My skincare routine has changed a lot in last 30 years! I can remember sunny myself with baby oil, as many of us did 30 years ago and not thinking for a moment of the damage I might be doing. Now I don’t step over my doorstep without hat, sun glasses and factor 150 on! Well….almost!
Now at the age of 51, I am dealing with menopausal skin along with what I affectionately term as ‘medicine skin’. Yes – all those little life saving pills I have to take, keep my heart ticking but play havoc with the complexion. Of course, that cannot be my priority….can it??
Umm…well I do believe that if you look better on the outside, you feel much better on the inside, and of course your skin is a living organ, just like my dodgy old ticker, so its definitely worth taking good care of it.
So, to help you understand that the food you eat DOES HAVE AN EFFECT on how you look (and therefore feel) Here is a little list of foods that you might like to boost occasionally…
If you want glowing skin, the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ has never been truer. These are my top 10 tips that will help you nourish your skin from the inside out.
Everyone has a favourite face cream or treatment, but beautiful skin starts with nourishment from within. Older cells are constantly shed and replaced by younger ones and a steady supply of key nutrients is essential to support this rapid growth. Eat the correct balance of foods and you’ll feed your skin the vital nutrients it needs to help it stay soft, supple and blemish-free.
That said, as much as we may try to resist it, our skin does naturally age. Wrinkles and age spots are the inevitable result of time, but skin ageing may be sped up by overexposure to the sun and tanning beds, strong soaps, chemicals and poor nutrition. With this in mind, a holistic approach is best. Treat your skin kindly and optimise your nutrition by eating antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, healthy fats from oily fish and nuts, and a varied and balanced diet. This should give optimal levels of the nutrients that are crucial for radiant skin, including beta carotene, vitamins C and E, zinc and selenium.
1 – Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day
Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals, smoking, pollution and sunlight and can cause wrinkling and age spots. Eat a rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables and aim for at least five portions a day. Betacarotene, found in carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin, and lutein, found in kale, papaya and spinach are potent antioxidants, important for normal skin cell development and healthy skin tone.
2 – Eat enough vitamin C
Vitamin C is also a super antioxidant. It is needed to support the immune system, promote radiant skin and help blemishes heal properly. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes. Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the skin.
3 – Don’t crash diet!
Repeatedly losing and regaining weight can take its toll on your skin, causing sagging, wrinkles and stretch marks. Crash diets are often short in essential vitamins and minerals too. Over long periods of time this type of dieting will reflect on your skin. It is always best to eat a healthy, balanced diet as we do on Being The Best You!
4 – Stock up on selenium
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. It works alongside other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C and is essential to support the immune system. Studies suggest that a selenium-rich diet can help to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. One way to boost your intake is to eat Brazil nuts. Just four nuts will provide the recommended daily amount (RDA). Mix Brazil nuts with other seeds rich in vitamin E as a snack or salad sprinkle. Other good sources are fish, shellfish, eggs, wheatgerm, tomatoes and broccoli.
5 – Eat enough vitamin E
Vitamin E protects skin from oxidative (cell) damage and supports healthy skin growth. Foods high in vitamin E include almonds, avocado, hazelnuts, pine nuts and sunflower and corn oils.
6 – Drink six to eight glasses of water a day
Skin needs moisture to stay flexible. Even mild dehydration will cause your skin to look dry, tired and slightly grey. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day – all fluids count towards your daily allowance, but water is the best. If you work in an office, keep a large bottle of water on your desk to remind you to drink. Herbal, caffeine-free teas are good too. Don’t forget that some fruit and vegetables, such as watermelon, courgette and cucumber, also contribute fluids – the added benefit is that the minerals they contain will increase the rate you hydrate your body and skin.
7 – Eat some healthy fat
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – the types found in avocados, oily fish, nutsand seeds – provide essential fatty acids which act as a natural moisturiser for your skin, keeping it supple and improving elasticity. These fats also come packaged with a healthy dose of vitamin E (a vitamin many of us lack), which will help protect against free radical damage.
8 – Opt for omega-3
Make sure you get enough omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These are essential fatty acids which mean they cannot be made in the body and must be obtained through the diet. You will find omega-3s in oily fish and plant sources such as linseed and their oil, chia seeds, walnuts and rapeseed oil. Omega-3 fats encourage the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help skin, particularly inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
9 – Eat more phyto-estrogens
Phyto-estrogens are natural chemicals found in plant foods (phyto from the Greek word for plant). They have a similar structure to the female sex hormone oestrogen and have been found to help keep our natural hormones in balance. There are different types, some are found in soya bean products (isoflavones) such as tofu, whereas others are found in the fibre of wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and linseed (lignans). Include phyto-estrogen rich soya, wholegrains, fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.
10 – Eat plenty of zinc
Zinc is involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands in the skin (which produce oil) and helps to repair skin damage and keep skin soft and supple. Zinc-rich foods include fish, lean red meat, wholegrains, poultry, nuts, seeds and shellfish.
So, by eating well, you will be treating your skin well, and looking good helps you feel good, so this is a win-win situation.
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