Whether you have a particular skin issue, want to slow down the signs of ageing or simply want to revive a dull, partied out complexion, looking to your plate can more often than not give your skin a boost. #StartBetter this year by putting your best face forward on the food front. Nutrition whizz Eve Kalinik knows what your skin craves, and what it could do without…
Good skin’s on the menu
Diet really affects skin health; you can almost think of the skin as a reflection of the digestive system. Poor diet and inadequate hydration can deplete cells of vital nutrients, and this almost always shows itself in the skin. If you don’t want junky skin, steer clear of junky foods. There are of course key nutrients that we need to get into the diet that affect the skin, and on the flip side, ones that we should try to avoid if you want a glowing complexion.
The healthy omega oils are called essential fatty acids for a reason and since they are necessary for every cell membrane in the body they also play a hugely significant role in skin health. Essential fatty acids keep cells fluid, flexible and supple and protect from damaging environmental factors. Opt for more of the omega 3s since we are more generally lacking in these and they are the most anti-inflammatory. You can find these in plant based sources such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseed and also in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Omega 9s found in cashews, macadamia nuts, olives and avocados are also important as they help to regulate blood sugar levels and support the balancing of hormones such as insulin that can have knock on effects for the skin.
ACE your skin vits - vitamins A, C & E! A is one of the most widely recognised nutrients for skin health and supports cell replication, turnover and the suppressing of sebaceous gland activity. Deficiency can manifest in scaly skin and often raised bumps on the back of the arms. You can find vitamin A in its beta carotene form in sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash and peppers. Vitamin C is essential for building structural protein collagen which is crucial for stability of the skin. It’s very sensitive to heat, however, so consuming it raw is best. Green veggies are a great source and the brassicas such as broccoli and cauliflower are excellent when it comes to supporting hormone metabolism. Vitamin E helps to prevent premature ageing and DNA cell damage. It’s a powerful antioxidant and one that we need to take in through the diet. Sources include all nuts and seeds, so choose your favourites and make sure to add plenty of them to your diet.
Have a fermented feast
Fermented foods are also amazing for skin health. Not just because they help to promote a healthy gut bacteria, which is essential for good skin, but also because foods such as cabbage, when it’s fermented into sauerkraut, also contain sulfur which is a mineral that is found mostly concentrated in hair, skin and nails that supports collagen production and lessens the effects of premature ageing. Stress and gut inflammation can affect and impair the integrity and protective function of the epidermal barrier, so adding lots of gut friendly foods to our routine is very important. Things like coconut oil, herbs & spices, garlic will all help.
Less white stuff, more water
Obviously avoid sugar and any other white refined product as this forms a process called glycation that can prematurely age the skin and leave it more susceptible to environmental damage. If you are a sufferer of something like psoriasis or rosacea then working with a nutritionist to pinpoint allergies can often be one of the causative factors.
Finally, water is imperative. Think of a plant that you don’t water; it becomes wrinkled and shrivelled up so if you want springy glowing skin then up the H20. Make it more interesting by adding lime juice and a pinch of cayenne.
Has changing your diet improved your skin? Tweet us or send us a picture on Instagram using the hastag #StartBetter
This feature was written in partnership with Clinique #StartBetter
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