Food swaps you need to make for clearer skin


My skin hasn’t been a very good team player lately. With bumpy texture and spots outstaying their welcome, it had me thinking about the relationship between food and the condition of our skin.

So we rounded up some of the best wellness experts to pick their brains about what foods and drinks we should swap in our diets to get closer to our #skingoals.

First off, let’s start with how the food we eat affects our skin. Sherree Banh, Swisse Wellness Expert and in-house nutritionist, helps break this down for us. “What you choose to eat can play a huge role in the condition of your skin,” she says. 

“Our skin protects us from pathogens and toxins reaching our internal organs so it is crucial to nourish our skin with the right foods,” Sherree explains. “By eating foods high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, you’re giving your skin the best chance to look hydrated and youthful.”

Grab a pen and paper, it’s time to take note!

Swap red and processed meat for salmon 

Red and processed meats are rich in saturated fats, which can lead to inflammation. Zoe Bingley-Pullin, celebrity chef and nutritionist, explains the benefits of the swap. “For improved skin feel and appearance, load up on anti-inflammatory protein such as salmon, which is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids,” says Zoe. 

“Omega-3 is believed to exert beneficial effects on skin damage from ultraviolet radiation caused from increased sun exposure.”

RELATED: 6 foods that fight sun damage

Swap soft drink for kombucha, smoothies and juices

They might be hard to let go of, but sugary drinks do nothing for our skin. If you’re a fan of fizz, fear not, as Zoe has a health-boosting alternative: “Kombucha is a fermented tea rich in live bacteria, which may promote digestive health. A healthy gut balance is believed to restore acidic skin pH, alleviate oxidative stress and improve skin barrier function. A very yummy health and skin tonic!”

Blackmores naturopath Danielle Steedman explains why juices and smoothies are another great swap. “Fresh green smoothies and vegetable juices are packed full of alkalising nutrients and hydrating water, [so] as well as supporting healthy digestion, they are an easy tasty way to increase your intake of fresh produce and water.”

RELATED: 5 easy ways to eat less sugar

Swap conventional dairy for organic or non-dairy alternatives 

Sami Bloom, holistic health coach, says dairy is one of the main culprits having a negative effect on our skin. “Dairy is highly acidic and inflammatory to the body, with little beneficial dietary components, such as antioxidants or fibre,” she says.

“Replace dairy with dairy-free alternatives such as nut milk, coconut yoghurt, coconut and almond ice creams, cashew cheese and nutritional yeast. Once you get the hang of it you will find there is something for everything and everyone.”

RELATED: 5 of the best acne-fighting foods

Swap gluten-filled carbs for gluten-free options

Jessica Sepel, nutritionist and book author, says gluten is inflammatory for the gut and a healthy gut equals a healthy body. “As a nutritionist, when I see people breaking out, the first thing I do is look after their gut,” she explains.

“Leaky gut can contribute to skin breaking out, it’s a sign that your digestive system is struggling to digest and absorb the nutrients. Brown rice, making your own gluten-free bread, sweet potatoes, zucchini or mung bean pasta are all fantastic gluten-free options that won’t inflame your gut!”

RELATED: The best foods to eat before and after a workout

Swap coffee for herbal tea 

Ah coffee, I bet you wish this one didn’t make this list! Ellie Parker, Eat with Elle editor and blogger, breaks the news: “Your beloved coffee isn’t too great for your skin,” she says. 

“It can cause it to be dehydrated and lose the appearance of looking plump. Replace with a green tea, the antioxidants can help to lessen inflammation and it’s healthier for you too.”

Danielle adds, “Replacing caffeinated drinks with herbal teas that support healthy digestion and liver function such as dandelion and green tea is a good start.”

RELATED: 5 of the best coffee-infused beauty products

How do different foods affect your skin? What food or drink swaps will you be making?

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