Eat your way to a glowing complexion
Beautiful skin starts from within and the age old saying ‘you are what you eat’ is certainly true in the pursuit of healthy, glowing skin.
Unfortunately acne is a common skin condition that affects many of us at some stage in our lives and there is currently no evidence that a poor diet is to blame, however there are some simple things that we can all do to help keep our skin in tip-top shape. Here are my top 5 tips.
1. Stay hydrated
On average, our bodies are made up of 60% water. Cells need water to live and your skin is no exception so help to maintain its elasticity by keeping yourself well hydrated. Remember that all liquids, including cups of tea and coffee, count towards your fluid intake but try to avoid drinking more than 5-6 cups of caffeinated drinks a day as they can lead to unwanted side effects such as sleeping difficulties and irritability. If water isn’t really your thing then check out my post on ‘top 10 tips for meeting your hydration goals’.
2. Go easy on the alcohol
Alcohol dehydrates your body, including your skin, so try to stick to the low risk alcohol guidelines of no more than 14 units a week. That’s the equivalent of 6 x 175ml glasses of 13% wine or 14 x 25ml glasses of 40% spirits, but remember, those homemade G&Ts are probably stronger than you think! For more information visit drinkaware.co.uk
It is also thought that drinking in excess can deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients and over time can cause more permanent damage to your skin. Plus if you forget to remove your make up after a heavy night you’ll be more prone to spots too.
3. Ditch the fad diets
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is one of the best things we can do for our skin. The evidence base for removing certain food groups such as meat or dairy is lacking and therefore is not currently recommended. There are certain vitamins and minerals which are known to be important for skin health, all of which can be obtained through a healthy balanced diet. These include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Vitamin E, Zinc and Selenium.
4. Eat the rainbow
Antioxidants (e.g. Vitamin C and E) have been shown to protect cells from damage – read ageing skin! There is insufficient evidence to support taking an antioxidant supplement and in some cases these may actually be harmful, so the best place to get your antioxidant fix from is your diet. Check out my post on antioxidants to find out which foods you should be reaching for (it even includes chocolate!). But remember, there isn’t one ‘superfood’ for your skin, it is all about getting the balance right and consuming a variety of foods to ensure that you get all of the necessary nutrients.
5. Get fishy
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in foods such as oily fish, fortified eggs and walnuts. The skin uses omega 3’s to create a waterproof layer so aim to include a portion of oily fish at least 1-2 times a week. Examples include salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna (not the tinned variety) and sardines.
Looking for a bit of inspiration for your skin-friendly weekend brunch? Then look no further. Click here for the BBC GoodFood ‘Superfood’ scrambled eggs recipe. This recipe includes smoked salmon and pumpkin seeds for a healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids, not to mention a wide range of vitamins and minerals from the eggs, tomato and spinach to support a glowing complexion.
A final word…
Research has shown that stress and tiredness can affect our skin health and appearance, so put the kettle on and have a cuppa whilst you read my tips on stress relief and don’t forget to get an early night!
* References available upon request