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How to get great skin from the inside out

Expert reveals secrets to achieving a clear complexion and glowing skin amid summer's punishing heat.

Blogger Julie Sariñana of Sincerely Jules has the dewy summer skin we're all after. Blogger Julie Sariñana of Sincerely Jules has the dewy summer skin we're all after. Blogger Julie Sariñana of Sincerely Jules has the dewy summer skin we're all after. (Photo: Sincerely Jules)

It turns out we’re looking for great skin in all the wrong places. We’re all guilty of turning to a beauty product at one time or another for one skin ailment or another; to decrease puffiness, increase illumination, unclog pores, minimize redness, we could go on! But what if we kept those beauty products in the cabinet for a moment and instead focused on our diet as a way to achieve radiant skin?

We decided to go straight to an expert to find out precisely how we can all achieve gorgeous, glowing skin by working from the inside out. Israel-born Danielle Hamo, a registered dietitian at F-Factor Nutrition in New York City, says that we all can eat and drink our way to a healthier, clearer complexion. "Growing up in Tel Aviv exposed me to fresh wholesome food," Hamo told From The Grapevine. "My mother would cook fresh food daily, and I rarely ate processed foods. My love for food that is both delicious and good for you was definitely influenced by its abundance in Israel."

Below is some great advice from Hamo along with two of her favorite skin-care recipes.

Seek out high-fiber foods

Israeli couscous with vegetables, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and parsley.Israeli couscous with vegetables, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and parsley. (Photo: Lapina Maria/Shutterstock)

“High levels of insulin in the blood have been shown to cause breakouts, so a diet that controls blood sugar levels and therefore insulin levels will help with clearer skin,” Hamo explained. “One way to control blood sugar levels is to eat a diet high in fiber. Fiber slows down digestion and the introduction of sugar into the bloodstream, therefore promoting healthier skin.” Incorporate the following high-fiber foods into your diet: whole wheat couscous, farro, whole-wheat bread, high-fiber cereals, fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes.


Hydrate

Water infused with lime, cucumber and mint. Water infused with lime, cucumber and mint. (Photo: Eating Richly)

Being properly hydrated is critical to achieving a dewy glow, particularly as the temperatures rise. “In the hot summer months, it is especially important to stay fully hydrated,” says Hamo. “Our bodies are over 70 percent water, and staying hydrated is imperative to keeping it running at maximum capacity and promoting skin circulation." Hamo says we should be drinking 8-12 cups of water daily. And for those of us who prefer a little flavor in our beverages, Hamo suggests adding lemon or lime wedges, orange slices, cucumbers or fresh berries.


Replace processed foods with fruits and veggies

When it comes to your skin, that old axiom “beauty starts from within” is true. When it comes to your skin, that old axiom “beauty starts from within” is true. (Photo: Goop)

“There are so many skin-protecting properties in the vitamins found in fruits and vegetables,” says Hamo. “They also help protect the skin with their high levels of antioxidants by neutralizing free radicals.” Fruits and veggies are also low in calories, high in fiber, and contain lots of water which will help keep you hydrated. Incorporate the following skin-soothing snacks into your diet: refreshing watermelon, a cup of berries or veggie sticks like carrots, celery and peppers.


Befriend tasty superfoods

sweet potato friesBy replacing Idaho potatoes with sweet potatoes, and baking instead of frying, you can up the ante on nutritional value. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Hamo says these four nutrients directly benefit your skin:

Beta carotene: A derivative of Vitamin A that is found in orange foods like carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangoes and papaya. Beta carotene has photoprotective properties and helps prevent against sunburn from the inside. Hamo says that beta carotene should be coupled with topical safe sunblock and not treated as a replacement for it.

Vitamin D: Synthesized through sun exposure or found in fatty fish, eggs and fortified milk and cereals. Vitamin D protects the skin against sun damage and carcinogenesis (the formation of cancer cells.) Also, it has anti-aging properties, so eating foods high in Vitamin D and calcium is important, especially for people over 50.

Polyphenols: Found in green tea and red wine, they have the ability to protect the skin from UV rays and reduce risk of skin cancer by inhibiting the growth of tumor cells.

Curcumin: Found in the spice turmeric, which can be added to rice and potato dishes and soups. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin against aging and oxidative stress.


Experiment with skin-clearing smoothies and snacks

smoothiesSmoothies usher in summer like nothing else. (Photo: verca/Shutterstock)

“I believe that all snacks should have a fiber and protein component,” says Hamo. “This keeps you full for a longer period of time, helps aid in weight management and will control blood sugar which reduces cravings.


Hamo shares two of her favorite summer skin recipes:

Glow-getting smoothie:

½ banana

a few frozen strawberries

3 cubes of ice

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp smooth almond butter

almond milk

High-fiber pizza:

Take 4 high fiber crackers (such as GG scandanavian crisps)

Top with Rao’s tomato sauce (or any other tomato sauce)

1% cottage cheese

Sprinkle with seasoning blend

Bake in the oven until cheese is melted

Hamo says you will get 16g of fiber, which is more than what most Americans get in a whole day.

Lindsay E. Brown is the managing editor of Eco-Chick, the web’s first ethical fashion, beauty and travel site for women. She has written for Whole Living Magazine, Edible, and Cottages & Gardens. Lindsay has been featured as a fashion and beauty expert on the Veria Living Network. Lindsay holds a BS in Global Business Studies and Marketing from Manhattan College, and received the 2012 Honors Award at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

The opinions expressed in blogs and reader comments are those of the writers and do not reflect the opinions of FromtheGrapevine.com. While we have reviewed the content to ensure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, From the Grapevine is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information.

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