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How To Eat For Better, Healthier Skin

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You’ve heard it before, because it’s true—good skin starts with good lifestyle choices. The way we feed ourselves quite literally shows on our faces. But it goes deeper than diet and exercise—it’s about balance. We spoke to Adina Grigore, author and founder of organic skincare brand S.W. Basics, about how disruption of healthy intestinal flora can cause systematic inflammation that leads to acne and other complexion concerns. Here, her expert tips for creating a healthy, glow-promoting connection between your gut and your skin.

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Skin Food

Probiotics assist the digestive system, and they also contribute to the health of your skin. "Our foods were once full of bacteria, but these days we eat mostly 'dead' packaged food," Adina says. "It can be really difficult to get enough probiotics from our diet, so it doesn't hurt to increase how much you're ingesting."

The fermentation process creates enzymes, vitamins and probiotics otherwise not present in food. Adina suggests adding items such as kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut, yogurt and kombucha tea to your diet to help improve your skin.

By loading your diet with nutrient-dense, vitamin-rich foods, your skin will become clearer and more radiant. One essential to incorporate is healthy fat (olive oil, salmon, avocado, etc.). "I actually see a lot of clients who aren't eating enough healthy fats and have serious skin issues such as sensitivity, redness and acne," Adina explains. These foods do a much better job of helping your skin thrive in comparison to over-processed, low-nutrient foods.

"If you continually eat a healthy diet—one rich in good fats, leafy greens, colorful vegetables, fermented foods, plenty of water—your skin will reflect that," Adina says. "Scientists are learning that a flourishing, healthy microbiome [aka, gut bacteria] supports everything from optimal functioning of your digestive tract to a strong immune system; there is even research that says it plays a big role in how our brains function. And disruption in good gut bacteria—from things like poor diet or even antibiotics—can lead to systemic issues throughout our body, which can be reflected in our skin."

The Essentials

You can incorporate probiotics and alkalizing nutrients into your everyday life in more ways than just through food. If you prefer a powdered drink, The SUPER ELIXIR by supermodel Elle Macpherson includes 45 premium all-plant ingredients, as well as pre and probiotics for optimal digestion and health. The Daily Dose packets by Dr. Frank Lipman include multivitamins, omega-3 fish oils and probiotics for everyday health. For those who would rather take pills, you’ll find a ton of options at the drugstore as well as your local market.