FOODS AND SKIN: what you eat affects your skin


Processed meats such as bacon or hotdogs contain high levels of nitrates and sodium, both of which can damage the skin.
Nitrates are known to cause inflammation and wrinkles, while a sodium imbalance (usually caused by eating too much salt) can cause premature ageing, dryness and destroy collagen strands in the skin.

Foods to eat on the low GI diet
There’s no need to count calories or track your protein, fat, or carbs on the low GI diet.

Instead, the low GI diet involves swapping high GI foods for low GI alternatives.

There are plenty of healthy and nutritious foods to choose from. You should build your diet around the following low GI foods:

Bread: whole grain, multigrain, rye, sourdough
Breakfast cereals: steel cut oats, bran flakes
Fruit: apples, strawberries, apricots, peaches, plums, pears, kiwi, tomatoes, and more
Vegetables: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, and more
Starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes with an orange flesh, corn, yams, winter squash
Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, baked beans, butter beans, kidney beans, and more
Pasta and noodles: pasta, soba noodles, vermicelli noodles, rice noodles
Rice: basmati, Doongara, long grain, brown
Grains: quinoa, barley, pearl couscous, buckwheat, freekeh, semolina
Dairy and dairy replacements: milk, cheese, yogurt, coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk
The following foods contain few or no carbs and therefore don’t have a GI value. These foods can be included as part of the low GI diet:

Fish and seafood: including salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, and prawns
Other animal products: including beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and eggs
Nuts: such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, and macadamia nuts
Fats and oils: including olive oil, butter, and avocado
Herbs and spices: such as garlic, basil, dill, salt, and pepper

A sample low GI menu for 1 week
This sample menu shows what 1 week on the low GI diet might look like. It even includes a few recipes from the Glycemic Index Foundation.

Feel free to adjust this or add low GI snacks based on your own needs and preferences.


Breakfast: oatmeal made with rolled oats, milk, pumpkin seeds, and chopped, fresh, low GI fruit
Lunch: chicken sandwich on whole grain bread, served with a salad
Dinner: beef stir-fry with vegetables, served with long grain rice

Breakfast: whole grain toast with avocado, tomato, and smoked salmon
Lunch: minestrone soup with a slice of whole grain bread
Dinner: grilled fish served with steamed broccoli and green beans

Breakfast: omelet with mushrooms, spinach, tomato, and cheese
Lunch: salmon, ricotta, and quinoa cups with a salad
Dinner: homemade pizzas made with whole wheat bread

Breakfast: smoothie with berries, milk, Greek yogurt, and cinnamon
Lunch: chicken pasta salad made with whole wheat pasta
Dinner: homemade burgers with beef patties and vegetables on whole wheat rolls

Breakfast: fruity quinoa porridge with apple and cinnamon
Lunch: toasted tuna salad sandwich on whole wheat bread
Dinner: chicken and chickpea curry with basmati rice

Breakfast: eggs with smoked salmon and tomatoes on whole grain toast
Lunch: whole grain wrap with egg and lettuce
Dinner: grilled lamb chops with greens and mashed pumpkin

Breakfast: buckwheat pancakes with berries
Lunch: brown rice and tuna salad
Dinner: beef meatballs served with vegetables and brown rice

Healthy low GI snacks
If you find yourself hungry between meals, here are a few healthy low GI snack ideas:

a handful of unsalted nuts
a piece of fruit with nut butter
carrot sticks with hummus
a cup of berries or grapes served with a few cubes of cheese
Greek yogurt with sliced almonds
apple slices with almond butter or peanut butter
a hard-boiled egg
low GI leftovers from the night before

The low glycemic (low GI) diet involves swapping high GI foods for low GI alternatives.

It has a number of potential health benefits, including reducing blood sugar levels, aiding weight loss, and lowering your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

However, the diet also has multiple drawbacks.

At the end of the day, it’s important to consume a healthy, balanced diet based on a variety of whole and unprocessed foods, regardless of their GI.

There is a growing body of research that proves the link between diet and skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis.
In particular, a number of studies show that cow’s milk and other dairy products made from cow’s milk elevate insulin levels. In turn, this increases circulating cortisol levels that bind to sebaceous glands, cranking up sebum production in some people. This can directly contribute to acne.

Plant-based milks and other dairy-free milk substitutes are kinder to your skin.

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it draws liquid from the body and can cause dehydration. This can dry out your skin and speed up the skin’s ageing process, leading to premature fine lines and wrinkles.

Most experts agree that moderate alcohol use for healthy adults is generally fine. This is classed as up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.

Examples of one drink include:
Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 millilitres)
Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 millilitres)
Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 millilitres)

Heavier alcohol use, however, can impact more than just your skin health.

5. SOY
Phytoestrogens are plant-derived chemicals found in a wide variety of foods, notably soy (e.g. products such as tofu, soy milk and soy protein).

Although some research has found that phytoestrogens can lower the risk of developing osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer or menopausal symptoms, there is also growing concern that these benefits may have been overestimated.

Newer research suggests that phytoestrogens disrupt the endocrine system, upsetting the balance of oestrogen and androgens (male hormones) in the body. This can lead to hormone-related problems such as reduced fertility, early puberty and cancers of the reproductive systems.

In terms of skin health, eating soy products may contribute to acne.

Soy has also been shown to cause inflammation and inhibit the absorption of vital vitamins and minerals, which can contribute to acne breakouts and other skin problems.


What Is the Glycemic Index?

The importance of balanced sodium for healthy, hydrated skin