If you spend a lot of money on skin creams to keep your face looking great, you could be wasting your money. That's because the foods you eat may be undermining all your efforts.
You probably already know that what you eat can have a dramatic impact on your health. But new evidence shows that they can have a huge impact on your looks as well. And I'm not just talking about your weight. Certain foods can cause your face to be puffy and bags to develop under your eyes.
All of these foods have one thing in common – they're all loaded with salt. And eating too much salt can do more than contribute to high blood pressure – a side effect you probably know about. It can cause your body to store water and become puffy. But it's not just your waist line where you'll feel it. Your eyes and face will become puffy after you eat a meal with a lot of salt. Your fingers may seem a bit bigger as well. Hint: if your rings suddenly feel tighter, you're eating enough salt to cause tissues to swell.
While most people think they can reduce the amount of salt they eat simply by pushing the salt shaker away, that's just not enough. You see, most of the salt you eat every day is already in the food. This is especially true if you eat pre-packaged food or eat out a lot. In fact, about 75% of the salt you eat comes from processed and restaurant food.
So how can you bring your salt intake down from the average of 3,400 mg to a more healthful 1,500 mg? One of the easiest things you can do is simply avoid these six foods: Bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, canned soup, and sandwiches.
While some of these may seem healthy, they're all loaded with salt. Chicken, for instance, can have an enormous amount of salt in it, depending on how you prepare it. Fried chicken is the biggest offender. But many restaurants load their chicken up with salt to make it taste good.
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I've talked about soup before, because one can of soup can have as much as 940 mg of salt. Campbell's soup knows this is a problem and came out with a low-sodium line of soups. But they don't taste very good. There are better low-sodium soups on the market, such as many of Amy's canned soups. In fact, Amy's has some low sodium frozen meals as well, so convenience foods can be healthful as well.
Lowering your salt intake can make a huge difference in how you look. It's obviously not all you need to do to take care of your skin, or to keep your blood pressure low, but it's definitely a great place to start. In addition to lowering your salt intake, taking supplements high in antioxidants and using natural skin care (such as Système 41) can really make a difference.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand