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Detoxify the Skin
Your skin reflects your internal health. A healthy person has glowing, radiant, smooth skin. Inflammation, scaling, or puffiness indicates that the body is having health problems. Many skin conditions that leave us with undesirable complexions can be alleviated with a proper diet.
Skin: A Unique Organ
The skin is the largest of the body’s organs. It functions as a key sensing organ, an oil producer, a detox organ, a temperature regulator, and a protective covering. The skin has to do battle constantly to stay strong and fight the damaging forces that surround it. As the barrier between the body and the environment, it is subjected to a lot of abuse, including: ultraviolet rays from the sun (probably the most damaging factor the skin encounters each day); tanning and other sun exposure damage; cigarette smoke, cleaning-product chemicals, both on clothing and in the air.
Toxic chemicals from the environment can damage skin cells, reducing their ability to function properly, and skin that cannot function properly results in increased inflammation, infection, and a loss in structure. For your face, this means puffiness, blemishes, and wrinkles. Avoiding toxins is a great way to defy aging. Nutrients in foods can also prevent toxins from damaging cells and promote detoxification processes in the skin, helping you look younger.
What Does Food Have to Do with It?
The body is made up of more than 100 billion cells, each of which is made up of fats and proteins. Carbohydrates offer these cells energy. These three components are necessary to support your body’s basic health. Plus, your cells, particularly your skin cells, need vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to perform optimally and look radiant.
The skin requires some nutrients in foods to prevent damage from toxins that it is exposed to daily. Toxins cause damage, making the skin’s structure fragile.
For example, collagen is the skin’s main structural component, and the body cannot make it without vitamin C. This spring eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, rhubarb, and strawberries to help your skin.
Foods that Detoxify for Beauty
All cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, contain phytonutrients and optimize your skin cells’ ability to disarm and clear free radicals and other toxins. Today, researchers have concluded that eating cruciferous vegetables frequently (3 to 5 times per week) lowers the risk of prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer. If these miniature cabbages can help remove toxins that cause cancer, one can just imagine how many wrinkle-causing toxins they are able to remove as well.
Super Chic Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a fantastic source of manganese – in just one cup, there is 85 percent of your daily recommended value. This trace mineral is required for energy production and also functions as an antioxidant, fighting free radicals that form when toxins are in your skin. The more toxins in your skin, the more likely it is to sag. Another trace mineral in chickpeas, molybdenum, can help. Molybdenum is an important part of sulfite oxidase, an enzyme responsible for detoxifying (removing) toxins called sulfites, which cause damage that reduces the smooth, tight appearance of your skin.
Psyllium and the fiber it contains bulks up in the intestines, encourages proper bowel excretion and traps toxins (part of healthy detoxing), thus helping your skin look more clear and beautiful. There are more than eighty thousand toxic chemicals manufactured in North America. These toxins can be in our water and food supplies and in our cosmetics. When toxins enter your body, the liver filters them out of your blood and sends them, along with bile, into your intestines, where fiber can trap them and send them out of your body. Without fiber, however, these toxins can become reabsorbed and build up in your system, eventually damaging your skin and resulting in a dull complexion. Fiber, such as, that in psyllium, can help lower your body’s toxins levels. Just one tablespoon of whole husk provides about 9 grams of soluble fiber, more than one-third of the recommended daily intake.
Eat your way to more beautiful skin by including foods in your diet that help your body and your skin detoxify. Toxin exposure happens directly to your skin from your environment and daily activities. Plus, toxins tend to reside in the fatty layers of the skin (hence, saunas and skin scrubs are used in some detox plans). Help your skin stay toxin free and enjoy more natural beauty this spring.
Allison Tannis BSc MSc RHN is a Nutritional Consultant and author of many books including Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles (Fairwinds, 2009). Visit: allisontannis.com for more great articles and health information.