If you’re guilty of drinking more coffee than recommended, adding a little too much salt to your meals or devouring more chocolate than you should, perhaps a little vanity will be the impetus to break the habit?

Foods laden with fats, sugars, additives and preservatives, may be bad for your hips but now health experts say they are also detrimental to your looks.

Today, we take a look at some of the nasties — and offer some great healthy alternatives.

Soft drinks

“Non-diet soft drinks are sugar city, so when you’re putting a lot of sugar in the body you could potentially be increasing the risk of poor skin, ” says Revitalise dietitian and nutritionist Jo Beer.

The bigger issue is what the soft drink is replacing.

“Soft drinks are not going to hydrate you, in fact they are going to do the opposite, ” she says. “Good skin is about being well hydrated because hydrated skin means all those small wrinkles are filled in. If you replace water in your diet with soft drink, you’re not going to be well hydrated.”


We all want to hear that chocolate is good for us but the truth is some scientists believe too much chocolate will lead to skin eruptions.

Ms Beer says the best advice is to eat in moderation and improve the quality of the chocolate you’re eating.

“If you’re going to have it, make sure you’re choosing a good one, opt for a dark 75 or 80 per cent chocolate because this is going to have a lot of antioxidants. Otherwise, it’s all about how much you’re having. A few squares aren’t going to hurt.”

Chocolate is also a culprit for triggering rosacea, along with spicy sauces, tomatoes, wine and citrus, Ms Beer says.


Give salt the flick. “It’s already everywhere and in everything, ” Ms Beer says. “We get it from processed foods, breads, cereals, grains, meat and fish. There is ample to suit our daily requirements.

“Adding salt and having a diet with lots of high-salt foods, is always going to be bad for the skin because it causes dehydration. It also makes us thirsty and we may not make good drink choices.”

Salt can also cause puffy eyes and water retention.

Fried Foods

While one cooked greasy breakfast isn’t likely to show on your face, a regular diet of fast foods will impact on your skin.

“It could potentially increase your breakouts and spots, particularly if you’re already prone to having issues with your skin, such as people who have rosacea and acne. It will exaggerate what’s already an issue.”


If you’re wondering how alcohol might affect your looks, start by downloading the free Drinking Mirror app. Released by Healthier Scotland, this app is designed to show you how heavy drinking will affect your face over the next 10 years. It’s not a pretty sight.

If that’s not scary enough, alcohol has also been linked to malnutrition, folate deficiency and vitamin A depletion, according to the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Ms Beer says alcohol is a dehydrator and it can also cause you to make poor food decisions.


While some studies show small amounts of coffee can have antioxidant benefits, other research reveals heavy coffee consumption can impair the body’s ability to absorb nutrition from the food we eat.

“Caffeine also impacts on your sleep, which can cause dark circles around the eyes, ” Jo Beer says.


•Supermarket bread for preservative-free bread from bakeries such as Brumby’s or Bakers Delight.

•Soft drink for mineral or sparkling water.

•Generic milk chocolate for a couple of squares of good-quality 75-80 per cent.

•Chips for pretzels

•Sugary cereals for rolled oats

Courtesy of the Food Intolerance Network.


Fish: Inflammation in the body is one cause of acne.

“Omega-3 oils found in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are anti-inflammatory, ” dietitian Jo Beer says. “Aim to eat these foods at least three times a week. If you aren’t a fan of fish then increase your intake of seeds such as linseed, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin or take a fish oil capsule daily.”

Zinc, also found in seafood, is another powerful tool for reducing inflammation and tackling issues such as acne or eczema. “Increase your intake of seafood, especially oysters, and beans, pulses, nuts and seeds, ” Ms Beer says.

Fruit and veg: If you’re not having enough fruit and vegetables, you may be at risk of iron deficiency.

“If you’re getting plenty of sleep and it’s not hereditary, dark circles under the eyes are a indicator you could be iron deficient, ” Ms Beer says.

Certain fruits and vegetables are powerful when it comes to healing damage caused to skin through bad diet. “Try to include more red and purple fruit and vegetables such as berries, capsicum, sweet potato, plums and papaya, ” Ms Beer says. “These are high in skin-healing antioxidants as well as vitamin C, essential for the manufacture of collagen that makes the skin strong and healthy.”

It’s advisable to boost your intake of vitamin A from carrots, watercress, apricots, mangoes and melons.

“Selenium and vitamin E are excellent for hair and skin, ” Ms Beer says. “Try adding tomatoes, seeds, spinach, Brazil nuts and whole-wheat cereals to your weekly food intake.”


© The West Australian

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