Nutrition for healthier skin
Nutrition is important for so many things. A body of research suggests it has an impact on your metabolism, weight, organs, such as your heart and liver and overall wellbeing. What you eat also impacts another organ — your skin.
As scientists continue to research and learn more about diet and the body, it becomes increasingly clear that what you eat can significantly affect the health and aging of your skin. Having a varied and well-balanced diet will serve you well in helping to look after your skin. When I say ‘well balanced’, I’m talking protein, essential fats, complex carbs / whole grains and plenty of fruit and veg. Research has linked skin health to foods that contain certain nutrients such as vitamin A, C, E and zinc. However, all food groups provide us with different nutrients that may help promote glowing skin. Hydration is also key! Without enough water, these all-important nutrients may not be carried as effectively around the body.
"Beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene have been shown to help protect your skin against damage from the sun and may also help prevent signs of wrinkling."
You can buy all the fancy skin care products in the world, but if you don’t have a nutritious diet, your skin may suffer. Research suggests that eating a well-balanced diet that contains nutrient rich foods, may help maintain healthy skin. Whilst there are no ‘miracle foods’, there is evidence to suggest that some foods in particular, may help look after your skin.
Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to be important for helping to maintain healthy skin.
Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to keep skin supple and hydrated. In fact, a deficiency in omega-3 fats may lead to dry skin. Research suggests that including oily fish in your diet, may make your skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Avocados contain essential fats that benefit many functions in your body, including helping to keep your skin ‘flexible’ and hydrated. Additionally, avocados contain vitamin E, an antioxidant that has been suggested to help protect your skin from free radicals. Free radicals are produced by the body when we are exposed to irritants such as the sun’s UV rays. Therefore, antioxidants like vitamin E are extremely important as it helps protect against free radical damage.
As well as being a source of omega 3, walnuts also contain the mineral zinc. Research suggests that zinc may be effective in reducing inflammation in the skin and help to fight the formation of free radicals.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of something called beta-carotene, which can be converted into vitamin A in the body. Carotenoids like beta-carotene may help keep your skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock.
Like sweet potatoes, bell peppers are a great source of beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. They also contain vitamin C, an antioxidant and vitamin that is
necessary for creating the protein collagen which helps to keep skin firm and strong.
Studies have suggested that females who include plenty of vitamin C in their diets, may have a reduced risk of wrinkles and dry skin with age.
Tomatoes are a source of vitamin C and contain all of the major carotenoids, including lycopene. Beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene have been shown to help protect your skin against damage from the sun and may also help prevent signs of wrinkling.
Consider pairing carotenoid-rich foods like tomatoes with a source of essential fat such as avocado or olive oil. Fats helps the absorption of carotenoids.
The higher the percentage of cocoa (above 70%) the more antioxidants it contains. Cocoa contains antioxidants described as polyphenols, that are thought to improve blood flow, which contributes to healthy skin.
In order for the skin to protect our bodies from UV radiation, microorganisms and oxidative stress, it must be kept hydrated. Hydrated skin will likely remain more flexible and allow our protective barrier to remain intact.
"You can buy all the fancy skin care products in the world, but if you don’t have a nutritious diet, your skin may suffer."