The Food Guru
What To Eat For Great Skin
Practising good nutrition can give your skin an anti-ageing boost, says our columnist Eve Kalinik. Here’s how to eat your way to healthy skin.
In our quest for glowing skin, we usually turn to lotions, potions, pills and magic creams to help it look its best. But what we eat also plays a significant role in how our skin looks and feels. Often our skin reflects what’s happening on a deeper level – that can be anything from digestive imbalances, poor natural detoxification or simply vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Here’s how to eat well, to help you achieve a more radiant face.
Know Your Vitamins
Vitamin A helps to slow the breakdown of collagen, which keeps skin looking younger and more plump. Find this in its beta-carotene form in sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash and peppers, and also in foods such as meat (liver being a good source), butter and organic free-range eggs. Vitamin C is essential for building structural protein collagen – raw green vegetables are a great source and, in particular, the brassicas such as broccoli and cauliflower. Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, helps prevent premature ageing and cell damage. It’s found in nuts and seeds, so add plenty to your diet.
Try Fermented Foods
Fermented foods, such as kimchi, kefir, kombucha and miso paste, can be super boosting when it comes to skin health as they promote a healthy gut bacteria. They also contain sulphur, which helps strengthen hair, skin and nails, and also supports collagen production to lessen premature ageing. Stress and gut inflammation can impair the protective function of the epidermal barrier, so adding lots of gut-friendly foods to your routine is important – food such as coconut oil, onions, leeks and garlic will help.
This natural anti-inflammatory has a unique action in that it helps to manage the detoxification pathways in the liver, allowing for a smoother removal of toxins and waste. When this process is on the sluggish side, it can often show on the skin. Add turmeric to your dishes, add it to salad dressings and always partner it with black pepper for best absorption.
Essential fatty acids are essential for a reason – these oils help keep cells fluid, flexible and supple, while protecting from damaging ageing environmental factors. They also play a hugely significant role in skin health. We are generally deficient in Omega 3, which is found in its highest concentration in oily fish – so stock up on wild salmon, mackerel and sardines. Grass-fed organic meat and plant-based chia and flax seeds are also good sources. Omega 9, which is found in cashews, macadamia nuts, olives and avocados, helps regulate blood sugar levels and supports the balance of hormones, such as insulin, that if upset, can have knock-on effects for the skin.
Less Sugar More Water
Avoid excessive sugar or other white refined products as this forms a process called glycation that can prematurely age the skin and leave it more susceptible to environmental damage. Keep your hydration levels topped up by drinking plenty of water. Make it more interesting by adding lime juice and a pinch of cayenne.
Good nutrition should give your skin everything it needs to keep it healthy, but supplements can be useful. To increase your Omega 3 levels, try taking fish oil – I like Wild Nutrition High Strength Omega 3 (wildnutrition.com). For a good probiotic that will give your gut a boost (and in turn improve your skin) have a look at Symprove formula (symprove.com). Alternatively, you could add a supportive blend of nutrients such as Lumity (lumitylife.co.uk), which has been developed specifically to reduce ageing of the skin.
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