Eat your way to perfect skin Skin food for a natural glow

We spend millions on face creams every year in our attempts to preserve youthful-

lookiSKIN long2ng skin and promote that elusive natural glow.

The truth is expensive preparations are a waste of money if your skin is suffering from poor nutrition.

Perfect skin comes from within. Fact.

change in diet can significantly improve many skin conditions and give you the healthy, natural glow you’re looking for.

About skin

Skin is the largest organ in the body.

• It helps with detoxification – oils and sweat move debris to the skin surface
• It acts as a barrier to germs, chemicals and the environment
• It regenerates quickly – minor wounds are barely visible within a week and the entire top layer of skin should renew itself every 5-7 weeks

Natural ways to glowing skin

Make a few nutritional changes in the early spring and they will pay dividends well before the summer is in full swing.

Skin-loving smoothie

Healthy smoothie with oranges, mano and almonds

1. Support collagen formation

Collagen is what gives skin its strength, elasticity and a healthy, plumped-up look. It is found in the layer beneath the epidermis.

Instead of buying expensive collagen creams that sit on the skin’s surface, try giving your body the inexpensive nutrients it needs to make new collagen.

Vitamin C, the amino acid cysteine and water help to form healthy collagen. So make sure you get lots of:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Water

 

 

2. Protect your skin from damage

Free radicals, for example from UV rays or smoking, raise the risk of skin cancer, unsightly age spots, and wrinkles.

But what you eat can help to protect the skin from free radical damage. The nutrients zinc,selenium and vitamins A, C and E act as antioxidants in the body. So foods for healthy skin are:

  • Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables
  • Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Shellfish

Other phytonutrients can also act as antioxidants. So eat:

The carotenes in carrots also work in other ways to help give your skin a natural glow. Take a look at Food Focus on Carrots
  • Orange vegetables for the carotenes.

 

 

 

 

To boost phytonutrients, try these recipes:
– Sautéed spinach with shallots
– Carrot and sweet potato mash
– Carrot and coriander soup
– Chocolate-covered almonds

Sunbathing damages skin, leaving you more susceptible to premature ageing, wrinkles and skin cancer, so using sunscreen is a no-brainer.

Vitamin D from sunlight is important for healthBut you also need to make sure your skin gets a daily dose of sensible sunlight. Cells in the top layer of skin need about 15 minutes of sunlight a day to produce vitamin D essential for good health.

Diet alone cannot provide the amount of vitamin D the body requires

Vitamin D supports the immune system and potentially helps prevent cancer so it’s important.

Lots of people are deficient in vitamin D so always wearing make-up or moisturisers containing sunscreens is not necessarily a good idea, especially in winter.

3. Reduce inflammation

Inflammation in the body can aggravate skin conditions and contribute to itchy, red skin.

To lower the inflammation in your body:

• Eat vitamin C-rich foods which help to reduce histamine

Vitamin C works well with quercitin, found in apples and onions to reduce itchiness and redness. Find out more about the health benefits of onions in our Food Focusfeature.

• Eat good fats

Dry, rough skin is a good indicator that you’re low in essential fats. The Omega 3 fats found inoily fish support the anti-inflammatory pathways in the body, whereas saturated fats and thetrans fats found in processed foods promote inflammation.

So to help push the body back into its anti-inflammatory mode, cut down on meat and dairy foods and eat more:

Tuna carpaccio

Easy recipe for tuna carpaccio
  • Oily fish
  • Plant sources of Omega 3 fats such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia, flax and hemp seeds.

Take a look at our Food Focus on Oily Fish to find out more about the wonderful health benefits of Omega 3 fats.

Fats showcase

Click for easy access to fat facts, features and recipes with good fats

• Skip the sugar

Sugar and high GI/GL foods, including alcohol, prevent good fats from being converted into the anti-inflammatory substances we need.

If you can’t stomach unsweetened tea, switch to a natural sweetener such as xylitol which doesn’t impact blood sugar.

• Avoid allergenic foods

Many inflammatory skin conditions are aggravated by chemical irritants or food allergens and intolerances.

Eggsmilk and peanuts are common food allergens, although people can react to almost any food. The only sure way to see if food allergy is preventing your skin from glowing is to get tested or follow a low-allergenic diet for a while.

4. Balance hormones

Hormone imbalances can contribute to skin breakouts during puberty as well as in adulthood, particularly for women around menstruation. Excess testosterone increases sebum production, and too much sebum can cause spots.

• Eat foods containing zinc and vitamin A

Both antioxidants, zinc and vitamin A work together to reduce the production of sebum, which is a key factor in acne. Eat:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Oats
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Yellow, orange and green leaf vegetables

Try making our granola and butternut squash soup to boost your zinc and vitamin A.

• Keep your blood sugar balanced
So skip the sugar and follow a low GI/GL way of eating.Excess insulin can imbalance hormones and lead to increased testosterone, more sebum production and spotty skin as a result.

• Tune up your body’s detox systems

 

The skin is part of the body’s detoxification system and often reflects what is happening in the digestive system and liver.

Itching, rashes and skin conditions can indicate that the body is not detoxifying properly.

To support your body in getting rid of used hormones properly:
– Drink enough water so toxins leave via urine or stools instead of making their way out through the skin
– Bump up your fibre intake to support gut health. Find lots of high fibre recipes here.
– Consider doing a short detox if you feel your digestion and liver need some TLC.

5. Beware chemicals in skincare products

Don’t overlook what you’re putting on your skin. Even expensive skin products can contain a cocktail of irritant and potentially carcinogenic chemicals. Opt for natural brands if you can,free of parabens, petroleum and synthetic colours and fragrance.

 

Foods for healthy skin

  • All fruits and vegetables
especially apricots, avocados, butternut squash, carrots, kale, kiwi, mango, peppers, pumpkins, spinach, strawberries, sweet potato, watercress
  • Oily fish and shellfish
  • Oats
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
including almonds, brazils, hazelnuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds
  • Water

  

 
Foods your skin won’t like
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Foods high in saturated fat, including meat and dairy products

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “Eat your way to perfect skin Skin food for a natural glow

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