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You Are What You Eat


By: Howard Murad, MD
Posted: August 26, 2009, from the September 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Editor's note: Skin Inc. magazine recommends that all clients check with their physicians before incorporating any dietary changes.

It’s not a myth—people are definitely comprised of the elements that they eat, which are absorbed into the bloodstream and feed every cell. Each month, people renew their skin, every six weeks they have a new liver, and every three months they have new bones. In order to renew and rebuild these organs and tissues, it is important to supply the body with the materials that have been lost as a result of constant use, degeneration and aging.

The problem is that human bodies are not getting enough nutrients to keep cells fed. The Standard American Diet (SAD)—an acronym that is most appropriate—is grossly inadequate and almost devoid of many nutrients. Americans are overfed and undernourished. Adding to the problem, many drugs interfere with the absorption of key nutrients. For example, tetracycline interferes with calcium, magnesium and iron absorption, and many antibiotics interfere with the absorption of B vitamins, while oral contraceptives and hormones reduce levels of water-soluble vitamins.

It has been well documented in scientific literature that nutrition can play a key role in skin health. In relation to skin disease and aging, the bad news is that poor nutrition can accelerate skin degeneration. The good news, however, is that a healthful diet that is complete with optimal nutrition can help forestall, prevent and even reverse skin conditions. Knowing this, it becomes clear that if you add an optimal nutrition plan to every skin care regimen, your clients can literally eat their way to healthier skin while they promote their total well-being.

What to eat

Nutritionists commonly advise people to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day. Whenever possible, they should be eaten raw. If they are cooked, they should be steamed to retain nutrients, or else lightly boiled. Even better, waterless cooking in the microwave preserves the most nutrients. Although many believe that organic foods are best, they may not always be available or cost-effective. In any case, there are 12 foods that should always be purchased as organic and 12 others that don’t have to be, says The Environmental Working Group (EWG).1