Skin Friendly Foods

Beauty is skin deep, literally.

Skin is our largest organ and the material that the pathways of transportation are made out of. There is an estimated one trillion bacteria that lives within the skin, mostly living on the epidermis, the layer of the skin that you see.

Our beauty therapists know just how important our skin is and a good one is worth their weight in gold. They know exactly how to treat our skin and can often see things that we might not be aware of simply by looking at it.

If there is a toxic overload in the body, it can show up as blemishes, acne, rosacea, rashes, eczema and more. Hormonal changes can also have an impact in our skin, as us ladies are more than aware of, as well.

Our skin self-renews, like all organs in the body. Every month or so, new skin cells come up from the base layer, called the subcutaneous layer, and travel up through the middle layer called the dermis. The new cells finally arrive at the epidermis.

Our body is in constant communication with itself. Communication through the cells can be sent at 400 km p/h. Our skin is the first line of defence when our bodies need protecting from outside elements. When we have burns, cuts and abrasions, our skin is the barrier that holds us together. Without skin, we would have no protection. Think about when you cut yourself while cutting a lemon. It hurts, doesn’t it? That’s because the skin’s protection against the acid from the lemon has been removed, as much as it is because cutting yourself is painful. Our body then sends out messages to our immune system that it’s ready to heal itself, and other messages to the brain telling us what we have just done.

We are able to help and support our skin by making simple nutritional changes to our diet. Drinking more water, and staying away from all harmful, processed foods will help. However, this is also skin friendly foods that will enhance it naturally.

These include:

Fatty Fish – Salmon, mackerel and herring are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for skin health, keeping it thick, supple and moisturised. These fats also reduce inflammation which can cause acne and pigmentation. They also make your skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Fatty fish also contains zinc and vitamin E.

Avocado – Avocados are high in healthy omega-3 fats, which help your body function properly, including your skin. They also contain vitamin E, which helps protect your skin from oxidative damage, and vitamin C, which allows your body to create collagen – the structural protein that keeps skin strong and healthy.

Walnuts – An excellent balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help the body to fight the potential inflammatory response of an overload of omega-6. Walnuts also contain zinc, vitamin E and selenium.

Sunflower Seeds – In 28g of sunflower seeds, we get 49% of our recommended daily intake of vitamin E, 41% for selenium, 14% for zinc and 5.5g of protein.

Sweet Potato – Beta carotene functions as vitamin A in the body. Sweet potatoes hold more than six times the daily recommended intake of vitamin A in 1/2 a cup. Beta carotene keeps your skin healthy and acts as a natural sunblock. This may also protect us from cell death, sunburn and dry, wrinkled skin. High amounts of beta carotene can also turn our skin orange, contributing to a healthier complexion.

Red and Yellow Capsicum – An excellent source of beta carotene and vitamin C. Eating one cup of capsicum can provide us with 211% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C.

Broccoli – Broccoli is my favourite vegetable, holding many vitamins and minerals including zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C. Broccoli also contains lutein, a carotenoid like beta carotene, that protects our skin from oxidative damage, and sulforaphane, which have anti-cancer effects, protecting us from sun damage, neutralising harmful free radicals and switching on other protective systems in your body.

Tomato – A great source of vitamin C and carotenoids, including lycopene, which protects our skin from sun damage and can prevent wrinkling. Fat increases absorption of carotenoids, so you might like to eat tomato with extra virgin olive oil.

Soy – Containing isoflavones, a plant compound which either mimics or blocks estrogen in the body, soy may improve skin dryness, wrinkles, skin elasticity, and collagen, keeping our skin smooth and strong.

Dark Chocolate – The antioxidants within dark chocolate can help our skin appear thicker, smoother, more hydrated, less sensitive to sunburn, with a better blood flow. Choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa to ensure that you’re getting all of the benefits of dark chocolate, and keep added sugar to a minimum.

Green Tea – Helping to protect our skin from damage and ageing, green tea contains catechins, which work to improve skin health, including moisture, roughness, thickness, elasticity and redness from the sun. Don’t mix it with milk, as it can act block some of the nutrients and stop them from working at their optimal level.

Red Grapes – Containing resveratrol, a compound that comes from the skin of red rapes, they fight against the effects of ageing. Unfortunately, there is no proof that you can get the same benefits from drinking red wine. Increase your consumption of red grapes and berries instead.

Water – You should also drink 33mL of water for every kilo that you weight. That means, for someone weighing 80kgs, they should be drinking 2.4L per day. If you weigh 60kgs, you should be drinking 1.8L. So, that age old saying that we should drink 2L of water per day does hold some weight, but it’s not a one-size fits all type of deal.

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