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Ask Emily: food for your face: learn to eat right for healthy skin with Emily Ray.

Healthy diets equal healthy skin. Stuffing yourself with potato chips and sugary Sodas not only shows up around your middle but can show up through your skin, too. It's crucial to eat a varied diet to ensure that your body receives all the nutrients it needs. This issue, instead of offering skin care recipes, we will be discussing the important role food has on maintaining healthy skin.

Skin is the largest organ in the body, and it serves as a protective barrier. Waterproof, bacteria-resistant and self-repairing, our skin protects our internal organs from UV rays and harsh weather, helps us to maintain a constant body temperature and helps to eliminate toxins from the body. It's common knowledge that applying natural substances like Vitamin C and E to the skin can help repair broken or blemished skin and discourage--seven helps prevent--scarring. Recently, studies have shown that a diet lacking fruits and vegetables can cause wrinkling. Greasy foods have been linked to acne and excess sebum on the skin. Lack of balance in the diet equals lack of balance in the skin--makes sense, right?

Always one to do a little self-experimenting, I decided to try balancing my diet to see if this "balance rule" really works. I normally eat a pretty healthy diet. I enjoy fruits and vegetables quite a bit, don't eat many fried foods and drink gallons of water a week (especially in the Georgia heat). However, I am a total refined sugar lover and can always be found with something sweet in my pocketbook Consumption of excess sugar is where my diet was not balanced. So for the benefit of all my readers, I decided to completely eliminate all cookies, candies, and other sugary treats from the menu.

What a challenge! It has been more than one month and I have only slipped up once. Cake at a baby shower. It had pink frosting booties on it, and I could not resist. Aside from that party, I have been eating very healthily, making sure to eat lots of unrefined, unprocessed foods. I was a little skeptical about the "balance plan," figuring that high-priced facial washes and scrubs were undoubtedly doing more to keep my skin looking good than eliminating dessert, but I was wrong. (First time this has ever happened, I promise!) My skin has cleared up. Also, I feel better on the inside--less sluggish and tired. This makes me look better on the outside.

There aren't any beauty product recipes this issue. Instead, I encourage you to take a good look at your diet and see if there are any foods that you should be eating more--or less--of. Also take a good look at your skin, in a magnified mirror, if you have one. Look to see if your skin is dry or oily, clear or blemished, If you find that your diet lacks a whole food, such as full-fat milk, and your skin is dry, try gradually increasing your consumption of milk or milk products and monitor whether the skin becomes less dry and tight. Or, if you find your skin is very oily and blemished, try cutting back (or preferably, eliminating) fried or greasy foods. Keep in mind again that the skin helps to eliminate toxins from the body, so if your skin appears blemished, oily, dry, tight or in any way unbalanced, it is a reflection of what's going on inside your body. Changing your diet won't help your skin overnight. But with careful monitoring of what goes into your body, you will be able to change the health of your skin over time.

Despite the lack of beauty products, I am still giving you a list for this month's trip to the food market. Try the following fruits and vegetables. Experiment and find your own balance. Eat well.

Pomegranates: The ruby red seeds found inside this rough pink fruit are intensely sweet and tangy. Toss a handful of seeds in a spinach, walnut, and grated asiago salad. The juice, mixed with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, makes a wonderful and healthy dressing.

Dates: These Middle Eastern fruits are high in nutrients including protein, iron and potassium. Sweet and naturally packaged, they are one of Mother Nature's candy bars. For a slightly spicier treat, mix cream cheese and diced jalepenos and spoon into golden or burgundy colored dates.

Root vegetables: Carrots, red potatoes, a small rutabaga, and parsnip, chopped finely and baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes is a wonderful, fiber-packed side dish. Keep in mind that high fiber diets will help to detoxify the body by facilitating waste elimination.

Pumpkin: If you can resist carving this up to make a Halloween decoration, try roasted pumpkin with sea salt and garlic. Scoop out the pulp and seeds (save these for roasting later). Rub the inside of the pumpkin with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place a bruised garlic clove inside the pumpkin and roast at 325 degrees until tender. Remove garlic before eating.

Emily Ray, MNAHA, has been creating natural beauty products for five years. She is a freelance writer in Atlanta, GA. Have a beauty question you'd like answered in this new column? Feel free to contact Emily at
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Natural Beauty
Author:Ray, Emily
Publication:New Life Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2004
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