As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” This couldn’t be truer—at least when it comes to the health of your skin.
“In order to have great looking skin, you need to make sure that you are eating well,” Barbara Mendez, an integrative nutritionist who specializes in functional nutrition and emotional eating habits, tells InStyle. “This means including highly nutritious foods, and, if need be, eliminating others.”
Here, she shares tips for achieving healthy, glowing skin—starting from the inside.
Drink Plenty of Water
Aside from sunscreen, water should be your skin’s BFF. “It’s essential for optimal skin health,” Mendez says. “It’s hydrating and also flushes toxins out of the body more efficiently.” Adding a lemon or cucumber slices, she notes, will help neutralize the skin, thereby enhancing your glow.
Cut Down on Dairy
If you struggle with acne, you might want to consider ditching it altogether. “Consuming milk products has been shown to disrupt bowel function," Mendez points out. “This creates toxicity, which eventually shows up on your skin.”
Load Up on Green Juice
“This is one of the most important things you can consume to help improve the quality and look of your skin,” she says. “You want to make sure it's mostly vegetables with just a little fruit to help with flavor.” She recommends including cucumbers, which are great for under-eye puffiness, as well as kale, a powerful antioxidant. Throw in a lemon or lime for hydration and ginger as an anti-inflammatory.
Stay Away from Sugar
Want super smooth skin? You'll have to keep your sweet tooth in check. “Sugar is a pro-inflammatory which can lead to signs of premature aging,” she adds. “It also disrupts hormonal balance which can aggravate acne.”
Get to Know Omega-3s
Despite common misconceptions, not all fats are bad for you. Omega-3 fats, found in wild salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed oil, nourish and hydrate the skin, Mendez promotes. They also reduce signs of aging.
Watch Your Caffeine Intake
Those mid-day coffee breaks could be drying you out. Be mindful of your intake, Mendez warns. “Caffeine can be very dehydrating, so consume in moderation."
Consider Taking a Probiotic
According to Mendez, probiotics supplements, which promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, go beyond improving digestion. “They absorb toxins in the gut and help to move them out of your body so that their impact doesn’t show up on your skin.”
To learn more about Mendez or to sign up for her weekly Motivational Monday series, visit barbaramendeznutrition.com.