“Hey, you! Let’s quit sugar.” – Your Skin
Do you hear that? It’s your skin asking you to lay off those sweets!
(And haven’t you heard? You’re sweet enough already, my friend.)
Because elevated and erratic blood sugar levels do not bode well for the skin.
While the connection between nutrition and skin health is missing from most conversations regarding skincare and in Western medicine, I’m on a mission to change that with my new book Glow: The Nutritional Approach to Naturally Gorgeous Skin.
The fact is: the skin is the body’s largest organ and everything in the body is SO intimately connected. Not only does the skin require certain key nutrients to build, protect, and repair itself, but a number of common internal imbalances often manifest in the skin — causing premature aging and triggering skin issues like acne and eczema.
Blood sugar imbalance in particular plays a significant role in skin health:
- Elevated blood sugar depletes some of the glow-getting micronutrients that skin cells need to regenerate and repair.
- Elevated blood sugar levels promote the formation of advanced glycation end products or “AGEs”. This acronym is apt since AGEs cause proteins – like the collagen and elastin that keep the skin smooth and elastic – to become rigid and snap.
- Elevated blood sugar causes an inflammatory spike in insulin (which the body produces to bring blood sugar levels back down). Inflammation ages the skin from the inside out, and triggers or worsens inflammatory skin conditions like acne and eczema.
- Dietary sugars feed the bad bacteria in the gut, throwing the gut microbiome out of balance. This impacts digestion, inhibits the absorption of glow-getting nutrients, and promotes “leaky gut” – a significant cause of chronic inflammation.
- Since the endocrine system is very delicate, chronically elevated insulin levels can throw the other hormones out of balance as well. This can have a tremendous impact on the skin.
Of course, skin health is just one of the oh so many reasons to keep blood sugar levels balanced.
Erratic blood sugar levels are often the culprit behind that afternoon energy crash, “hanger”, and crazy cravings, as well as more serious health conditions like insulin resistance and type two diabetes.
So, how do we start to balance blood sugar for glowing skin?
The first step to regulating blood sugar levels is cutting refined sugar and simple, refined carbohydrates from your diet. The majority of dietary sugars should come from whole fruits and vegetables.
But beyond that, the best and simplest way to help prevent blood sugar highs and lows is to include quality fat and protein with each meal.
It’s especially important to start the day off on the right foot and eat a breakfast high in fat and protein. And eating breakfast in itself is important for blood sugar regulation: when you skip out on breakfast, your body produces the stress hormones cortisol, which in turn elevates blood sugar levels.
Since protein and fat are digested more slowly, they help slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and ensures your body gets the steady stream of sugar into the blood on which it thrives. Protein and fat also keep us feeling fuller longer, which helps us overcome sugar cravings.
Your body will thank you for keeping blood sugar levels steady and reward you with naturally glowing skin from within!
About The Author:
Nadia Neumann is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and founder of the popular healthy living blog Body Unburdened, which empowers readers with the information and resources they need to live a healthy lifestyle rooted in real food, natural beauty, and a healthy home. She believes that real food is the foundation of health and that unhealthy chemicals have no business being inside our bodies. In addition to everything you’ll find on Body Unburdened, Nadia has authored the eBook The Home Detox Guide as well as her new book Glow: The Nutritional Approach to Naturally Gorgeous Skin.
Great article. Our skin is affected so much by what we consume!
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