Feed your skin
Eat your way to a smooth complexion with our pick of the best foods to nourish your skin from within.
The top ten foods to brighten up your skin:
Like sardines, mackerel, fresh tuna (sadly the tinned stuff doesn’t count) and pilchards – are packed full of so-called ‘good’ fats known as essential fatty acids (EFAs), which can calm inflammation and keep your skin moisturised. So they’re especially great if you suffer from dry or sensitive skin and eczema. Eat it up to three times a week to feel and see the benefits. If you can’t stomach the taste, try fish oil supplements or flaxseed oil, if you’re a vegetarian.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are crammed with skin-enhancing nutrients vitamins A and E, which are antioxidants and protect your body and skin against pollution, as well as sun damage. Like oily fish, nuts and seeds are also rich in good fats to keep your complexion nourished and smooth. Add nuts, like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds or walnuts, to your breakfast cereal, salads or eat simply them as a snack.
This scaly skinned, green-fleshed fruit is loaded with loads of nutritional goodies to keep your skin looking great, including vitamin E and ‘good’ (yep, they’re not all bad for you) monounsaturated fats which keep your skin nourished. Mix avocado into salads or transform it in a guacamole with sour cream and fresh chilli, to banish dry skin.
Extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil is also blessed with the good fats and antioxidant vitamin E. Plus it has the added benefit of looking after your heart. It can be expensive but if possible use it in place of your regular cooking oil, drizzle on salads, pasta dishes and pizza.
They taste like sweets, but unlike pick ‘n’ mix, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are full of goodness for your skin and super-charged with the antioxidants vitamins C and E. Vitamin C is the great skin restorer; it helps produce natural collagen, which is vital for keeping the complexion plump and smooth. Eat them as a dessert, snack or on breakfast cereals.
Spinach, cabbage, kale and watercress
Leafy greens are a great source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, E and the mineral iron – essential for keeping your blood healthy and your skin bright. They’re also rich in B vitamins, so they also boost your energy (and your ‘glow’ factor). Try adding them to salads and sandwiches.
Mango, carrots, sweet potatoes and apricots
All contain beta-carotene which is crucial for your skin. Replace your regular baked potato with a sweet potato or try a thick, wholesome carrot and coriander soup. Got a sweet tooth? Whizz up a ripe mango with orange juice or plain yogurt for a healthy breakfast smoothie.
Healthy digestion is essential for the complexion – because if your body can’t get rid of waste efficiently, toxins will build up and show on your skin. Wholegrains, like in wholemeal bread and pasta, are packed with fibre for your digestion (which also means they keep you feeling full up), iron and vitamin B. Swap your usual processed ‘white’ carbs for wholegrain versions, such as granary bread in place of white sliced loaves and brown rice for your usual long-grain.
Live yogurts are crammed to bursting with good bacteria that keep your digestion and hence your skin, in tip-top health. Research shows that a daily intake can help eczema sufferers. Use in fruit smoothies, salad dressings and as an alternative to cream in desserts.
It’s bursting with antioxidants, called catechins, which are also said to fight viruses and slow ageing. It’s an acquired taste but try to have about one to two cups daily.
Skin enemies to avoid:
- Tanning – can cause aging and an uneven skin tone.
- Smoking – leads to a yellow-grey pallor, spots, and broken veins. It can exacerbate existing skin complaints like eczema and psoriasis and eventually results in wrinkles.
- Alcohol – Alcohol dehydrates the complexion and leaves you susceptible to fine lines and wrinkles. It also widens blood vessels, which in turn results in unsightly thread veins and a permanently flushed not-so peachy glow. Drinking water as well as alcohol on a night out will help.
- Stress – releases hormones which can make you spotty. Get a good night’s sleep by avoiding caffeine in the evenings, having a warm bath and a milky drink before you go to bed, spritzing your cushion with lavender essential oil, turning off the TV and reading yourself to sleep.
By Antonia Kanczula
Updated on 29-Sep-2015
Picture of girl with fruit over her eyes by Shutterstock.
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