Eating for healthy, glowing skin
Healthy, glowing skin is a phrase we hear often; plentiful in glossy magazine adverts, Instagram stories and TV ad breaks promoting a variety of products. Whilst these gorgeous products can keep the exterior of your skin looking refreshed, it’s important to care for the skin from the inside as well, with our diet.
Our skin is a direct reflection of what’s going on inside our bodies, so if we’re lacking in a certain nutrient or protein, the appearance and health of our skin will tell us.
Foods that naturally aid healthy skin
There are several important nutrients that we can get from food to help keep our skin looking healthy and clear. But what foods are the most beneficial? Following a balanced diet will naturally clear your skin. There are plenty of healthy food options to choose from. Let’s take a closer look.
These green goddesses are packed full of B-complex vitamins, beta-carotene and vitamin E, the key vitamins for healthy skin. Avocados also contain healthy fats, which helps to hydrate the skin and biotin, a water-soluble B vitamin. It is not yet fully understood the role biotin plays in healthy skin, but individuals who struggle with a biotin deficiency commonly experience dry, red, scaly rashes.
Try it: a simple, nutritious breakfast, mash half an avocado and spread on wholemeal bread with a poached egg, seasoned with chilli flakes and black pepper.
Carrots contain high levels of beta-carotene, helping the body produce the skin-saving nutrient, vitamin A. Due to its antioxidant properties, beta-carotene is essential for overall wellness and for fighting off free radicals in the body.
Try it: snack on carrot batons and hummus, or if you’re feeling brave, try carrot juice, and add some apple and ginger for an extra tasty kick.
Rich in antioxidants, berries are a quick and easy source of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps ward off the natural ageing process of the skin because of its essential function in collagen production and helps the skin to repair any wounds quickly.
Try it: top up your yoghurt with berries, add them to a smoothie or enjoy with nuts as an afternoon snack.
Somewhat of a celebrity in the health food world, kale is well-loved for a reason, as it’s rich in vitamins. In terms of boosting skin health, kale is great as it contains beta-carotene and it an all-round detoxifier, aiding collagen production, increasing skin cell turnover, and tightening pores.
Try it: add some kale to a smoothie, enjoy with your salad or cook up some crunchy kale crisps.
If you suffer from dry skin, salmon would be really helpful as a regular feature in your diet. Rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) which can be linked to reducing inflammation, salmon helps to restore moisture from the inside out.
Try it: grill a fillet of salmon with vegetables for your evening meal or have smoked salmon with your eggs in the morning.
Another great source of essential fatty acids, walnuts do wonders for improving skin’s elasticity and contain copper, a mineral that promotes collagen production.
Try it: walnuts are a great topping to your breakfast muesli or enjoy them as an afternoon snack.
Collagen is an extremely elastic protein that helps maintain the skin’s shine and softness. Collagen protein, which can be taken as a powdered supplement and added to smoothies or water, or in tablet form, can be a convenient way of increasing your collagen intake.
If you’re interested in adding supplements to your diet, it’s worth consulting a nutrition professional, to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of collagen from your diet as the first port of call.
Foods to avoid for healthy skin
When adopting a balanced diet, ensuring you’re eating the right amount of vitamins for healthy skin is important. Consider what may be damaging your skin and reduce any foods or drinks that could be harmful.
Foods that could be harmful to your skin include:
Too much salt has been linked to skin conditions such as acne. It can also cause tissues to swell, making your face appear puffy. Pre-packaged foods and sauces often contain high levels of salt, so it might be helpful to do a quick scan of certain food labels if you think you’re eating too much salt. Instead of using salt to add flavour, experiment with herbs and spices.
An excess of alcohol can dehydrate the body, making the skin dry and irritated. Aim to stick to the recommended guidelines and try to have at least two alcohol-free evenings a week. If you are drinking, supplement the alcohol with regular glasses of water so as not to dehydrate the body.
Refined carbohydrates and sugar
White bread, sugary foods and fizzy drinks all cause insulin spikes, leading to inflammation throughout the body. This results in collagen and elastin breakdown, which can cause premature ageing. Digested sugar also attaches itself to collagen in a process called glycation, which can aggravate acne-related conditions.
Try swapping refined carbohydrates for complex carbohydrates like brown rice and vegetables, and satisfy your sweet tooth with vitamin-rich fruit instead.
Of course, try not to deny yourself a sweet treat here and then. As the saying goes, “everything in moderation”, but if you are trying to eat for healthy, glowing skin or have sensitive skin, be mindful that it’s not just what you put on the surface of the skin that can aggravate it, and diet is important.