If you suffer from acne or have acne-prone skin, eczema, or psoriasis you’ve probably wondered how to clear up your skin a thousand times at least. There are plenty of different products on the market, you might’ve even tried a few of them by now. But let me tell you something that you may be missing, most of the time, in order to have clear skin you have to treat it from the inside out, meaning, you have to put the effort into your diet. You have to use good products, of course, but the main focus should be on the way you eat. Eating the right foods for your skin, like healthy fats, will help you with the skin issues you may suffer such as eczema, psoriasis, or acne, among others.
Eating healthy fats for good skin
Your body needs essential fatty acids (EFA) and they are necessary to have healthy skin. EFA like omega-3s and omega-6s are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes. These healthy fats also help produce the skin’s natural oil barrier and help keep the skin hydrated and younger-looking. If you’re not consuming enough EFAs through your diet, your skin may be swollen, dry, and prone to blackheads and whiteheads.
If you’re ready to boost your skin with these smart fats, you need to know that most diets are short on omega-3s and too rich in omega-6s. To have glowy and clear skin, it needs to be a balance between these two nutrients.
Autophagy: For Younger Skin
It’s been said that the best way to have clear youthful skin is by achieving autophagy.
We can defy autophagy as a “self-cleaning” process that clears out old, damaged cells and proteins to make room for new, healthy ones. The word comes from Greek. “Auto” means self and “phagy” means to eat, so literally it means “self-eating”.
Autophagy is an evolutionary self-preservation mechanism through which the body can remove dysfunctional cells and recycle parts of them for cellular repair and cleaning.
The process itself is quite good at strengthening the mitochondria, the part of your cells that creates energy. The process of autophagy helps keep your mitochondria running smoothly, especially in the brain, so your cells can produce more energy to keep fueling your body and you feel better because of it.
Benefits of Autophagy
Autophagy has a lot of benefits. However, one of its main benefits is its anti-aging principles. In fact, it is the body’s way of turning the clock back and creating younger cells.
Other benefits that come with autophagy are:
- Promoting clear and younger, glowing skin
- Blood sugar control
- Removing toxic proteins from the cells that are attributed to neurodegenerative diseases
- Recycling residual proteins
- Prompts regeneration and healthy cells
How to Achieve Autophagy?
There are a few different ways you can achieve autophagy and give your cells a good cleaning.
Intermittent fasting is the most known way to trigger autophagy. Going for 14 hours or more without eating causes short-term, reversible nutrient deprivation, which puts mild stress on your body, and your cells respond by becoming more efficient by turning on autophagy pathways and clearing out waste. Fasting is especially good for brain cells. Fasting not only reboots the gut microbiome, which helps and improves skin health (and overall health), but it also stimulates autophagy.
You have to know that fasting isn’t for everybody, so first, you need to try if it’s for you. So, if you want to incorporate intermittent fasting into your life, you must eat all your meals in a shortened eating window and consume no calories outside that time. There are many ways to practice intermittent fasting so try a couple of different ways to see which one works best for you (learn more about it here). The most commonly followed is 16:8. That means that you have to eat all your meals within 8 hours and then fast for 16.
Besides fasting, the ketogenic diet is one of the most effective ways to trigger autophagy. A low-carb high-fat diet like the keto diet brings the same benefits of fasting, without fasting. By not overwhelming the body with an external load, it gives the body a break to focus on its own health and repair.
As you know, in the keto diet, you get about 75 percent of your daily calories from fat and only 5 to 10 percent of your total calories from carbs. Diets high in sugar and carbs cause inflammation which leads to skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis given the glucose spikes. Therefore, this shift in calorie sources causes your body to shift its metabolic pathways and use fat for fuel instead of the glucose from the carbohydrates. When this happens, your body will start producing ketone bodies that have several protective effects. When the body is in ketosis, it brings the positive stress that wakes up the survival repairing mode in our cells.
A good workout and sweat session will also activate your body’s autophagy pathways. Intense exercise may be one of the best ways to turn on autophagy.
Autophagy from intense exercise may also increase growth factors that help speed up the muscle repair process. So, if you don’t do it already, add to your workouts a weekly HIIT (high-intensity interval training) session or a sprints session to benefit from it. Now, keep in mind that this is a slow process, so don’t expect to see the results the same day, but expect them in time.
As if coffee wasn’t great enough already, it also triggers autophagy. And wait, there’s more, decaf coffee works as well! This is due to the great amount and rich variety of antioxidants that you can find in coffee that drive its autophagy benefits.
Fats and autophany are your skin’s best friends. A combination of both can help you achieve great things and make your skin get a rejuvenated look at any age. Going to give it a try?
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