

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