An Inside-Out Approach to Anti-Aging Skincare
Healthy skin needs more than just the right topical skincare products to thrive. Skin health is also influenced by what we eat, where we live, how much we exercise, what we do for work, etc. The list goes on… Today, we focus on a major component mostly within our control: diet.
Our skin conscious diet recommendations are rooted in a Swedish lifestyle and are simple to implement. We will discuss how and why a Swedish influenced diet helps retain healthy, radiant, and youthful-looking skin. But, the catch is that most people fail to turn these recommendations into a regular lifestyle and normal habits. So as you read on, please remember: Small consistent steps forward will make a big, long lasting difference and will help you stay on that strong path towards healthy skin from the inside-out.
1. Consume More Vitamin C and Antioxidants From Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
The Swedish diet places a lot of emphasis on consuming fresh fruits and vegetables for their natural antioxidants and vitamin-C. Vitamin C and other antioxidants, commonly found in fresh fruits and vegetables, keep your skin radiant by not only fighting UV radiation and toxins from air pollution but also by promoting your body’s natural production of collagen, which is great for your face, neck, and the dorsal side (back side) of your hands.
Founder Nicole Winter says that consuming these fruits and vegetables is key to how she keeps her skin so youthful and radiant. She recommends eating more citrus fruits like grapefruits and oranges, blueberries, peppers, and guavas. Or, if you can, try eating some Swedish cloudberries, which contain twice the Vitamin C content as an equivalent weight of oranges and will give your skin a huge antioxidant boost.
When possible, select organic fruits and vegetables to maximize nutritional value and skin benefits. Keep in mind that most of the produce in Sweden is not genetically modified. For instance, strawberries are only the size of a quarter compared to the colossal strawberries we can purchase in the U.S.
2. Put Down That Sugary Soda or Juice and Drink More Water
This is a skincare tip that’s been talked about for decades, but one of the reasons why the Swedish diet results in healthier skin is that it emphasizes getting most of your daily hydration from water. All of our skin’s key components, such as collagen and hyaluronic acid need lots of fluids to function, and low levels of these components have been linked to saggy and wrinkly skin. A good habit is to keep a re-fillable water bottle with you as a constant reminder to fill up and hydrate.
Sweden has a reputation for being clean and pollution-free. With thousands of lakes (literally 95,700 lakes in Sweden) and plenty of rain and snow, clean drinking water is plentiful in Sweden. Regardless of where you travel in the country, the cold water that comes out of the taps in homes, hotels, and other establishments is almost certainly safe to drink. So yes, clean, crisp water is readily available, which is important for hydrated and healthy skin, but this clean environment also plays a role too.
3. Substitute Out Sugar and Processed Foods for Skin Safe Alternatives
Ever wonder why our skin starts to blemish after a candy or sugar binge? Take a moment to process this information: it’s been proven that too much sugar makes our digestive systems less effective at processing toxins, so they are processed through our skin instead. And, many processed foods have hidden ingredients like excess trans fats, which can make the skin more vulnerable to UV radiation damage and thus more prone to photoaging (the premature aging of the skin) and even skin cancer. Woah.
Our modern food environment means that more foods than ever before are being processed and packed with sugar, especially snacks that we typically think of as healthy. Take a look at the cereal shelves in your local market and you will be hard pressed to find one with only a few grams of sugar per serving. But, instead of diving into sweets and processed foods, Swedes instead consume a lot of nuts and seeds. Further, instead of sweets, many Swedes opt for less processed, less refined, grain-based snacks, such avocado and smoked salmon on the infamous Scandinavian Fiber Crispbread.
With the Swedish diet featuring nuts and seeds as a key component, Nicole recommends keeping nuts on hand to satisfy on-the-go snack cravings. Also, substituting sugars for natural alternatives such as monkfruit extract or honey, which can even help draw moisture to the surface of the skin, keeping it healthy and supple.
4. Eat More Fish and Seeds, and Less Red Meats
Nicole also recommends eating more fish, seeds, and nuts, while reducing red meat intake. Nicole grew up eating plenty of fresh fish in Sweden. Fish like mackerel, sardines, and salmon are all high in Omega-3, which is a key component of cell membranes and can help your body to regenerate skin cells quicker. If you don’t eat fish, eating seeds and nuts like walnuts, hemp seeds, and chia seeds to get your daily Omega-3. If you’re looking to make one change to your food intake to build an anti-aging skincare diet, then this is one of the best changes you can make.
Fatty types of fish like salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation and keep your skin moisturized. They are also a good source of high quality protein, vitamin E, and zinc, which each play a critical role in maintaining healthy skin. Proteins help retain skin integrity and strength. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that protects skin from free radical damage and inflammation. And, lastly, the zinc in fish is a vital mineral for regulating inflammation and overall skin health.
And, why substitute out red meats? Well, red meats often contain saturated fat and cholesterol, which lead to inflammation in the body and reduced collagen production causing dull skin. So replacing that ribeye steak with a filet of salmon is a great way to help your skin achieve its natural beauty and radiance.
5. Drink Less Alcohol
While the Swedish diet does promote drinking on occasion, Nicole barely drinks alcohol and is one of the key reasons she retained her youthful looking skin. One of the biggest effects alcohol has our your skin is dehydration, especially as we grow older and start to metabolize alcohol at a slower rate.
Dehydration causes wrinkles and pores to become more visible as your skin cells lose their water content. Not only that, but alcohol dilates blood vessels, increasing facial redness throughout a lifetime. Over time, these capillaries can dilate to the point that they burst, which is damage that is not as easily repaired. This leads to visible red and purple veins, especially across the face and cheeks.
Overall, for healthy, radiant skin, we recommend cutting down alcohol intake to the occasional drink and drinking water between alcoholic beverages to combat any ethanol-induced dehydration.
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