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Healthy eating not only affects the physiology of our bodies to protect us from disease and to prevent disease, but it also has an impact on our physical appearance. Everyone has heard of the phrase “You are what you eat”, there is some truth to this phrase when talking about our physical appearance. Here, we will be exploring the most common physical aspects affected by the food we eat. 1. Skin There are certain nutrients that nourish the skin such as collagen, Vitamin A and water. Collagen is a protein made by our body. It is responsible for skin elasticity keeping our skin looking smooth, plump and young.

Our body synthesizes collagen using nutrients from the foods we eat, including amino acids from protein-rich foods, Vitamin C, zinc, copper, sulfur and Omega 3. Here are some collagen-boosting foods we can start incorporating into our diet: Bone broth, Wild seafood, Organic, pastured raised eggs, Citrus fruit, Berries, Organic chicken, Leafy greens, Nuts and Bell peppers. Avoid refined sugar. It attaches to collagen (A process called glycation) and breaks it down, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin A is important in skin health because it stimulates the production of new skin cells. Vitamin A deficiency has been associated with acne in several studies. (Reference: PMID 16681594, 23826827) Other studies have shown that Vitamin A is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that plays a key role in preventing and reversing acne. (Reference: PMID 12230799) Bright orange fruits and vegetables and dark leafy greens are excellent sources of Vitamin A.

Here is a list of Vitamin A rich foods for acne-free skin:

Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, cantaloupe, red and orange peppers, apricot, spinach, collard greens, beet greens, swiss chard, kale, dandelions, mustard greens and romaine lettuce.

Avoid these foods for acne: Dairy, sugar, refined carbohydrates and vegetable oils.

Dairy is one of the most important foods to avoid for acne-prone skin. A metanalysis published in 2018 in the journal Nutrients, concluded that any dairy, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, was associated with an increased odd ratio for acne in individuals aged 7 to 30 years old. (Reference: PMID 30096883) Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, cereal, flour and baked goods made from flour may contribute to the development of acne. They promote inflammation in the body which is an underlying root cause of acne. Vegetable oils are also a top food to avoid for acne-prone skin. These include corn oil, sunflower, safflower, soy, grapeseed, cottonseed and vegetable oil. They are rich in Omega 6 fats which put the body into an inflammatory state and exacerbate acne. (Reference: PMID 2258533,24062871)

"Most packaged foods, baked goods and restaurant foods contain vegetable oils. Healthier oils to consume are extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil."

Water…Hydrates your skin. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin well hydrated and looking beautiful and fresh. It is recommended from a functional medicine perspective to drink half your body weight in ounces daily.

Weight: If we are not eating the right foods, it negatively affects our waistline. We cannot exercise a bad diet. To achieve healthy weight loss along with exercise, choose to eat nutrient dense whole foods such as leafy greens, fruits, healthy fats, and lean proteins. Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods and vegetable oils.

Hair: Proper nourishment keeps our hair looking healthy, shiny and full. Hair and scalp issues arise as a result of nutrient deficiencies, including Vitamin A, E, C and B vitamins. These vitamins are found in nutrient dense whole foods as previously mentioned.

Eyes: Under eye skin is one of the most delicate parts of our body. Alcohol, lack of sleep ageing, caffeine and dehydration can result in dark circles around the eyes. Consuming foods that are rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, A and E may help reduce your dark circles. Hydrating foods and mineral rich foods are also beneficial.

Here are the top foods with these properties: Cucumber, watermelon, tomato, sesame seeds and black currant. A healthy diet is an essential part of our lives. A healthy physical appearance is essential for our emotional well-being. Make the right food choices and see the positive transformation your skin, weight, hair and eyes will undertake.

Maribel Contreras, D.C. Chiropractic physician Institute for Functional Medicine AFMCP: Applied Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice. Follow on Instagram @doctormaribelc

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