What food gives healthy skin? Nutrition for healthy, glowing skin
The skin is our largest organ and acts as a waterproof, insulating shield, which guards the body against temperature extremes, sunlight, and even harmful chemicals and toxins. And whilst there are many external and environmental factors that impact skin health, there are a number of food for healthy skin and nutrition adjustments that can be easily implemented.
Numerous studies point to the fact that what we eat, can significantly impact the quality, health and ageing rate of our skin. Whether you’re struggling with acne, the fear of ageing is looming, or you just want a healthier glow, there are a number of key skin loving foods that may help. Read on to discover my top foods for healthy skin:
FOOD FOR HEALTHY SKIN
Fish such as mackerel, salmon, anchovies and herring are all rich sources of these fatty acids which are crucial for maintaining skin health. Omega-3’s help to keep skin supple and moisturized, and studies have shown that an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can actually lead to dry skin.(1) In addition, omega3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Inflammation can be one of the triggers for inflamed, red or acne-prone skin.
Getting enough of the monounsaturated “good” fats found in avocado is essential to keeping skin moisturized and flexible. A study demonstrated that a high intake of healthy fat found in avocados, was linked to more supple, springy skin. (3) Research has also shown that avocados contain beta carotene and vitamin E that may help protect the skin from sun damage, with UV rays causing significant signs of ageing to the skin. (4)
RED OR YELLOW PEPPERS
Peppers are an excellent source of beta carotene, a form of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to strengthen our defences against bacteria, pollutants and infection, protecting our complexion from harmful irritants that try to attack the skin’s surface. Eating vitamin A-rich foods can help to promote better skin health from the inside out. Red and yellow peppers are also one of the richest sources of vitamin C, which is required for creating collagen. Collagen contributes to our skin’s elasticity and firmness. (5) A large study that involved women consuming high amounts of vitamin C, actually found there was a reduced risk of wrinkled and dry skin with age. (6)
This super green veg contains lutein, a type of carotenoid that can help to protect the skin from oxidative damage, which is a common reason why skin becomes dry and wrinkled. Broccoli florets also include sulforaphane, a compound that has been shown to have a number of benefits, even being linked to the prevention of skin cancer (7) and helping to maintain collagen in the skin (8).
If I can give you one more reason to eat dark chocolate, this is it! There are many proven benefits of the effect of cocoa on the skin. One study demonstrated that after 6-12 weeks of consuming an antioxidant-rich cocoa powder, participants noticed thicker, more hydrated skin. They also reported their skin felt less rough and scaly, whilst being less sensitive to sun damage. (9) When choosing chocolate, try to reach for 70%+ options to gain the most benefits, my favourite is Raw Halo 76% made with 3 simple ingredients, available here.
Being a great source of essential fatty acids, the type of fats our body can not make themselves, walnuts are the richest source of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than any other nuts. Omega-3 fats help to reduce inflammation in the body, including the skin. Just 28 grams of walnuts contains 8% of your daily intake of Zinc, an essential mineral that plays a role in wound healing and combating bacteria and inflammation. (10)
Drinking more water is the most simple way to improve your glow, keeping skin and tissues functioning to the best of their ability. Everyone is different when it comes to how much water they need to drink but aim for 1.5- 2 litres as a minimum to stay fully hydrated. If you struggle with your water intake, try adding natural flavours such as fresh mint, basil, and berries or a herbal tea bag to make a refreshing, natural, iced tea.
Soy products contain isoflavones, which may contribute to better skin health. One study showed middle-aged women who ate soy isoflavones every day for 8-12 weeks noticed reduced fine lines and better skin elasticity. (11) It has also been suggested that Isoflavones may protect the skin from UV radiation, which may help to reduce the skin of some skin cancers. (12)
Check out Clarissa’s skin-loving recipe, Vegan Cacao Dusted Almonds that contain a number of food for healthy skin. They are great as an afternoon pick me up or even delicious as a breakfast topping, find the recipe here.