Get a glowing complexion and thick, shiny hair from just the foods you eat. In The Beauty Detox Foods (Harlequin, 2013), clinical nutritionist Kimberly Snyder offers beauty tips, tricks and recipes. In this excerpt, from chapter 4 “Beautiful Skin,” Snyder explains how to curb chronic acne with six nutrient-rich beauty foods for clear skin.
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6 Beauty Foods for Clear Skin
Zit. Pimple. Blemish. Breakout. Whitehead. Blackhead. If you have ever suffered from acne, as I have, you’ll associate the experience with frustration, embarrassment and dread. Acne isn’t simply just a superficial issue; it can destroy confidence, which is an important quality of magnetic beauty.
While I am a big advocate of using the right skin-care products, many people use good products but still have chronic acne. You may be one of those people who have wondered why you can’t get your pesky acne to vanish. The Beauty Detox approach to acne addresses the root cause, which concerns blockages within the internal organs, specifically in the liver and colon.
The liver filters toxins and usually pushes the waste into the colon. But when these organs become overloaded with waste and toxins, the toxins have to be pushed out through the skin, another eliminative organ, creating those ugly pimples. Acne is an external symptom of a much deeper issue. World-renowned endoscopic surgeon Hiromi Shinya, who has performed more than 370,000 colonoscopies, points out, “No matter how good the food is, if you cannot excrete that food properly, it will rot and produce toxins in the intestine. Once it reaches this state, the balance of the intestinal bacterial flora will collapse in an instant. The reason you get pimples and rashes when you’re constipated is that toxins, which get produced in the intestine, cannot be sufficiently excreted from the intestine.”
Perhaps it seems strange to you that your intestines, deep within your body, affect the skin on your face. But all parts of your body are interconnected. If you want to eradicate acne, you have to eliminate the root cause by minimizing toxicity in your body and maintaining ongoing cleansing of your digestive tract through better dietary choices. Cooked fats, especially polyunsaturated vegetable oils and dense animal oils, dairy products, and processed and refined foods that contain chemicals and preservatives are extremely difficult for the body to digest. They end up creating toxic substances that overwhelm the liver and colon. Certain medications, as well as hormonal changes, may also contribute to acne.
Recipes for Clear Skin
Probiotics & Enzymes
Making foods rich in probiotics and enzymes is extremely important in your ongoing efforts to eliminate acne naturally. There is no other food in my personal journey that has helped me maintain clear skin as much as my recipe for a Probiotic & Enzyme Salad. It’s loaded with probiotics, or good bacteria, and enzymes, as the name suggests. It is basically raw sauerkraut.
Probiotics have been associated with helping to keep the growth of unfavorable bacteria, yeast and fungi in check; keeping the immune system strong; ameliorating food allergies and inflammatory intestinal disorders; and helping to prevent constipation and other digestive problems. Shinya calls “bacteria with antioxidant enzymes” that neutralize free radicals within the depths of your body “good bacteria.” When your intestinal flora is balanced and digestion is excellent, you get clear, beautiful skin.
I believe it’s important to consume probiotics from a whole food–based source, and not just rely on supplements, though I do also recommend taking probiotic supplements. Probiotic & Enzyme Salad is a live, powerful beauty food that’s made from cabbage, another beauty food. You may also hear of good bacteria being associated with yogurt, but I don’t recommend dairy yogurt. This Probiotic & Enzyme Salad is also high in B vitamins, and helps your body manufacture and synthesize missing elements of the B complex family of vitamins right in your gut. Probiotics are important for synthesizing other essential nutrients as well, such as vitamin K, in the small intestine.
Raw sauerkraut has been consumed for thousands of years. In fact, it’s said that Chinese workers ate it while building the Great Wall of China and the Romans carried barrels of sauerkraut as protection against intestinal infections. I recommend eating at least half a cup daily at dinner. You can also buy raw sauerkraut in the refrigerated section of the health-food store, but be careful of how much salt is contained in packaged brands.
Arugula is high in vitamin A, which not only protects the skin from free radical damage, but has been shown to be an anti-acne nutrient. Since a lack of vitamin A can lead to acne, it’s important to load up on arugula, as well as other dark leafy greens that are high in vitamin A, such as watercress, broccoli and spinach.
A pungent, spicy member of the mustard family of dark leafy greens, arugula is highly alkaline, and helps cleanse and neutralize acidic waste throughout the blood and lymphatic system. Cleansing wastes from your body helps prevent toxic overload, a precursor to chronic acne outbreaks.
Arugula is also a good source of vitamins C and K, iron, calcium and fiber. I recommend pairing arugula in salad with avocado, so that the natural fats in the avocado balance arugula’s peppery taste.
Onions are beneficial cooked or raw, and possess antiseptic properties that cleanse the liver and skin. This humble but powerful beauty food contains flavonoids that stimulate the production of glutathione, which is the most important antioxidant the liver uses for detoxification.
Onions have potent antibacterial properties, balancing bad bacteria in your body’s inner ecosystem. They also contain a good deal of sulfuric oils, which stimulate the mucus lining of the sinuses and digestive tract.
Onions are a great blood cleanser, and they work by helping to thin the blood and eliminate clumps formed by fat, protein and sticky red blood cells. This allows more oxygen to flow efficiently in the bloodstream, which will help create a glowing, clear complexion.
Full of other beauty benefits, the humble onion is also high in usable quercetin, which is an antioxidant flavonoid that helps neutralize free radicals in the body, protects against heavy-metal damage, regenerates vitamin E and strengthens capillaries, which protects against varicose veins.
Some cultures believe that onions have potent longevity properties and consider them a type of natural medicine. Onions also contain vitamins A and C, sulfur, calcium, potassium, iron, silicon and fiber.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar has long been honored for its many beauty and health benefits, one of which is as a natural antidote for acne.
I have noticed a definite link between constipation and acne in my clients. Raw apple cider vinegar is a strong digestive aid, helping to cure constipation and stimulating stomach acid, which aids in digestion. It also has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, which are of further benefit in dealing with candidiasis and yeast issues. Raw apple cider vinegar helps promote the growth of probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your system, by acting as a prebiotic that feeds the probiotics in your digestive system.
This unique vinegar contains potassium and other trace minerals and elements. Because it helps balance the yeasts and bacteria in your body that feed off sugar, consuming it may help alleviate sugar cravings.
It has been theorized that raw apple cider vinegar is an effective weight loss aid, which speeds the metabolism and encourages fat-burning. It is even available in supplement form as a weight loss product.
Note how I keep using the word raw, which is what this type of vinegar must be in order for you to reap these benefits. Don’t just buy any old apple cider vinegar you find at the supermarket or corner deli. Select one that’s labeled “raw” and “unfiltered” or still contains the “mother,” which implies that it’s unpasteurized and has its own enzymes, beneficial bacteria and living nutrients. You’ll find it at the health food store. It may cost a few dollars more than other vinegars, but thankfully it’s not outrageously expensive.
I have found the benefits of raw apple cider vinegar are greatest when taken before meals. Two ways I suggest consuming it are first to include it in a beauty detox salad dressing recipe. I often use it in cooking to brighten dishes, instead of cooking wine. The other way is to dilute one tablespoon in a glass of water and drink it 20 minutes before your meal. Admittedly, I definitely prefer the first way!
Would you believe garlic can enhance beauty, not just repel people by creating bad breath, as commonly acknowledged? Well, it’s true! Garlic purifies the bloodstream and enhances detoxification to help secure clear skin over the long haul. Garlic’s effect on detoxifying the body and optimizing digestion is of particular importance. Garlic is a wonderful digestive aid, as it exerts a beneficial effect on the lymphatic system and aids in the elimination of noxious wastes from the body. It stimulates both secretion of digestive juices and peristalsis, the wavelike muscle contractions that move waste matter along through your digestive tract. Garlic also has an antiseptic effect and is an excellent remedy for infectious diseases and inflammations of the stomach and intestine.
The active component in garlic is the sulfur compound it contains, called allicin, a powerful natural agent that helps inhibit the ability of germs to grow and reproduce. In fact, it is said that one milligram of allicin has a potency of fifteen standard units of penicillin, which makes garlic a natural deterrent to internal yeast infections. Garlic can be useful for candidiasis, a condition that tends to accompany acne.
Garlic is an overall health-promoting food and research has shown it to help support the cardiovascular system. It is packed with vitamins and nutrients, including potassium, B vitamins and vitamin C. Minerals such as potassium and many other compounds are believed to have anticancer properties.
If you want clear, glowing and blemish-free skin, make sure lemons are part of your daily diet. Lemon aids with digestion by increasing the secretion of bile from the liver, while also acting as a strengthening agent for the liver’s enzymes. Any support to the liver, which is our primary detoxifying organ, is going to help clear up acne in the long run.
Lemon is high in vitamin C, which is water-soluble and travels easily through your body, destroying free radicals and toxins. Lemon acts as a blood purifier and as a cleansing agent to flush out bacteria and toxins in the body. These properties, which aid digestion, also make it helpful in long-term weight loss.
Although it has natural citric acids, lemon is actually alkaline-forming upon digestion. Lemon is a vitamin C–rich citrus fruit that helps bring a radiant glow to your complexion, fighting wrinkles and rejuvenating skin from within. It also contains the minerals calcium, potassium and magnesium.
An integral part of the Beauty Detox Program is drinking hot water with lemon each morning—a potent way to increase lemon’s benefits with a detoxification boost. I also recommend having lemon juice throughout the day, freshly squeezed in water and in salad dressings and recipes. Aim to consume the juice of two fresh lemons each day.
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from The Beauty Detox Foods by Kimberly Snyder, copyright (c) 2013, published by Harlequin. It may not be reproduced for any other use without permission. Buy this book from our store: The Beauty Detox Foods.