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The Best Diet for Your Skin

Young woman eating salad in the kitchen

Ah, the buffet table. The never-ending choice of culinary options, healthy and unhealthy.  What do you pick? Is it the item you like best, the one that is best for you, or a combination of both? Why don’t you ask your skin? The skin is the largest organ of the body, and the outer fingerprint of inner health. That means that when it comes to food choices, your skin should have a lot of input. What would your skin pick from the buffet table? While you can’t directly ask it, luckily researchers have done a lot of the work in  taking the guesswork out of it for you. Here is a sample of what they have to say.

Olive Oil

You may have heard of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and its superfood status. That comes in part from its reputation as an anti-ager for the skin. According to a 2012 study in PLOS One, women who consumed more than 2 teaspoons of olive oil per day showed 31% fewer signs of aging that those who ate less than one teaspoon. The fat in olive oil is 75% mono saturated fatty acids, which have been shown to decrease skin aging, and the antioxidant polyphenols in the oil help to fight free radicals which can contribute to the aging process.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are another great addition to your Skin Menu. A 2008 UK study showed that people who consumed 5 tablespoons of tomato paste and a tablespoon of olive oil daily, for a period of 12 weeks, showed a 33% greater increase in sun protection than those who ate only olive oil. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has been associated with increasing the skin’s natural SPF. Note: Cooking tomatoes raises lycopene levels.

Chocolate

Chocolate, good for your skin? Apparently, aside from the sugar level, chocolate is a definite skin friendly ingredient. The flavanols in chocolate contain antioxidant properties to improve circulation and keep skin hydrated. In fact, women who consumed a flavanol-enriched cocoa powdered drink for a 12-week period reported less skin dryness and roughness compared to those who did not drink the cocoa. While the test group consumed the equivalent of 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate, Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, suggests keeping chocolate consumption down to a one ounce portion to reap the benefits without the calories.

Oatmeal

If your idea of a typical breakfast is a bagel and jelly, you may want to rethink your choice. Apparently the bagel and jelly combo is a double threat to the skin, offering refined carbs which stimulate insulin and androgens in the body. Drayer says,”Elevated androgens cause sebaceous glands in the skin to secrete more oil that gets trapped inside pores, causing pimples.” Apparently, this is not the case with oatmeal, although experts advise swapping out the brown sugar for natural fruit.

Sardines

Big things come in little packages. One serving of sardines contains 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, putting it at the top of the list of good fat sources. Like other fatty fish, sardines are rich in an anti inflammatory omega-3, called DHA. Dr. Jessica Wu, MD, says, “inflammation is now known as the root cause of acne.” Eat sardines for clear skin.

What’s your skin menu like? Let us know what the best diet is for your face. We want to know!

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Healthy Eating for Your Skin This Fourth of July

Young couple making a healthy meal in the kitchen

It’s Independence Day and you’ve got a barbecue to go to. You’re supposed to be deciding what to wear, but instead you’re deciding on how you can politely decline all that greasy food. The Fourth of July can be a great time for hanging out and having fun, but you need to make sure you keep the health of your skin in mind while you’re chowing down. Here are some ways to do just that.

What Not To Eat

It seems that making the right choices may be just as important as avoiding the wrong ones. Here are some foods you may want to steer clear of this Fourth.

Chips

You’ll probably want to steer clear of the chips table this time around. Chips are full of refined carbs that trigger collagen damage and oxidative stress. On top of that, a 2014 study in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found refined carbs to be the leading cause of adult acne.

Juice and Soda

These beverages are sugar waiting to be consumed, but it’s actually the lack of fiber that makes them really bad for your skin. Fiber is crucial for preventing the blood sugar highs and lows that can cause premature aging.

What To Eat

Take heart, a lot of traditional barbecue fair is really good for your skin.

Bell Peppers

If you’re making shish kebabs, there’s a good chance you’ll have access to some bell peppers. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate yellow and green veggies had fewer wrinkles than those who did not.

Grass Fed Beef

If the beef they’re grilling up at your barbecue is grass fed, you’re in luck. Grass fed beef has a higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, which is great for reducing inflammation, and also has 30 grams of protein per serving. Skin expert Jessica Wu, MD, says, “Protein is the building block of collagen and elastin tissue which keeps skin taut and less wrinkled.” However, she recommends lean cuts like flank steak and sirloin tip.

Tomatoes

Another great shish kebab addition, tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene ( higher in cooked tomatoes, lucky you) which improves the natural SPF of akin. Studies show that participants who consumed 5 tablespoons of tomato paste with a tablespoon of olive oil daily had more sunburn protection than the group the just ate the olive oil.

Soy

If there’s a soy burger at the party, be sure to grab one. A study of middle-aged women in Japan showed that those who ate 40 mg of aglycone (an isoflaven in soy) had fewer wrinkles and stronger skin elasticity than those who took a placebo. By the way, isoflavens prevent collagen breakdown. You’ll find about 40 mg of isoflavens in an ounce of roasted soybeans, 3 ounces of tempeh, or 6 ounces of tofu, so load up your plate.

Olive Oil

If it’s olive oil on the grill, your skin can rejoice. A study in PLOS ONE found that people who consumed a higher level of olive oil showed 31% fewer signs of aging than than those with a lower consumption. That’s because about 75% of the fat in olive oil is in youth-boosting monosaturated fatty acids and the antioxidants in olive oil can protect skin from free radical damage.

Got it? Sounds totally doable, no? Let us know how your Fourth of July went down, and how your skin survived it.

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Winter Foods That Help Your Skin

Halved and whole avocados on table

It seems apparent that whoever determined the traditional holiday menu was not too concerned with skin care. High salt and sugar content are no strangers to the winter table and no friends to your skin.  However, there is still plenty more winter to go, and plenty of winter foods to keep your skin glowing.

Olive Oil

How else do you think the Italian women combat the fierce winds from the Mediterranean? Olive oil is great for your skin all year long, and is essential when winter dryness sets in.  With loads of vitamin A and E in addition to natural fatty acids, olive oil is a key ingredient for skin hydration. For authentic Italian skincare, look for products that contain olive oil, or use extra virgin olive oil in foods and dressings.

Grapefruit

Citrus is great for everything in the cold weather, your skin included.  The Vitamin C in grapefruit protects skin from radical damage, while the lycopene keeps skin smooth. Grapefruit is also high in potassium to help prevent age spots and wrinkles caused by UV rays and amino acids, which will keep skin smooth and soft. Eat the wonder fruit for breakfast, or in fruit salad, or drink its juice on a regular basis.

Avocado

Avocado has vitamins A, C, and E as well as mono- saturated fats to help skin maintain moisture.  It also contains magnesium, potassium, and folic acid, which all contribute to the general health of your skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. And besides, what doesn’t taste better with avocado?

Carrots

Carrots are a great source of antioxidants like Vitamin A which keep skin vibrant, prevent pigmentation, and keep the skin tone even.  They also contain carotenoids, like lycopene and beta-carotene, which protect against UV rays, and potassium, which helps skin lock in moisture. Carrot juice can be great on its own or blended into a veggie smoothie, while raw carrots can add some crunch to almost any salad.

Broccoli

Although broccoli has seemed to have take a backseat to its more glamorous cruciferous cousins, its effects on the skin should not be underestimated. Packed with vitamins A and C, and natural estrogens, the vegetable stimulates collagen, strengthens the skin cell membrane and prevents UV damage. Broccoli also contains B vitamins to eliminate dry, flaky patches commonly associated with winter skin. Try it roasted or steamed for optimal nutritional benefits.

Almonds

A handful of almonds are a great energy boost that can do wonders for the skin.  The vitamin E in the nuts will protect skin from the sun and may also contain anti-aging properties to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Let us know what you’re eating to keep your skin beautiful this winter!  We love to hear from you!

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Reduced Sugar Intake and Skin Health

Young woman eating cotton candy outdoors

A lot of us expect to suffer from acne during adolescence. But often times, breakouts reappear as we get older. While hormones fluctuate throughout our lives, diet is also a big component in our complexion and sugar is targeted as a major culprit. But is sugar really to blame for our skin problems? Does it affect everybody’s skin? Find out what limiting your sugar intake can do for your skin.

So why exactly is sugar bad for our skin? Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer explains that it breaks down collagen, the substance that makes your skin look plump, youthful and lifted. He also goes on to say that “Sugar can weaken the immune system, and a suppressed immune system is bad at fighting off bacteria.” Bacteria will clog your pores, resulting in a breakout.

Sugar also sets off insulin production which triggers protein utilization malfunctions. Sugar acts as a kind of signal scramble, affecting the production of the proteins and amino acids that build up collagen and elasticity. “Sugars bind to the amino acid chains and they gunk up the work,” explains Lancer.

Another effect of the sugar is that it creates testosterone with makes pores larger and skin oilier. It will also harden blood vessels and dehydrate skin making skin look less perky and bouncy. In turn, your skin becomes sallow and you get unwanted dark circles. Dr. Shereene Idriss, a dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology follow up, adding, “You get mild swelling and breakouts.”

Even though processed sugars are targeted as the enemy, you should beware of natural sugars that are consumed. Lancer warns that you should pay attention to where food falls on the glycemic index. Foods that rank low on the glycemic index manage insulin production which will slow down glycation, or in layman’s terms, your body will burn energy instead of storing it as fat. Watermelon and cantaloupe are high on the index, while white kiwi, blueberries and blackberries are lower.

You should also be aware of wine. Idriss warns, “Drinking too much wine can affect you too. Alcohol dehydrates and causes capillaries to dilate so dark circles will show under the eyes more prominently.” You also should be careful when eating honey. Lancer rules that a quarter teaspoon daily should be the maximum.

Health and beauty writer Lauren Blum was suffering from adult acne. She noticed breakouts appearing whenever she ate sugary snacks. She suspected that reducing her sugar intake might be a solution for her. She went to see Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, respected dermatologist for his opinion. Thornfeldt told Blum that sugar can activate inflammation. It also binds to the collagen to make skin stiff. He advised against any processed sugar which could lead to long-term damage due to chronic inflammation. He suggested that Blum reduce her sugar intake by two-thirds. After a week, Blum found her skin looking renewed, with lesser breakouts. There was less overall redness and her skin looked brighter.

So, what’s your sugar story? Have you tried to reduce your sugar intake and, if so, how did it affect your skin?

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Nuts for Beautiful Skin

Unknown woman picking out nuts from her hand

Did you know that nuts aren’t just good for your health, but also good for your skin? Turns out that a number of our “nutty” friends can work wonders in making the skin look better and healthier. To find out which of the “nutty” friends you should pay closer attention to, check out this Vine Vera Nuts for Beautiful Skin Infographic.

Infographic on nuts and their effects on the skin

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Top 5 Fruits for Radiant Skin

Unknown woman slicing up an orange for skincare purposes

There are a number of fruits that can go a long way in hydrating your skin, rejuvenating your looks and allowing you to de-stress. It is easy to get the nutrients and benefits you need from these fruits; just eat them! And they can easily help you recreate that perfect spa-like experience. So without further ado, Vine Vera would like to reveal the top 5 fruits for radiant skin.

Infographic on the top 5 fruits for radiant skin

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All About Antioxidants

Unknown woman with a halved pomegranate

Antioxidants are compounds that are usually associated with saving your skin from the damage caused by the free radicals present in the environment. Antioxidants are very important for your skin health, it is very important to know how antioxidants benefit the skin because most of your skin care problems can be solved by adding the right antioxidants into your diets and your skin care routines. The secret to success lies in determining which antioxidants are beneficial for your skin and how should you add them into your regular routines. Check out Vine Vera‘s infographic to learn more!

Infographic on antioxidants for the skin