Our skin is the body's largest organ (often one which gets forgotten about). Our skin is a great reflection of what's going on inside. It is no wonder that when we eat highly processed, sugary foods our skin seems a little less glowing and some people are partial to a few outbreaks. There are thousands of skin products on the market nowadays in the forms of creams, serums, masks, gels etc. As much as I believe it is important to look after your skin properly, eating well contributes to these 'anti-ageing, wrinkle solving' and all round 'glowing' remedies.
In this article I'll share the key nutrients required for healthy glowing skin and some associated food sources.
Antioxidants: Most of us have heard this term as it's one of the latest buzzword, but why are antioxidants important and what do they do? Antioxidants remove free radicals from the cells, free radicals cause cell oxidation which leads to cell damage (including skin cells). Antioxidants are present in the form of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. Vitamin C and E also play roles in collagen production to ensure the skin maintains it's elasticity. Foods high in vitamin A include: avocado, carrots, offal (liver and organ meats). Vitamin C sources include: most fruits and vegetables (e.g. oranges and green leafy vegetables). Vitamin E dietary sources include: avocados, spinach, almonds, olive oil and coconut oil.
Omega-3: This is another word we are seeming to find on many food packages at the moment and fish oil supplements seem to be the latest trend. This is great as fish oils play a role in reducing inflammation present in the skin and increasing protection against UVB exposure. Key sources of omega-3 include: oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel), flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
Water: Staying hydrated is essential in ensuring the body maintain's its everyday physiological functions. Water contributes to the development of skin cells, however, when the body is in a hypohydrated state (low in water) it will draw water from the skin which in turn reduces the skin's glow and leaves it flaky and dry. Regular hydration is crucial to promote glowing skin.
I have discussed some of the nutrients which are required to maintain and promote skin health. However, I think it's important to note one key anti-nutrient which contribute to the decline in healthy skin. Yes, you've guessed it, I'm referring to sugar. A high sugar intake promotes spikes in insulin. In turn this causes inflammation which promotes wrinkles and puffiness. Additionally, a high sugar diet may contribute to the risk of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can promote unwanted hair growth on the skin.
Clearly food has an effect on our skin and it is essential that we nourish it properly (as well as ensuring we cleanse and moisturise daily and exfoliate regularly).