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Have you ever applied all sorts of expensive creams or cleansers and wondered why your skin continued to look unhealthy? That’s because healthy skin comes from the inside out. Remember, your skin is an organ, and like all organs, it benefits from a healthful, toxin-free diet. Here are some steps you can take toward a skin-cleansing diet.

Stay hydrated. You have probably heard about the importance of drinking water to stay healthy and cleanse the system, and that includes your skin. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, at least six 8oz. glasses a day. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to cleanse your liver – in traditional Chinese medicine, poor skin indicates an unhealthy liver.

Bring on the fats. For your skin to remain plump and supple, rubbing on moisturizers can help, but taking healthy fats into your system will have a deeper, healthier effect on your skin. Flax, olive and fish oils, as well as expeller-pressed cooking oils like safflower or canola, should be incorporated into the diet. Eat fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon at least once a week, but make sure it is from a reputable source so that you are not adding to your body’s toxic overload by eating fish that have lived in toxic waters.

Fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition to hydrating the body, fresh veggies and fruits provide vital skin-healthy nutrients, such as vitamins A, C and E and toxin-absorbing fiber. Many vegetables, such as tomatoes, contain antioxidants. Lightly steamed or raw are the ideal ways to consume these foods.

Nuts and seeds. These little gems include important blood-building nutrients like iron, and healthy circulation and blood are key to good skin health. Nuts and seeds also contain healthy fats, which, as noted above, keep the skin smooth and glowing.

Go organic. If you have not already, switch to organic foods. Your body needs to be as free from toxins as possible for your skin to be healthy, and organic food is not contaminated with synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers. These substances can also cause hormonal imbalances, which are strongly implicated in acne and other skin problems. This goes for produce as well as meats and dairy products. Speaking of dairy products…

Limit dairy products. Except for plain yogurt, you should sharply limit your dairy intake for healthier skin. Our modern dairy products are likely to contain hormones or antibiotics, and they contain animal fat which does not promote healthy skin.

Limit junk and fast foods. These “foods” are full of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and unhealthy fats. Cleanse your skin from the inside by eating whole, fresh foods instead.