We all know that our diet is an important factor when it comes to our health. We need to ensure that what we're putting into our bodies is providing us with nutritional benefits in order for us to be able to function properly.
The skin is no different. In order for your skin to be clear, bright and supple, we need to make sure that we're eating the right things.
What should I eat?
5 a day is a must have!
Fruit and veg are the key to healthy skin. They contain powerful antioxidants that keep the skin in good shape and protected from the damage caused by external factors such as free radicals and pollution. These external stressors can in turn cause wrinkling and age spots to form.
Veg that is especially good for your skin health contains betacarotene and this can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin, while kale, papaya and spinach are top of the list when it comes to lutein, a potent antioxidant which aids skin cell development and maintains a healthy skin tone.
Up your vitamin C intake
We’re all familiar with Vitamin C but did you know it’s actually vital when it comes to keeping your skin protected? It’s a super antioxidant which supports the immune system, helps skin heal and gives it an energised glow. To get your fix, you want to munch this fruity bunch: blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, kiwi, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes.
Boost your Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a star player when it comes to protecting your skin from oxidative damage and helps to support your skin’s healthy growth. You can find it in foods such as almonds, avocado, hazelnuts, pine nuts and sunflower oil.
Hydration is key
In order for your skin to stay flexible and maintain elasticity, it needs moisture. Dry skin will flake and peel, while hydrated skin is much more able to move and function without causing damage. Even if you’re just mildly dehydrated, you’ll see the impact on your skin as it can feel dry and look tired/dull. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day. While any fluids will help to count towards your daily allowance, water is the best to maximize hydration. Keep a bottle of water on your desk while you work or opt for herbal, caffeine-free teas rather than your morning coffee to achieve the best results. Foods that provide a high fluid content include watermelon, courgette and cucumber and by eating these, the minerals also found in them help to increase the rate at which your body and skin becomes hydrated.
Not all fats are bad!
Eating healthy fats is important when trying to keep your skin moisturised, supple and elastic. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as those found in avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds provide the necessary fatty acids that your skin needs. These fats also deliver some more vitamin E into your diet, which as we know is important to protect and support healthy skin growth.
Omega 3 will do the job
These are another type of essential fatty acid. These can’t be made in the body and therefore can only be obtained by eating the right things. These omega-3 and omega-6 fats can be found in oily fish, linseed, chia seeds, walnuts and rapeseed oil. These fats help the body to create anti-inflammatory compounds which can help with some skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
How can it help?
How can my diet improve my acne?
Acne is a skin condition where the sebaceous glands in the skin become inflamed and infected. These glands are stimulated by hormones. There are some foods that can cause this condition to worsen, including the saturated and hydrogenated fats found in processed foods and foods that are high in sugars. To combat this, opt for a diet encompassing raw vegetables, wholegrains, fresh fruit and fish.
How can my diet improve my eczema?
Eczema affects the skin by causing patchy redness that can be itchy and uncomfortable. This is often found on the hands but can appear anywhere on the skin. Sometimes, flare ups of eczema can be caused by food sensitivity, eating something that your skin is sensitive to. Foods that are often triggers are milk, eggs, fish, cheese, nuts and food additives. You can keep an eye out to see which of these foods causes the eczema to worsen. Omega-3 fats, vitamin E and zinc have been known to reduce symptoms so look to increase the frequency at which you’re ingesting these.
How can my diet improve my psoriasis?
Psoriasis is where the skin has red patches with silvery scales, often found on the knees and elbows. This is caused by rapid growth and proliferation of cells and can cause the skin to feel itchy, sore and in worse cases, crack and bleed. This often occurs when a person is run down and can be attributed to sunburn, alcohol, stress, smoking and obesity. There also could be trigger foods, which you should work with your GP to discover. Diet wise, ensure to include essential fatty acids and reduce saturated fats, while also using anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, red pepper, ginger, cumin, rosemary, fennel and garlic.