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Feed Your Face: Why Snacking Is Good for You

By Dr Jessica Wu

When I was growing up, we never had cookies or chips in the house, and I always associated snacking with unhealthy foods. After struggling with my own problem skin, and after years of helping patients battle various skin conditions, I discovered that regular snacking can actually be good for your skin and healthy for your body. Eating every few hours helps keep your blood glucose (sugar) stable, which means fewer breakouts, rashes, and wrinkles (glucose breaks down collagen). Skipping meals, on the other hand, makes your blood sugar drop, leaving you tired. Your metabolism also slows, which means your body starts storing fat. When you finally do eat, your blood sugar goes through the roof and your insulin level rises; this effect has been linked to more oil production and the release of androgens (male sex hormones).

But this doesn’t mean you should chow down on Cheetos! The best snacks contain fiber, protein, and healthy fats to help you maintain a steady blood sugar level and to satisfy you until your next meal. Here are some of my favorite face-friendly snack ideas:

Instead of pretzels and rice cakes (which break down quickly into glucose), try whole-grain pita chips (I like the ones made by Garden of Eatin'), or Mary’s Gone Crackers Sticks and Twigs, which are free of wheat and gluten. For protein, pair the chips with grilled chicken, sliced turkey, or hummus.

Instead of ice cream, try fresh strawberries drizzled with dark chocolate for a sweet treat. Dairy foods have been linked to acne and other inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Instead of candy from the vending machine or gas station, pack small bags of dried cherries and almonds. I know -- they may not seem as immediately satisfying as a Snickers bar. But you’ll look better and you won't feel guilty.

Do you have a favorite healthy snack? Please send me your ideas, and I’ll share the best ones!

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