Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and thought that your skin looked unhealthy? Has your skin ever looked blotchy, too ruddy, pimply, dull and drab, or just plain blah? If you have answered yes to any or all of these questions (and frankly, who hasn’t?), then the following information is just for you!
If you have heard the saying “you are what you eat”, then you are on the right track, but there is more to this than meets the eye. Chances are that your diet is not as good as it could be. Before you go out and buy a bunch of expensive creams, evaluate this most important aspect. If you have a chocolate bar for breakfast, potato chips and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread, washed down with two cans of regular soda, for lunch, and fast food for dinner (as many people actually do nowadays), then you will definitely need to revamp what you eat!
The first step of your day of healthy skin eating is breakfast. Don’t skip it, and be sure that your choices in the morning are wholesome and healthy, since this meal will set the scenario for the entire day. Good skin choices are a variety of the following: whole cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables, perhaps some fresh cheese (not too much though), eggs, lentils, beans, or other pulses, and dried fruit (although fresh is preferable).
If you snack or have a meal at work or school, then think of what you will have and plan ahead. Don’t wait until you are famished, and have no alternative other than to pick up something out of a vending machine, fast food joint, quickie supermarket, cafeteria, or snack bar. Your choices at those places are not likely to be as healthy as they would be if you planned them ahead of time and brought a couple snacks to work with you in the morning. Also, don’t wait until you are starving either. This will set you up for a fall. You are more likely to reach for something unhealthy in desperation. Unless you have healthy choices, it is probably best not to order out. Try to stick with whole fruit, veggie sticks, and, perhaps, some cold fish or chicken. If you have a microwave at work or school, all the better to eat healthily. Bring soup, leftovers from dinner the night before, or sautéed vegetables, for example.
For lunch, make sure that you have a substantial meal. This works well with the system in the East, since the midday meal is normally the largest one anyway. But, if you are from the West, and you are used to having your main meal at night, then rethink this policy, and make sure that you eat a heavier meal in the daytime, so that your body will have a chance to digest it and use the energy that a large meal will supply. Here in Kuwait, rice a staple food, and, for those of you reading who are from India, the Philippines, or other Asian countries, you would do much better to choose wholegrain brown rice, instead of white. It is widely available here in Kuwait at the supermarkets, and, although it takes a little extra effort and time, it is well worth the effort. Try to stick with fresh proteins, vegetables, and fruit, to accompany your rice, instead of cured, smoked, or salted proteins. Also, try to keep the chili and spice at a minimum. I know this may be difficult, since this is what you are used to eating, but you will notice a difference in your skin, and indeed, your health very quickly. For those hailing from the West (as I am), keep it simple and wholesome at lunch too. If you are not used to eating a heavy meal at this time, then don’t force yourself, but try to eat the bulk of your food during the daylight hours. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh proteins, vegetables, and fruit, with a variety of whole grains thrown in for good measure. Whether you eat these things hot or cold is not the issue, but that you eat them, and not junk, if possible. This is the only way to make sure that your skin looks its best and that your health remains tip top.
For dinner, it is best to keep it light, and fairly early. You don’t want to go to bed with a full stomach. First of all, you will not be able to sleep comfortably, and second of all, the food will not be able to be digested properly and completely, and your skin will show it! Again, here, as with the other meals, plenty of fresh protein, vegetables, and fruit are what is called for. You will need to make sure that you balance things, leaning toward the wholesome watery fruit and vegetables more heavily. Try to keep away from the heavy spices all the time, particularly at the evening meal, as they will stick with you longer and you will sleep with them in your body. You will notice it if you do, and pretty soon your skin will begin to show the signs! I will remind you again, fresh fruit and vegetables are the most important part of your meal, especially at night. If you want a grain, then have it, but make appropriate choices, and keep it small.
The idea is to stick to things that are healthy and beneficial to your body, and to make sure that you are getting all the nutrients that you need. Yes, you can take a multivitamin as well, but, really, if you are looking for optimum skin benefits, whole foods are the way to go. Herbal teas are also a good idea throughout the day, especially if you are a habitual coffee or tea drinker. Substitute those choices for healthy herbs instead. Peppermint, chamomile, sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and others are found in practically every kitchen and can be easily brewed into a light and refreshing tea that not only tastes delicious, but also helps to cleanse our bodies of toxins, and keep our lymph and excretory systems working their best.
In order to keep your skin as bright as it can be, and ward off acne, eczema, and all those other nasty skin problems (along with a slew of other health problems), make sure that you drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep at the appropriate time (night!), stay away from toxins (cigarette smoke, arbitrary medications, pollution, chemicals, junk food, etc.), make sure your bathroom habits are good (you should be having regular bowel movements of normal consistency, and urinating regularly (the urine should, preferably be clear in color), and eat as well as you can. There are plenty of good food choices out there nowadays in Kuwait, so there is really no excuse. Whole grains, and even breads with no yeast are widely available now in most supermarkets. There are even organic restaurants now that serve whole foods that are delicious and good for you too!
So, if you suffer from skin problems (or even if you don’t), your diet and lifestyle are the most important things you can help yourself with. Don’t jump right out to the skin specialist and whine that your skin is sick. What they give you will simply compound the problem. Your solution is closer to home, and, indeed, it is right in front of your mirror!