Mardi Gras Fare's Effect on Your Skin

| by Larissa Tater, under Skincare and Beauty

Mardi Gras (translated as Fat Tuesday in French) is upon us! It’s your last night to eat whatever you want before your Lenten season fast! It’s time to go wild and let your healthy eating habits go to the wayside for just one day, because tomorrow, you’ll be wishing you hadn’t given up those M&Ms.

But not so fast. All of that rich, fatty food can really wreck your skin! We’re not talking about fatty food as your average weight problem, but fatty food as your overall skin problem as a reflection of your overall health problem.

A variety of factors affect your skin’s health, including eating a balanced, healthy diet, which you will not be getting with your traditional Mardi Gras fare.

Glycemic Index
To begin, all of those beignets will shoot your blood sugar through the roof. Foods with a high Glycemic Index elevate your blood sugar, causing your pancreas to release insulin to stabilize the spike. The release of so much insulin at one time causes what is likened to inflammation throughout the body. Enzymes produced by the inflammation breaks down collagen and elastin, which results in saggy skin and wrinkles.

While research does not demonstrate that a diet of high-glycemic foods causes acne, it may influence or aggravate it. Low glycemic index foods, on the other hand, release sugar into the body gradually, keeping your sugar levels stable. Understanding the Glycemic Index will help you make the right choices for your skin and your health.

Essential Fatty Acids
Fats within your food also affect the health of your skin. Our skin requires a balance of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) omega-3 and omega-6; however, we tend to eat more of one than the other. Omega-3 fats can be found in salmon, mackerel, flax, safflower oil, walnuts, sardines, soy, and fortified eggs, while omega-6 fats can be found in baked goods, cooking oils, poultry, and grains. Balance these fats, and you’ll be on the road to better skin health.

The most important thing that you can do for your skin is create balance in your eating habits and in your life. When the mantra "you are what you eat" could never be more true, make sure that you’re getting your recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Eat frequent, balanced meals that include a combination of low-glycemic, high protein foods every three hours. Keep your stress to a minimum through yoga, meditation, and massage; and make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Facials each month, or as the seasons change each year, will also help reduce the impact of sun exposure, smoking, other environmental factors, and incorrect product use, all of which take a toil on your skin.

Be safe out there during Mardi Gras, and remember - you are what you eat, both inside and out! 

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