I wrote this article for my magazine Style Adventure, and thought it was good to share here too. I’ve decided to split this article into two parts because it’s very long. Part 1 focuses on foods to eat for awesome skin. Part 2 will focus on eating for specific skin conditions, and will be posted on Monday.
Skin does age no matter how hard we try to stop it. Wrinkles and discoloration are the result of gradual damage from the sun or our habits like smoking, using harsh soaps and poor nutrition.
At a high level, old skin cells constantly shed and are replaced by new ones. You need a steady supply of nutrients to support this growth. By eating the right balance of foods, you’ll give your skin the proper nutrients it needs to keep soft and free of blemishes.
Here’s how food can help your skin
Check crash diets at the door
Crash dieting can take a toll on many parts of your body. There are long-term as well as some shorter-term consequences of not eating enough of the things your body requires to function properly. Because this is a post about skin, I won’t get into the potential liver and kidney issues that can develop from some of these diets after time.
Repeatedly losing and regaining weight can cause wrinkles, stretch marks and your skin to sag. Some crash diets also don’t have enough of the essential vitamins. Over time, it will show on your skin.
Cheers more – with water
I know this is known, and like sleep, this is one of the “do as I say, not as I do” tips. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to keep your skin soft. Even if you’re mildly dehydrated, your skin will look dry, tired and off-color.
Eat the rainbow
At least five portions of colorful fruits of vegetables a day can help protect your skin from the damage (wrinkles and age spots) caused by things like smoking, pollution, and the sun.
Here are some of the antioxidants you want to eat
Beta-carotene and Lutein to protect against wrinkles and age spots.
- Foods high in beta-carotene: Carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato
- Foods high in lutein: Kale, papaya, and spinach
Vitamin C-rich foods help produce collagen to help with radiant skin and to heal blemishes.
- Foods high in vitamin C: Blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes
Selenium can help to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots.
- Foods high in selenium: Brazil nuts (four of them give you more than five times the amount of fish sources), broccoli, tomatoes and wheatgerm
Vitamin E protects your skin from cell damage to support healthy skin growth.
- Foods high in vitamin E: Almonds, avocado, corn oil, hazelnuts, pine nuts and sunflower oil
Fat is your friend
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats provide the essential fatty acids that act as a natural moisturizer. They also have a high amount of vitamin E which I already covered.
- Foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats: Avocados, nuts and seeds.
Omega-3 – your body can’t make it, so you have to take it
Omega-3 fats are essential fatty acids. The body doesn’t make them, so you have to get enough in your diet. Omega-3 helps the body produce anti-inflammatories so it’s particularly good for conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Foods high in Omega-3: Plant-sourced oils like flaxseed, linseed, walnut, and grapeseed.
Phyto’s the way to go
Phyto means plant, and phytoestrogens are natural chemicals found in plant foods. They help keep your natural hormones in balance and your skin even. Types of phytoestrogens:
- Isoflavones: Soya beans
- Lignans: Flax seeds, fruit, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains
Z may be the last letter of the alphabet but this is not last when it comes to key dietary minerals
Zinc helps to regulate the glands in the skin that produce oil to help repair skin damage and keep it soft.
- Foods high in zinc: Fish, lean red meat, nuts, poultry, seeds, shellfish, and whole grains.
As mentioned above, part two will focus on foods to eat for awesome skin for different conditions.