Can you guess what two foods wreak havoc? Read on to find out.
When we have ongoing skin diseases, there is a huge inflammation component. Think of it like a smoldering fire in your body. There are many causes of inflammation and food is a big one, which is why I believe we shouldn't eat a standard American diet. For many people, dairy and sugar make their skin diseases worse. The reason for this is that they are pro-inflammatory, meaning they create inflammation in our body when trying to digest them. Skin issues like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and hidradentitis suppuritiva all involve inflammation.
First let’s talk about dairy. As we age, we aren’t able to digest dairy products as well because we lack the enzymes needed to do so. Surprisingly, this starts happening when we are children.
Another issue causing inflammation is that dairy can cause leaky gut. This is where there are tiny holes in the lining of our gut that allow particles to escape and the immune system comes to attack them, thus increasing inflammation.
A third cause of inflammation from dairy is that it slows down the time it takes to move food along the digestive tract, leading to improper absorption of nutrients and constipation. The constipation keeps us from detoxing chemicals and hormones well.
The last reason dairy can cause inflammation that I want to address is that it can affect hormones. This can happen because cows are given antibiotics, which get in the milk and cause changes to our microbiome in our gut. Cows are also often given growth hormones which are passed along to our bodies when we digest them. This can change our own estrogen (a hormone) in our body as a response to that.
Now, on to sugar. When we eat it, our body has to make insulin to counteract that sugar intake. Insulin is pro-inflammatory and encourages inflammation, so we get more inflammation when we eat more sugar.
Sugar also affects our pH and makes our body too acidic, which stresses the body and immune system, thus causing more inflammation.
When consuming sugar, a process called glycation happens. This process breaks down collagen fibers, which are the scaffolding of our skin.
What can you use that actually tastes good if you are trying to decrease your use of milk and sugar?
My favorite milk alternatives are unsweetened hemp milk and almond milk. No, hemp milk isn’t marijuana and you aren’t going to get high. These do not taste like cow's milk so don’t go into it thinking they will. I really like using these in smoothies with some protein powder and fruit. It is best to look for brands with the least amount of other added ingredients or you can make your own. There are many other choices as well, like coconut milk, cashew milk, soy milk, and so on. I personally feel they are less nutritious than hemp or almond milk.
Substitutes to consider:
There are a lot of sugar alternatives out there and most of them are chemical-based and poor choices (ex- Sweet’n Low, Splenda, Equal). My preferred sugar substitutes are monk fruit, stevia (made from 100% organic stevia leaves with no filler ingredients), or you can use honey and pure maple syrup on occasion. The less sugar and sugar alternatives we include in our diet, the better for our health, as these aren't necessary nutrients.
Dairy and sugar increase inflammation in our body. Inflammation makes skin conditions worse. The goal is to find swaps that you enjoy and don't mind utilizing each day!
For more ways to help your skin, check out my FREE eBook, "The 3 Day Jumpstart to Loving Your Skin." Click the image below.
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