With so many beauty products claiming to give you great skin, natural products are often overlooked. Instead of spending your hard earned cash on the latest face cream recommended to you at a beauty counter, use what you already have- the answer to perfect skin could just be hiding in your fridge.
A balanced diet is key to boosting your inner glow, so exactly what are foods that can help improve your skin?
Antioxidants can help fight free radicals, unstable molecules produced when our bodies convert food into energy, or created by pollution, radiation and smoking. Free radicals attack healthy cells, causing damage and inflammation, resulting in skin lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and sensitivity. But antioxidants can help halt free radicals in their tracks.
One of the best ways to get more antioxidants is to eat five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The fruits and veggies with the most intense colours are the ones richest in antioxidants; think about a rainbow of foods on your plate – green veggies like kale or fruits such as kiwi, orange pumpkin or satsumas, red peppers or tomatoes – and try to eat a rainbow at every meal.
Anti-ageing fruit and vegetables
Yellow, orange, red and dark green foods contain large amounts of betacarotene, a skin-essential mineral the body converts into its own form of vitamin A, retinol. Retinol promotes production of the skin’s vital support structures, collagen and elastin, which hold the skin together, preventing wrinkles and sagging.
Many fruits and veggies are also rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, vital for stimulating collagen production. Vitamin E is essential for helping maintain and support healthy skin cells. You can find it in sunflower oil and seeds, whole grains and nuts.
If you want youthful skin, there are a number of different foods you can incorporate into your diet to help. Here are our top 10 recommendations:
To give your skin a boost of anti-aging vitamin A, start eating sweet potatoes with their skins on.
Raspberries and blackberries
These fruits might be small but they’re mighty. They contain ellagic acid which helps stop wrinkles forming, gives you a good complexion and protects your skin from UV rays.
If you want to improve your skin tone, have a handful of blueberries next time you want a quick snack. Your skin will appreciate the extra boost of vitamin C and E.
Experts recommend that you try to have a tomato or two most days as they are full of carotenoids and antioxidants which help stop skin cells aging and keep your skin looking youthful.
If you want a sweet treat, have a square of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains flavonols which increase blood flow, protect your skin from UV rays and help keep your skin hydrated.
A slice of water melon can refresh your skin, thanks to the lycopene and amino acids contained within. It also gives your skin a boost of vitamin A, B6 and C plus helps protect it from UV rays.
To try and prevent wrinkles forming, have some broccoli with your dinner. It contains vitamin C which helps your skin stay firm and prevents it from drying out.
People don’t call these a super fruit for nothing. Pomegranates are bursting with antioxidants, anthocyanins and ellagic acid which help reduce the number of wrinkles you get, prevent hyperpigmentation, firm your skin, reduce dryness and protect it from UV rays.
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids which are great for both your skin and your scalp.
Eat more protein
Protein is required for rebuilding and repairing every organ in our body, particularly when it comes to our skin as it helps form collagen and elastin.
Some proteins are also rich in co-enzyme Q10 (Co-Q10), a substance found in every cell of the body. As we age, our levels of Co-Q10 drop, which is thought to contribute to the skin ageing process
Good sources of protein include:
- lean animal proteins like chicken
- seafood such as oily fish, which also contains essential fatty acids
- nuts and seeds, beans, lentils or chick peas
- eggs, which contain all eight of the amino acids needed to build cells
- liver, which is also rich in vitamin A
Whole grains for regeneration
Replace white carbohydrates, such as biscuits and white pasta, with complex carbs like lentils, barley, rye and buckwheat. These are all foods for healthy skin as they contain vital minerals to help regenerate the skin, including selenium – research shows selenium can help prevent DNA sun damage and those dreaded ‘old age’ spots!
Whole grains are also rich in fibre, which binds to toxins and helps eliminate them from your body. The fewer toxins in your body, the less your liver will be overloaded. The liver is your primary organ for detoxification, so a clean liver produces clean skin.
Include essential fats in your diet
Cut down on harmful saturated and trans-fats but up your intake of good fats, as these make up the actual skin cells. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) also keep the cell walls strong, so they retain moisture and nutrients, helping your skin look plump and refreshed.
The best sources of EFAs, such as omega-3 and omega-6, are oily fish including salmon, sardines and tuna, avocados, nuts and seeds. Olive oil and pumpkin seed oil are also rich in EFAs, while coconut oil is becoming more popular.
Green tea is the best food source of plant compounds called catechins. Research has found these to be more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting damage to body cells, as well as having other disease-fighting properties. In fact, Hong Kong scientists found green tea drinkers have a body cell age around five years younger than non-green tea drinkers.
A study by Kingston University, London, discovered white tea helps stop the breakdown of elastin and collagen. It’s thought active ingredients in the tea help prevent the inflammation linked to cell ageing.
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