Most of us consider the products we use on our skin to be the most important thing when it comes to a glowing complexion. And whilst this plays a fundamental role, it's actually much deeper than that. In fact what we eat really affects our skin health too and some nutrients found in specific foods actually directly benefit the skin whilst others have exactly the opposite effect. Good gut health is also intrinsic to this. Happy digestion = a happy face. So here's how to do it.
Nuts & seeds Vitamin E-rich foods such as almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds are an intrinsic part of good skin health since vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, protecting our skin from cell damage and promoting the regeneration of healthy skin cells. Brazil nuts are also an excellent source of selenium, important for skin health and just four of these bad boys per day will provide you with your daily recommended intake. And pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc which is intrinsic in regulating oil production.
Oily fish The healthy oils found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and pilchards make up all of our cell membranes which keep them supple and flexible. They are also a great source of Omega-3 (also found in flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts) which have important anti-inflammatory effects. If you don’t want wrinkles, up the ante on oily fish!
Avocados These are the king of beauty foods both internally and topically as they contain vitamin E but are also a great source of biotin which helps prevent dry skin and nourishes hair and nails. Avocados are also a source of vitamin A which has been linked to improving acne-related conditions and the glutamine content helps protect the skin from environmental factors.
Greens Kale, spinach, broccoli and rocket are nutrient powerhouses – they are super alkalising and bring the body into a more balanced PH. They are also a great source of antioxidant beta carotene helping to support radiant skin as well as promoting detoxification and minimising toxin build up. Brimming with folate and vitamin C, essential for cell regeneration and repair, you really just can’t get enough of these guys!
Hydration is key Skin membranes need to be well hydrated to keep them supple, in fact 60-75% of our body is made up of water. Aim for 2 litres per day and make water more interesting by adding slices of fresh lemon, fresh mint or cucumber. Caffeine and alcohol are dehydrating and age the skin so if you want to keep that youthful glow keep these to a minimum.
Sugar (aka the white stuff) All sugar has an inflammatory reaction in the body and increases acid PH levels which affects cellular functioning. Also those peaks in blood sugars lead to a higher production of insulin, damaging collagen and increasing wrinkles.
Refined & Processed foods This means those trans or hydrogenated fats. Anything white (except cauliflower) should be out. These nasty oils can deposit in the arteries affecting blood flow and circulation.
Dairy Dairy foods can be one of the most common offenders for creating skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. Just be wary of having too much in the diet and if you suspect you might have an intolerance try removing it and see if your symptoms improve. Swap with plant based milks such as almond, cashew or oat milk.
A note on beauty products… Be cautious of the toxins that are hidden in your beauty products as these can not only affect the skin topically but also contain hormone disrupters which can in turn affect a healthy complexion. For more info visit ewg.org/skindeep for a range of beautiful (and effective!) organic and natural versions.
from Harper's BAZAAR by Eve Kalinik / February 2014 (edited)