The foundation to a flawless wedding day beauty look? Perfect skin. To help ensure you look picture perfect when you say "I Do," we spoke to Dr. Nicholas Perricone, or as we like to call him, the glowing skin-care guru.
We're devotees of his namesake skin-care line, and he's published nine books on the importance of diet to achieving gorgeous skin. Here, he shares what you should (and shouldn't) be eating and drinking to get a luminous glow just in time for your wedding.
Brides: In a perfect world, if brides-to-be could eat and drink only the most beautifying skin foods, what would their diet look like?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Follow the anti-inflammatory diet, which consists of food and beverages that help maintain normal levels of insulin and blood sugar. Go for high-quality protein, such as fish, shellfish, poultry and tofu. Salmon, halibut, trout and other cold water fish give skin a great glow, as does taking at least three capsules of omega-3 fish oil supplements per day. Stick to low-glycemic carbohydrates such as colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Don't go fat free — that will ensure a dull, dry complexion — but eat healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds and olive oil. Drink antioxidant-rich beverages such as green tea and six to eight glasses of pure spring water per day.
Brides: So the eight-glasses-of-water rule really is true, then?
DNP: Six to eight. Water maintains moisture in the body, naturally suppresses the appetite and helps the body metabolize stored fat. An increase in water intake reduces fat deposits and vice versa.
Brides: How far from the wedding date should a bride start her glowing skin diet?
DNP: The earlier you start the better you'll look! For at least a week before the big day, avoid all sugary, starchy foods and follow the anti-inflammatory diet guidelines.
Brides: If busy brides can't follow this plan to a T, is sugar the most important thing to avoid?
DNP: Sugar, anything processed, baked goods, sodas and juices make skin look dull and pasty. If you crave something sweet besides fresh fruit, choose dark chocolate that's at least 70 percent cocoa. Pure, unsweetened cocoa powder that's not Dutch processed is the best way to get the benefits. Sprinkle it on yogurt and berries or try Mexican mole sauce if you want chocolate during the main course.
__Brides: Is juice cleansing another way to get wedding-ready skin? __
DNP: It's better to eat the fruit or vegetable, but smoothies made with fresh vegetables are great sources of nutrients, especially when combined with Green Magma, which is the powdered juice of young green barley. It gives you the probiotics and antioxidants that strengthen the skin. Green foods are also powerful detoxifying agents.
Brides: True or false: Green apples are better for your skin than red?
DNP: Green apples have less sugar and more antioxidants. But both green and red apple consumption is associated with increased weight loss. Quercetin, a fortifying flavonoid found in apples, calms sensitive skin. Choose organic apples so you can eat the skin, which is where many nutrients are found.
Brides: Is there anything brides can do lifestyle wise to supplement an anti-inflammatory diet?
DNP: Exercise will help. Studies have shown athletes' skin is thicker; it has more and healthier collagen. Also, when we work up a good sweat, we cleanse the skin of environmental toxins. I recommend aerobic exercise and some kind of resistance training such as Pilates, yoga or light weights. One of the best-kept anti-aging secrets is a good night's sleep. It's during those precious hours that our cells repair damage and one of the best friends a glowing, youthful complexion can have.