caroline phelps her world cover

This is the cover I shot for a fashion magazine where 90% of my skin was ravaged by psoriasis. Thanks to Photoshop, my skin looks flawless.

I had to write a little something about the power of food and what it does to our skin, since I developed psoriasis in my mid twenties. It was a horrid experience of dealing with 90% of my body suddenly being covered with bumps of flaky, itchy red patches. The disorder took less than 48 hours to fully develop but took months to get rid of. I dealt with insomnia (my body itched constantly), depression and stares from people. I had to shoot a magazine cover wearing a sleeveless cocktail dress, where they photoshopped pretty much all parts of my body that were exposed. A store clerk dropped change in my hand afraid she was going to catch whatever she thought I might have. But instead of spending time feeling sorry for myself, I familiarized myself with the disorder and what it could be related to. I was ready to do anything to fight back and kick this disorder to the curb.

The more I read about it and the more I realized I needed to make some changes. My goal was to strengthen my immune system and lower stress by doing yoga daily. I quit smoking 7 years ago (yes unfortunately I used to light up quite a bit) and slowed down on drinking. I also added a lot more natural fatty acids and vegetables to my diet.As of now, there’s no cure for psoriasis and they don’t know what causes it. What’s known is that it’s an autoimmune disorder not always genetically related. Anyone can get it and unfortunately more people each year are developing it. That gave me a huge clue as to what might be causing this: Could it be stress? Too much stress weakens the immune system and causes your body a lot of damage. Psoriasis is common in people with weakened immune system such as AIDS, and I should also add that obesity, smoking and heavy drinking can worsen the disorder. I think all factors are pointing in the same direction: There’s only so much stress (be it emotional, psychological or physical) a person’s body can take before something goes awry.

I can tell you that it’s made a huge difference and that I haven’t had one single psoriasis patch in over 4 years. It’s possible I don’t have it any more since this disorder is known to appear and go into remission without any warning, but I now live knowing that it could come back in a blink of an eye, so why mess with a successful recipe?

Along my journey, I became really interested in the power of food. It made me realize that everything I put inside my body reflects on the outside (including emotions). It’s something I think about every day now and is implemented in our diet. Putting a little extra effort into chopping one more veggie or slicing a peach instead of reaching for the nearest opened bag of chips, makes the world a difference if done on a regular basis. Plus it makes cooking fun and interesting, and on a personal level makes me feel good to know I’m caring for myself and my husband in the best possible way. Here are some of the best foods to familiarize yourselves with that will help your skin to glow, minimize wrinkles, help prevent against certain cancers and slow down the aging process.

Tomatoes

 tomato

The lycopene found in tomatoes acts as a sun block. It helps rid the skin of free radicals caused by UV rays. The longer you cook them, the better and more powerful they’ll be.

Sweet Potatoes and carrots

SweetPotato

Packed with vitamin C, they stimulate the production of collagen and help minimize wrinkles. A recent study found that people who ate 4 mg (about 1/2 a small sweet potato) daily for 3 years diminished their wrinkles by 11 percent!
Spinach 

Spinach

A well-known cancer fighter, spinach helps maintain and repair DNA. People who eat more leafy greens have half as many skin tumors as those who don’t or eat little of, according to the International Journal of Cancer.


Safflower Oil

saff

Extremely beneficial for dry, flaky and itchy skin. This omega-6 fatty acid provider helps water penetrates the epidermis (the outermost part of the skin), therefore making an excellent moisturizer. This oil may also help people with severe eczema according to some scientists.


Canned Tuna

canned tuna

An excellent source of selenium, which helps preserve elastin so your skin stays tight and smooth.

Green Tea

green-tea

Very high in antioxidants, green tea is wonderful for protecting against free radicals (what causes premature aging and some cancers). Drinking moderately and slowly can also help hydrating your skin.

Dark Chocolate

dark-chocolate

The flavonoids in dark chocolate absorb UV light, improve the skin’s moisture and complexion.

Peppers

bell_peppers
According to Dr. Wu M.D, author of “Feed your Face”, women who eat lots of green and yellow vegetable regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes. This is because they’re packed with vitamin A, C, and reduce sensitivity from the sun. 2 cups a day is the recommended serving.

Soy

soy

Soy has a number of benefits for the skin: it helps diminish the appearance of wrinkles, pormotes the repairs of elastin fibers to keep skin firm, and can also help reversing signs of sun damage (blotchiness, fine lines, skin roughness).

Almonds

almonds

The type of vitamin E found in almonds can help with acne because it guards against free radicals (pollution for example). They can also help protect the skin from UV rays and sunburn.

Foods associated with skin damage:

Diet high in processed or refined carbohydrates as well as unhealthy fats.

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