Your skin says a lot about you. It tells the world what you eat, how active you are and how much sleep you get, among other things. This two-part series discusses the various ways to align your lifestyle with your skin goals starting with what goes into your body.
WHAT TO EAT OR DRINK
Food fuels our body, impacting how we look and feel. Some foods give us more energy while others weigh us down. Here’s what to consume for better skin:
Water: Water is present in almost everything around us. The skin itself is made up of mostly water but loses some of that water everyday which is why we need to replenish it by drinking more. 2 litres (8 cups) of water is recommended daily but if that sounds daunting to you, try incorporating water dense foods such as cucumber and watermelon into your diet. Water balances our pH levels, enhances our complexion and fights the signs of ageing such as wrinkles and fine lines.
Green tea: Green tea is high in powerful antioxidants which slow down photoaging and repair damage to DNA. It is also loaded with plant polyphenols known to minimise irritation and inflammation of the skin, and vitamin E which restores firmness to skin and keeps it supple.
Fibre: Legumes are high in fibre which improves gut health by feeding the good bacteria in your gut, aiding proper digestion. Chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans are great examples of legumes to add to your diet as they reduce blood sugar levels. A rise in blood sugar activates inflammation in the body and contributes to wrinkling of the skin. Legumes are also an excellent source of protein which can be used as a substitute for meat in vegetarian diets.
Omega-3’s: Omega-3 fatty acids can be gotten from either plant or animal sources. The omega-3 fats in fish such as mackerel and salmon have various benefits to the skin including preventing inflammation in the body which cause skin conditions like psoriasis, and an overall dull appearance. If you don’t like seafood, you can get omega-3 from walnuts and almonds which are high in this essential fatty acid and make the skin firmer by boosting the production of collagen.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamin C protect the skin from damage due to free radicals in the environment. Antioxidants can be found in nuts and numerous fruits and vegetables, especially those with deep colours. Strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, broccoli, red cabbage and carrots are all high in antioxidants. Some vegetables such as bell peppers can also minimise how sensitive the skin is to the sun while citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits contain substantial amounts of vitamin C which prevents premature ageing of the skin.
Probiotics: Probiotics are microorganisms that keep the gut free of toxins and allow the immune system to function properly. When food enters an unhealthy bacteria environment in the gut, inflammation occurs and our digestive system is thrown off balance. Probiotics work to restore balance, hydrate skin and fight inflammation in the gut which could otherwise lead to rashes and acne. Probiotic foods such as yoghurt and cheese are made from milk fermented by good bacteria but not all yoghurt and cheese are made equal. Look for those with active cultures which means that the good bacteria has not been killed off due to processing.
Look out for part two of our healthy skin guide coming soon.