Mediterranean Diet For Health Benefits And Maintaining Healthy Skin

Mediterranean Village

Generally considered one of the healthiest diets on the planet, the Mediterranean diet can do miracles for your general health and just as crucial for the health of your skin.

Strange then that today we still don’t take this knowledge on board, and include some of these ancient Mediterranean foods directly and easily into our own diets to boost our overall health, in body and skin.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet:

A favorite of health professionals, its benefits are backed by a considerable amount of scientific research. Studies have shown that by adhering to the Mediterranean Diet for health benefits and maintaining healthy skin you can lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of various diseases, keeps bones strong and healthy, protects the brain and memory, and gives you healthy radiant looking skin.

There is more than good genes, myth and magic lying behind the generally healthy and cared for skin you see among Mediterranean people. They use make-up and skincare products in abundance just like the rest of us. But, they have some excellent skin building blocks in place in the form of great food; the so-called traditional Mediterranean diet.

Your diet can have both a positive and negative effect on the condition of your skin, your body’s largest organ, and the benefits of these ingredients for both the body and beauty.

Your skin will be at its healthiest providing you are getting the nutrients it requires from the food you eat, it is what you eat that plays a significant part in how your skin looks, feels and importantly shields you from daily pollutants.

Also, a recent study published in the ‘British Journal of Nutrition’ advises that following the Mediterranean diet can increase your life expectancy, even for people aged 65 and older.

The Mediterranean Diet – Improve Your Skin:

boy and girl on motorbike

Dieticians will happily tell you that what the Mediterranean diet does to improve your health, it can do for your skin also. The condition of your skin is crucial to your overall well-being since this is your body’s primary defense against the outside world. By sticking to the Mediterranean diet can help you enjoy glowing, radiant skin.

This eating plan encourages lots of olive oil, which is full of vitamin E and antioxidants that strive to hydrate and nourish your skin. The occasional glass of Red wine, which is recommended in moderation, contains resveratrol, which can even repress the growth of acne-causing bacteria. And tomatoes, another favorite Mediterranean staple, helps protect skin cells – also helping to prevent cancer caused by sun exposure.

The diet emphasizes eating vegetables, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats – encouraging a high intake of fiber and moderate consumption of meats and alcohol, and lots of antioxidants. Foods that are high in antioxidants will protect and enhance the skin.

One of the worst foods eat for your skin is sugar, it is the cause of inflammation in the body and one of the reasons for the breakdown of collagen in the skin, a fibrous protein that helps to keep the skin firm.

With the loss of collagen, this leads to wrinkles and sagging skin.

A diet that is high in unhealthy processed foods and refined carbohydrates will also accelerate aging of the skin.

Eat A Balanced Diet – Protect Your Skin:

Mediterranean Food

The world-famous Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the most beneficial diets for your skin.

It is full of antioxidants to help repair skin damage and healthy fats to keep the elasticity of the skin.

The Diet is based on plenty of plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, pulses, and whole grains, other vital components are fish, olive oil and small amounts of red wine. A limited amount of unprocessed meat, eggs, and dairy are allowed, and the diet is naturally low in added sugar, refined grains, and unhealthy processed foods.

A key feature is the healthy sources of fats from foods like fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and olives. At the same time avoiding foods containing unhealthy fats such as refined vegetable oils, processed meat, and other processed foods.

Many of the foods in a Mediterranean diet have anti-aging properties, that will both nourish and protect the skin.

Below is a list of the foods included in the diet:

Eat Plentiful Amounts:

Vegetables, fruit, pulses, nuts, seeds, whole grains, potatoes, herbs & spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.

Eat In Moderation:

Poultry, dairy, eggs, red meat, and red wine.

Limit or Avoid:

Added sugar, sugary drinks, refined grains, refined vegetable oils, processed meat, and processed foods.

Caffeine – Coffee is far more popular with people living in the Mediterranean region than tea, Caffeine helps to protect against skin cancer because it prevents a protein that UV-damaged precancerous cells need to divide.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

The best-known ingredient in the Mediterranean diet is, of course, Olive oil, a staple part of the diet, giving healthy monounsaturated fats and thought to be one of the reasons to the far superior health of the Mediterranean people. Olive oil is a valuable source of a fatty acid called oleic acid, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is involved in both aging and many diseases, so reducing it has anti-aging benefits.

Extra virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants, giving further anti-inflammatory properties, as well as protecting against oxidative stress damage in the body. By choosing cold-pressed olive oil and eating some of it raw, on salads, for example, will ensure you receive the highest antioxidant dose.

Olives and Olive Oil

The consumption of Olive Oil is linked to many advantages, these include a healthier heart and reducing the risk of mental problems such as depression and Alzheimer’s.

Olive oil is also an excellent ingredient for homemade beauty products, such as hair and face masks and fantastic natural body oil for both adults and children. It is packed full with vitamin E and antioxidants and is incredibly nourishing and moisturizing for hair and skin.

Oily Fish:

Living near to the Mediterranean Sea, the inhabitants of this region are traditionally fish eaters. Fish, especially of the rich oily variety, is our number one dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for health, beauty, and anti-aging. They have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, protecting those parts of the body most affected by aging (your eyes, the brain, heart, joints, etc.), as well as being an excellent moisturizer and conditioner for the skin and hair.

Both fish and seafood are also a fantastic protein source and provide essentialFish and Veg on a plate nutrients such as zinc and selenium. There is another less well-known anti-aging ‘star ’ to be found in ‘pink’ fish such as salmon, called astaxanthin. It is effective in reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, diminishing wrinkles, improving skin elasticity and so improving your overall appearance.

Plant Super-Foods:

Our Mediterranean neighbors have not only got the fruit and veg portions correct, but are also including an abundance of other plant super-foods in their daily diets, such as nuts, seeds, pulses, and whole grains. For example, nuts form an integral part of the diet and have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which give them anti-aging powers. Regular consumption is linked to lower cholesterol, reduced diabetes risk, and lower body weight. Pulses and whole grains also regularly feature in Mediterranean cuisine and are just as advantageous for health.

Bread and Pasta:

Bread is always seen on the table in a Mediterranean kitchen as well as pasta, both are very popular but are eaten alongside plenty of lentils, beans and other whole grains such as barley, whole wheat berries, polenta, oats, and buckwheat.

olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Bread and pasta have been unfairly labeled as ‘bad’ or ‘fattening’ foods in recent years. They are however a staple food in many healthy populations, including the Mediterranean region. Freshly baked whole wheat bread is a personal favorite of mine dipped in olive oil (instead of butter or margarine) add a touch of Balsamic Vinegar and black pepper, it’s delicious and it is actually very nutritious, so long as you are not allergic to wheat, gluten sensitivity or are coeliac it should not cause any issues if eaten in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.

Meat, Eggs, and Dairy:

Meat, eggs, and dairy are eaten in small quantities and in their most natural unprocessed forms. Fresh cheeses, of which many are naturally low in fat, such as ricotta, feta, and mozzarella are eaten in reasonable amounts and provide a great source of protein and calcium.

Dairy Products

Sheep’s and goats dairy products are very popular, as well as yogurt, which is a natural source of probiotics for a healthy gut. Meat is far less processed and eaten maybe once or twice a week, not daily! A traditional Mediterranean diet will be low in processed foods, with meals being home-cooked and made from natural, fresh ingredients.

Moderation and Balance:

Meat, eggs, and dairy are eaten in small quantities and in their most natural unprocessed forms. Fresh cheeses, of which many are naturally low in fat, such as ricotta, feta, and mozzarella are eaten in reasonable amounts and provide a great source of protein and calcium.

Tomatoes and Wine

Sheep’s and goats dairy products are very popular, as well as yogurt, which is a natural source of probiotics for a healthy gut. Meat is far less processed and eaten maybe once or twice a week, not daily! A traditional Mediterranean diet will be low in processed foods, with meals being home-cooked and made from natural, fresh ingredients, and enjoyed with a  glass of red wine.

General Skin Conditions:

Some common skin conditions can be affected by the food you eat:

Acne – A study on male acne patients who followed a low-glycemic diet had reduced acne in comparison to a group of men that ate a diet rich in carbohydrates.

Chocolate – this gets a bad report as it is seen as a cause of pimples when in reality acne might be from a high-sugar or high-carb diet, if you can’t resist it, try to eat dark chocolate, in moderation of course!

Rosacea – This can include facial redness and swelling, can be set off by overindulging in rich, spicy foods, excessive alcohol or even hot drinks.

Eczema – People who suffer from eczema get dry, itchy, and red patches on the skin. Dermatologists say foods that can aggravate eczema symptoms include milk, eggs, soy, and wheat, and excess sugar. The Mediterranean diet is very beneficial for people who suffer from Eczema.

Keep Your Skin Healthy:

Eat your colors for antioxidants, include some healthy fats and choose a variety of foods to get the nutrients required to keep your skin glowing not only in summer but all year long.

girl looking at blue sea

Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet; eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables can help to stop the damage that leads to skin aging prematurely.

Many studies also suggest that a diet that contains a lot of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can speed up the aging process!

Excessive drinking of Alcohol dehydrates the skin, if you remove the moisture content from the skin in time, this will lead to wrinkles and signs of aging on the face, simply put, you are going to look older. Drink less alcohol, easy to say I know, but Alcohol is severe on the skin.

Allow your body and skin to enjoy the Benefits of Change:

Even people who now have signs of premature aging skin can benefit greatly from making lifestyle changes.

By changing your diet and bad habits, you will see and feel the benefit to your body and skin.

If you smoke, stop! People who do manage to quit smoking often notice that their skin looks healthier in time. Smoking will dramatically speed up how quickly your skin ages, it also causes wrinkles and a dull, sallow complexion.

By using a high factor sunscreen you are protecting your skin from the sun, and you give it an opportunity to repair some of the damage that may have already occurred.

Apply a facial moisturizer both day and night. Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.

The Mediterranean Lifestyle:

clear Med Sea and girl

The Mediterranean diet for health benefits and maintaining healthy skin is far more about boosting your overall sense of well-being and learning how to make healthier food choices without giving up on taste and flavor. What’s not to love about really easy to find and use skin foods that give you an all-around healthy glow, inside and out?

If signs of aging skin bother you, you may want to see a dermatologist. New treatments and less-invasive procedures for smoothing wrinkles, tightening skin, and improving one’s complexion are giving many people younger-looking skin.

How much do you enjoy Mediterranean style food? What food do you find helps your skin look and feel better? Please leave any comments or questions below, and I will be happy to discuss them with you.

jo@yourskincarehelp.com


 

Detox Body and Skin – Maintaining Healthy Skin

Detox

If you thought that a ‘detox’ was something you did just to benefit your inner body, its time to think again. With the busy festive season fast approaching, now is the perfect time to get your skin in pristine condition. A Detox Body and Skin diet means you benefit internally and externally from one cleanse.

What is a Detox Diet?

A Detox diet means that you eliminate unhealthy foods, and replace them with food that is pure and natural. They usually last from 3 to 21 days, and the results are amazing and very beneficial to your general well-being. The process of detoxification is not as easy as it seems, especially if you are a fan of sugar, processed foods, and caffeine. We know to begin with cutting these products from your diet is going to be tough and challenging.

Here is a little something that you may not know, the liver and how well it is ‘functioning’ has many implications that may lead to epidermal problems.

So, you want to improve the appearance of your skin, a good place to start looking is at your gut since digestive well-being directly impacts your complexion.

The liver that is best known for breaking down amongst other things’ alcohol is closely connected to how healthy or poor your skin is looking.

Alcohol, as well as being high in sugar, is toxic to your body’s own ‘detoxifying’ cells, this can hinder your system’s own ability to ‘cleanse.’

A troubled liver can lead to your skin becoming dry, itchy, inflamed and cause acne to flare up.

There is a proverb in traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that “if your liver is in harmony, then the rest of your body will be in harmony as well.”

What can I do to help my Skin?

Consequently, it makes sense that a good place to start your cleanse would be to cut back on the alcohol intake, excessive alcohol will lead to a buildup of toxins in the liver,

Everything that we consume is processed through the liver, so we really need to think carefully about what we eat, drink, and even the air we breathe, it’s vitally important to keep it as healthy as we possibly can, your skin is a representation of what is going on inside of your body.

All of that means if we overload the body with crude substances, whether they are environmental pollutants, inflammatory foods, or alcohol, the results of these are going to show up on your face. If the liver is unable to break down toxins, your body makes every effort to remove these toxins through other ways, such as pores in your skin.

Every day our skin is exposed to various external pollutants – smoke, fumes and UVA/UVB rays to name but a few, it is nearly impossible to avoid encountering toxins on a daily basis. In actual fact, air pollution is now being associated with visible signs of skin damage.

As the skin is the largest organ of the body, toxicity can often manifest itself in conditions such as breakouts, eczema, or dermatitis.

That said, the right topical treatment can certainly help. Look for an antioxidant-rich serum and day cream to fight free radical damage and serve as a shield between the face and the elements. By preventing the toxins from reaching the skin’s lower layers, you actively protect against the breakdown of essential elastin and collagen – which means skin stays ‘younger’ for longer.

Unfortunately, we find in many skincare products chemicals are put into them to restore estrogen levels, these will also need to be removed by the liver!

What Toxins affect your Skin?

Its a frightening thought, but we are exposed to toxins nearly every day of our lives, not only in the air, water, and food but many other ways too, such as personal products that we use. Toxins can also be found in the pesticides that we apply to our lawns, there can be harmful residue on our food, solvents found in paints and cleaning products.

Most plastic products contain the chemical Bisphenol-A, better known as BPA and phthalates, these are odor-free liquids that do not evaporate quickly, they are used primarily to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) soft and flexible, these are commonly called the ‘everywhere chemicals’ because they are used in making countless plastic products that we are in contact with and use every day.

We all try our best to live free of these dangerous substances, but the truth is some are unavoidable.

Relax, everything is under control!

Relax

On the plus side, we can relax a little in the knowledge that we do have organs that work hard to clear these toxins from our body. The most significant organs used to detoxify the body are; the skin, lymphatic system, digestive system, the kidneys, and the liver. But, the liver is the most important organ when it comes to clearing these deadly toxins, it protects the body from harmful substances by decreasing their toxicity and making them ready for discharge.

When the liver and other organs the body uses to detoxicate are not operating correctly, this may lead to poisons forming in the body. This increase also happens when we are exposed to more toxins than our body can cope with. We will notice when our body isn’t dealing with the excess levels as we may see skin rashes and itching, acne especially hormonal acne, inflammatory conditions such as eczema, constant headaches and generally the whole body aching.

The Fat Factor:

The liver is not only responsible for dealing with toxins, but it is also used for breaking down fat. If you indulge in a very unhealthy diet, drink excessive amounts of booze the liver may struggle to cope with the overload, the fat will instead circulate in the bloodstream, and it ends up getting into the sebaceous glands.

Another problem that occurs if the liver is ‘overloaded’ is Cholesterol and triglycerides which are fatty substances that travel around in our bloodstream, can end up getting into the tissue and ‘storing’ themselves there, when this happens, it can disrupt the oil on your skin, known as sebum and this becomes very stressful on your complexion.

The quality and quantity of the fats in your bloodstream have an impact on how thick that sebum is, the thicker it is, the more likely it is to clog pores, this results in chronic breakouts.

If a contented liver equals radiant skin, how exactly can you help both organs perform at their best?

It all comes back to healthy eating and lifestyle.

Detox Through Your Diet:

You can start with simple changes to your diet, this can be a great start towards a healthy liver, and to keeping your skin clear. It is the liver that is responsible for breaking down hormones so they can be adequately eliminated and maintain a healthy balance.

Therefore, helping the liver combat hormonal imbalance is one of the most essential things’ we can do. If the liver becomes full of fatty buildup or strained, all the right things’ you are doing won’t be beneficial until the liver is cleansed and restored. If you suffer from hormonal acne, this is especially relevant for you.

Over the course of time, our body can become unbalanced, our hormones and digestive system need to be purified, by doing this it enhances the functions of the organs and helps us regain a balance.

Consider taking the following measures to help to cleanse the liver:

During your detox, you will need to provide healthy nourishment to your body to help support your liver, kidneys, and colon.

You should consider staying on a healthy diet for a very minimum of three days to see some benefits to your skin, but remember the longer you are on it, the better your skin is going to look, and your body feeling invigorated.

Here is a list of food and drinks that would be beneficial when detoxing:

Cruciferous vegetables – especially broccoli, also cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts.

Sulfur-containing foods – onions and garlic.

Fiber-rich fruits – bananas, oranges, apples, mangoes, raspberries, and strawberries.

High fiber vegetables – beans, peas, and Potatoes with skin.

Antioxidant-rich foods – Artichokes, Raspberries, Kale, Red Cabbage, Beetroot, and Spinach.

Herbal Teas – Red Clover, Burdock Root, Ginger tea, and Cayenne Pepper tea.

You should eat organic food, drink filtered water and choose non-toxic skincare products.

To aid your liver in removing unwanted toxins that may be in the process of being absorbed into the body you can use Lemon Juice. Lemons contain a lot of vitamin C that boosts your immune system. Warm Lemon water in the morning helps your digestion, it flushes out toxins and cleanses the liver and is an easy way to give a little extra help.

Try to avoid obvious reactive foods. These are foods that can lead to inflammation, this, in turn, can lead to many symptoms and ailments, including persistent skin problems such as acne and eczema.

The most common reactive foods include Dairy products, Eggs, Peanuts, Gluten, Alcohol, Caffeine, and Sugar.

When you decide to give the body a ‘cleanse’ it is an excellent time to take a break from these foods, and you will see for yourself how much these can impact your overall health.

To obtain the best results from your detox, you have to ensure that your bowels and kidneys are working effectively to remove toxins released during the cleanse. For bowels, as we mentioned earlier fiber is vital. For kidneys, it’s imperative to drink plenty of filtered water. Also, the skin releases toxins when you sweat, so it’s a good idea to exfoliate and ensure clean pores so you can sufficiently release toxins and discard dead skin.

While you are on your skin detox, you have to be more careful with what you eat. For this period it is essential to adapt to a healthy balanced diet. Stay off dairy products, fried foods, and try to cut out sugar, these will all lead to blocked pores and dull looking skin, for the duration of your detox. Instead, opt for foods that are going to assist your body, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and don’t forget to keep up the water intake!

All essential to overall health and wellness.

Drink Lots of Water – and Only Water!

Drinking enough water daily (minimum 6 – 8 glasses per day) is vital for your overall health, it helps with your circulation, digestion, absorption, and excretion, and promotes a healthier, hydrated, younger-looking, and radiant complexion.

This amount is the daily recommendation to help eliminate toxins from your body and remain hydrated, few people actually drink this much, and to make matters worse, they are drinking dehydrating liquids like coffee, sugary juices, and alcohol.

But if you are trying to help your skin, maybe taking a break from these beverages, at least while you are detoxing, you should try swapping your morning cup of coffee for a hydrating and skin-clearing green tea.

Read more on the Benefits of Drinking Water For Your Skin

Glowing Skin

beautiful skin+commitment

The solution when detox body and skin is implementing what you have benefited from it, and introduce it into your everyday life, by doing this you can continue to see results long after the detox is over. By putting more care and effort into your daily skincare, and try to keep up with facials and occasional spas, add a selection of healthy foods into your diet, your skin smooth and glowing, and you will feel the changes in a few days.

With minor changes like these, hopefully, your skin won’t need a detox very often!

What are your preferred methods of detoxing? Please leave any comments or questions below, and I will be happy to discuss them with you.

jo@yourskincarehelp.com