The key to healthy, youthful skin isn’t what you put on your face, but what you put on your plate. Beauty really does come from the inside out. The skin is our largest organ and it’s the first to reflect unhealthy food choices, pollution, stress, sun damage, alcohol and smoking.
Our skin cells are constantly in a state of renewal and this replenishment is dependent on a constant stream of nutrients to ensure proper collagen formation. We also need a good stream of antioxidants to counteract free radical damage – a major cause of ageing and wrinkles.
The most important factor to healthy skin is hydration. Think about it, the only difference between a plum and a prune is hydration. Your skin is 64% water and dehydration makes skin appear duller and wrinkles and pores more prominent. Aim for 2 litres spread throughout the day and once you’ve got your hydration sorted, eating the foods from the list below will help ensure radiant skin.
Eat oily fish, studies have shown that people who eat diets high in fish have less skin wrinkling. Premature ageing is rooted in inflammation that causes havoc with collagen. Anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fats can slow this process down helping us maintain a healthy rate of skin cell renewal. The best sources of oily fish are salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, anchovies and sardines. You can also opt for a good quality Omega 3 supplement.
Drink green tea. Swap dehydrating coffee with 3-5 cups of green tea a day to fully reap the benefits for your skin. Green tea is packed with antioxidants. The more antioxidants you have in your body, the more your skin will glow and be wrinkle-free. Adding citrus juice to green tea can boost the antioxidant levels four-fold.
A handful of berries are super protective to the skin cells. They are a great source of Vitamin C that’s essential to the production of collagen, the elastic tissue in the skin that keeps it smooth, plump and firm. Collagen is the main victim of free radical damage in skin and berries are loaded with antioxidants that attach themselves to free radicals and neutralize them so they can’t do damage.
Carrots and other orange foods (think pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes and greens such as spinach) are rich in beta carotene, the plant form of vitamin A. This nutrient is key to preventing wrinkles and allowing proper moisture retention in the skin. Beta carotene is better absorbed when food is lightly cooked and in the presence of some fat so try warming some grated carrots with a drizzle of olive oil or enjoying a comforting squash and coconut soup.
Nuts and seeds contain abundant nutrients for keeping skin radiant. They’re a great source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps the skin retain moisture and prevents premature ageing. They’re also a valuable source of zinc, vital for making collagen. The essential fats in nuts and seeds act as a natural moisturizer for your skin, keeping it supple. We suggest sprinkling seeds into porridge or smoothies and having nuts or nut butter for snacks.
Cucumber is rich in silica, a vital component of collagen. Silica helps to firm up sagging skin as it’s needed for rebuilding and regenerating skin cells, ensuring healthy, younger looking skin. Cucumbers are also great for hydration thanks to their high water content. On a practical note, most of the silica in cucumbers is in the skin so don’t peel them. We like to use cucumbers in skin-loving smoothies paired with watercress, avocado and lime which gives healthy doses of silica, vitamin C, essential fats and beta carotene. Other good sources of silica include oats, brown rice, bananas, mangoes and spinach.
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