The skin you’re in

The skin you're in By: Cara Rosenbloom, R.D.

Your skin is an essential part of your immune system, and its optimal functioning depends on what you eat.[1] Much like our heart and brain, the skin is also an organ that we need to take care of with diet and exercise. And, the same diet that’s important for brain health and heart disease prevention is also recommended for healthy skin. Your diet should include:

  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes, nuts and seeds
  • Fish and lean protein
  • Water instead of sugary beverages

The ideal diet is also low in processed food, sugar, refined flour, excess sodium and trans fat. Skin conditions researchers continue to examine the link between diet and skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and rosacea. While there is little scientific evidence to directly link diet with these conditions, many people report that changing their diet or eliminating certain foods has a positive effect on controlling symptoms and flare-ups. Of course, the foods that cause symptoms vary from person to person. The leading foods and beverages that are often eliminated to help relieve flare-ups include:

  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Coffee and caffeinated foods
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes

If you have a skin condition, work with a registered dietitian to keep a journal of dietary and environmental factors that are associated with flare-ups. A dietitian can help you plan an elimination diet to remove potential trigger foods and track your progress, so you can learn if certain foods are associated with your particular case.
[1] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/73/5/853.full

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