What food does your skin crave?

Nikkie Myles and Kathleen Bowers

by Nikkie Myles and Kathleen Bowers | August 17, 2010 @ 09:00AM

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Ten years from now, the condition of your skin will reflect how you cared for it today. Will you successfully fight off the effects of aging? Or will you look older than your years? Take our skin nutrition quiz to see how much you know about the care and feeding of healthy skin.

I am less likely to suffer from skin breakouts if I:

A. Drink 12 ounces of calcium-rich milk each day.
B. Consume Vitamin E-rich foods like unsalted nuts and seeds.
C. Substitute butter for margarine and other hydrogenated vegetable oils.

My dry skin can be neutralized by adding ________ to my diet.

A. citric acid
B. beef
C. flaxseed oil
D. red wine

The common "goose-bump rash" that sometimes takes over the upper arms is probably due to:

A. Eating too much chocolate.
B. Not eating colorful fruits and vegetables.
C. Not drinking enough water in the summer heat.
D. An allergic reaction to wheat products.

I can minimize my skin's damage from the sun:

A. By wearing sunscreen.
B. By eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
C. By spending more time indoors.
D. All of the above.

Smoking cigarettes will:

A. Make me look older.
B. Possibly lead to age spots.
C. Possibly enhance my skins ability to tan.
D. All of the above.

The itchy, inflammatory skin disease called Eczema:

A. Is usually a life-long problem.
B. Can often be resolved by changing dietary factors to avoid food allergies.
C. Makes you turn yellow if you eat bananas.
D. Can be improved by the topical application of butter.

Keeping hydrated is important for the skin, as well as the entire body. To make sure that my body is at a hydrated state, I:

A. Drink 5 to 6 glasses of water per day.
B. Try to drink smaller amounts throughout the day to avoid the actual feeling of "thirst."
C. Consume fresh, juicy fruits and vegetables.
D. All of the above.

Answers:

1. The correct answer is B: Consume Vitamin E-rich foods like unsalted nuts and seeds. The skin needs Vitamin E to maintain the proper moisture balance. If your diet is low in Vitamin E, you may have problems with dry or oily skin, as well as rashes, acne and other kinds of skin breakouts. The simple supplementation of Vitamin E-rich nuts and seeds may reverse the unappealing effects of this deficiency. Did you choose A or C? Studies indicate that breakouts are often an allergic (skin rash) reaction, and in many cases, this is caused by milk products. If you tend to eat a lot of yogurt, cheese and/or ice-cream, try cutting back and see if your skin improves.

2. The correct answer is C: flaxseed oil. Dry skin is a problem for many. A survey suggests that 90% of Americans are deficient in the essential fatty acids that help maintain the skin's moisture. While Americans tend to eat a lot of fat, most of it consists of refined, processed oils that do not benefit the skin. Flaxseed oil is an excellent moisturizer that works from the inside out!

3. The correct answer is B: Not eating colorful fruits and vegetables. Those funny little goose bumps are the result of hyperkeratosis (build-up of cellular debris in the hair follicles). This happens when you are not getting enough Vitamin A. Add color to your diet with green plants, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, apricots, and green peppers. In no time, those little bumps should disappear!

4. The correct answer is D: All of the above. We've all heard about sunscreen and sun-avoidance. But many people don't know that poor diet, drugs, smoking, and sun exposure all lead to toxic chemicals in the skin called free radicals. Free radicals cause aging and skin cancer. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables inactivate free radicals and make them harmless. Therefore, the effects of sun damage may also be reduced by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables!!

5. The correct answer is D: All of the above. Smoking cigarettes will lead to premature aging. Dermatologist Elizabeth Sherertz, M.D. notes that people who smoke are more likely to develop wrinkles because smoking damages the elastic tissue that keeps skin tight. Smoking also leads to age spots, a result of free radical damage to the entire body. And those free radicals will leave the skin weak and defenseless against the sun's harmful rays too.

6. The correct answer is B: Can often be resolved by changing dietary factors to avoid food allergies. Eczema can (in most cases) be cured by shifting dietary factors to avoid food allergies. Some researchers have concluded that perhaps 75% of the cases of childhood eczema could be resolved with the elimination of a particular food. Major culprits are cow's milk, eggs, tomatoes, food preservatives, and food colorings.

7. The correct answer is D: All of the above. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink at least five to six glasses of water, spread evenly throughout the day. It is good to sip on water even if you are not thirsty, because when you feel the sensation of "thirst," you are already dehydrated. And consuming juicy fresh fruits and vegetables will also help you maintain hydration.

Score Card Judge your score by how many questions you answered correctly. If you scored:

1-3: Your skin must be starving! Go straight to the grocery store and buy some healthy skin food!

4-5: Not bad. Keep up the good work, and your skin will thank you for it!!

6-7: Wow! Good job! Your skin must be flawless!

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