Remember when your mom told you not to eat that chocolate bar because you’d get pimples? “Urban myth,” says Healing Roots Natural Medicines Dr. Erika Enos. “Chocolate can actually be great for the hydration of the skin.” Enos, a Colorado-registered naturopathic doctor practicing in Denver, specializes in remedying acne, eczema, psoriasis, mystery rashes, and other conditions through natural medicine, diet, and herbs. It’s an inside-out approach you can use to supplement all of those lotions and potions you hope will make you look younger and healthier. Some of her nutrition tips—Eat chocolate? Add fat?—may surprise you, and your mom!
A little caffeine goes a long way.
“In Colorado, we need to make sure the skin has moisture. Caffeine can definitely cause the skin to be drier, but some forms, especially green tea, have a lot of antioxidants, which are good for protecting against aging and sun damage. Have your 10 or 12 ounces of coffee or green tea, and make sure you’re well-hydrated.”
Don’t skimp on the A
“People who are Vitamin A-deficient—and many people are—have rougher, drier skin, or those little red bumps that people sometimes get on the back of their arms, which are called hyperkeratosis pilaris.” To mainline A, skip the carrots and sweet potatoes, which have only a precursor to Vitamin A, and go straight for the cod liver oil, liver, and egg yolks. “This also helps with oil production in your skin by inhibiting sebaceous gland activity, and it modulates hormones, especially testosterone, that can cause acne.”
A is also for antioxidants
Here’s a daunting challenge: Seven to 10 vegetable servings and one to three fruit servings, every day! “I tell people to get those in before they start adding in grains and beans and other things.” Best veggies, says Dr. Enos: artichoke hearts, garlic, spinach, cilantro. Best fruits: all berries, especially wild blueberries.
Fat’s where it’s at
“As long as it’s a healthy fat it’s going to be good for your skin, because it’s a great way to retain moisture.” That includes salmon and other deep-water fish, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter. Avoid the industrial seed oils in clear containers the grocery store stocks.
Help your hormones
Brassica vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and cabbage) help your liver to process and eliminate the hormones that might be to blame for that late-life reunion with acne. Replacing processed foods with more fermented foods and fiber can help balance hormones.
C is for collagen
“Vitamin C is really good for wound healing and for collagen production, and collagen helps skin look younger, plumper, and healthier. Good sources are oranges, kiwi, and red bell peppers.” To mainline collagen, try bone broth. You can buy it or make it, then refrigerate it: If it thickens and becomes gelatinous, it’s a good one for your skin.
Healing Roots Natural Medicine
840 26th St.