If there’s one thing we’ve learned from rom-coms, it’s that there is nothing quite as magical as your wedding day. But we’ve also seen Bridesmaids, so we can realistically say that wedding planning may be a one-way ticket to stress city. Not only will stress affect your mood, weight, and sleep patterns, but it can also wreak havoc on your skin (a.k.a. exactly what a bride and groom want to avoid on the big day).
So if you're tying the knot or want to look good at your best friend's wedding and hoping for that dewy look, check out these common questions and beliefs about how food affects your glow and get the low-down on the best foods to eat for skin health.
Does eating chocolate really cause teenage zits?
We are sad to say that some research does point to the fact that eating too much chocolate may increase your likelihood of developing pimples, even more so than eating jelly beans. If you’re a milk chocolate lover, it may be bad-news-bears for you. A recent study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that a diet rich in sugar-packed foods is linked to acne.
In other words, stress-eating chocolate is probably not the best idea. If you must have your daily chocolate fix, reach for the dark stuff, which typically contains way less sugar than milk chocolate.
Can dairy cause acne?
Milk does a body good, right? Well, it’s a long-held belief that dairy is one of the main causes of acne. Interestingly, one study found that teenagers who report having more acne actually eat more dairy than those who don’t get pimples. That begs the question: Is dairy causing the acne or is it mere coincidence? The jury is still out so don't put down your yogurt just yet.
Will eating collagen reduce wrinkles?
Although the research is in the early stages, the answer is likely yes. Collagen is the main component in skin tissue, but only in recent years have people have started to ingest it so readily in powder form (News flash: It's been around for ages. If you eat homemade chicken noodle soup, you're consuming collagen.) Several studies show improved skin elasticity and reduced formation of wrinkles after taking collagen supplements for six weeks.
Do fried foods make my skin greasy?
Truth bomb—eating fried foods in the months/weeks leading up to your wedding is a bad idea for a multitude of reasons. For one, it can cause weight gain and inflammation. Unfortunately, that same inflammation that causes aching in your joints may also cause monster pimples. Plus, scientists believe that eating too many omega-6 fats found in many frying oils will also increase inflammation in the skin and cause unwanted zits.
The Best Foods to Eat for Your Skin
Now that we’ve convinced you that food can do so much more than affect your waistline, let’s chat about the best things to include in your diet to have radiant skin.
1. Sunflower Seeds
A recent review suggests that eating a combination of vitamins E and C may protect the skin against UV damage. A tasty source of vitamin E is crunchy roasted sunflower seeds. Combine them with spinach, which is rich in vitamin C, for a skin-boosting side salad.
By now, you likely know that omega-3 fatty acids are the bomb. Not only do they protect from cancer and heart disease and boost brain power, but research suggests they are also good for the skin. These powerful nutrients are most commonly found in fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, or mackerel. Besides being a super-tasty and simple dinner, omega-3-containing salmon may also play a role in the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer.
3. Olive Oil
Want another reason to move to Italy and partake in the Mediterranean diet all year round? Research suggests that including olive oil in your diet can ward off the signs of skin aging. If you’re not ready to uproot to the Mediterranean just yet, you can add olive oil to any dish. Or maybe just honeymoon there?
Studies suggest lycopene in tomatoes may protect against the sun’s harsh UV rays. That doesn’t mean you should forego your daily sunscreen though! Lycopene is more prevalent in processed tomatoes, like tomato paste or cooked tomato sauce, so feel free to throw a pasta night with your bridal party.
5. Green Tea
Not only will sipping on a glass of warm green tea make you feel zen (for about five minutes), it might also soothe your skin. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who drank a beverage with green tea polyphenols every day for 12 weeks had smoother skin and less sun damage than those who didn’t. Scientists believe the antioxidants in the tea boost blood flow, oxygen, and nutrient delivery to the skin.
6. Red Bell Peppers
Research shows that a higher intake of vitamin C is associated with fewer incidences of wrinkles. With 95 milligrams of vitamin C (or 150 percent of your daily value) in just a 1/2 cup, these sweet peppers are totally worth adding to your omelet, salad, or stir-fry.
If you’ve ever gone to bed after a long night of drinking and woken up with cracked lips, you’ve experienced the havoc that dehydration can wreak on your skin. Obviously, staying properly hydrated contributes to the healthiness of your skin. Shocker (not really)!
Foods to Apply Directly on Your Skin
8. Orange Peel
The peel of an orange contains a little-known antioxidant called hesperidin. Research in animals suggests applying orange peel directly to the skin may treat some inflammation. Although the research has not been performed on humans yet, it probably smells refreshing and will bring some tranquility to your day, so why not try it?
Not going to lie, I saw this trick on an episode of Queer Eye. But the research does actually show that honey has microbial properties so putting it on your skin may fight off bad bacteria that can cause pimples. It’s not 100-percent proven, but if Jonathan says it works, we believe him.
The Bottom Line
Some foods will do wonder for your skin. But downing sunflower seeds, red peppers, and water won’t give you glowing skin if you’re drinking your cares away, smoking a pack a day, eating fried food, or not sleeping enough. It’s all about balancing the good with the bad, with just a little more good. Enjoy foods that make you feel good. If you stress too much about eating for your skin, well, we all know what stress can do.