I think we can all agree it’s true that ‘you are what you eat’. You’ll know that overindulging can leave you feeling a little sluggish whereas eating a more balanced diet can give you a boost of energy. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and including nuts, seeds and beans in your favourite meals is a great way to keep your skin glowing. Let’s see what foods are good for skin, and how you can incorporate them into your everyday life.
Ok, put down the sweets and swap them for walnuts! They’re a great food for healthy skin as they’re a good source of essential fatty acids, the kind of fats our bodies can’t make for themselves.
They’re actually richer in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than most other nuts, and we need these fatty acids in our diet to help reduce inflammation and control skin conditions like eczema and maintain healthy cell structures.
Why not see if your local zero-waste store stocks walnuts. Then you can buy as little or as many as you like without the plastic packaging!
You probably already know avocados are high in healthy fats. These healthy fats play a key role in your skin’s health and it’s super essential to get enough of these fats into your diet, so your skin stays healthy.
Avocados are a great source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage, which basically means it helps slow down cellular ageing and reduce fine wrinkles.
You’ll also find a bunch of vitamin C in avocados which helps keep your skin strong and healthy.
- Sweet potatoes
I just love sweet potatoes because you can enjoy them in so many ways. They don’t feel like a health food so in a way they’re just like a treat!
Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta carotene and just one baked sweet potato serves more than six times your daily recommended intake of vitamin A. It helps keep your skin healthy and also acts as a natural sunblock (that doesn’t mean you don’t need sunscreen every day, you know what I say!).
- Red or yellow bell peppers
Bell peppers are another great source of beta carotene, so you can drop all the benefits from the sweet potato here too.
They’re also a fantastic source of vitamin C which is necessary when creating the protein collagen. Collagen is a protein responsible for skin elasticity and as you age your existing collagen breaks down, so any additional support from your diet is beneficial to your skin’s health.
Peppers are in season in May, June, August and September in the UK, so it’s the perfect time to explore your local farmer’s market and see if they have some delicious peppers for you to try.
- Dark chocolate
The effects of cocoa on your skin are pretty amazing. A study found that consuming cocoa powder high in antioxidants every day for 6-12 weeks resulted in more hydrated skin. Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds like another reason to reach for the chocolate bar!
The participants from the study also had less scaly and rough skin, were less sensitive to sunburn and had a better blood flow to their skin. More blood flow equals more nutrients to your skin.
When you do reach for that chocolate bar, make sure it’s made with at least 70% cocoa to maximise the benefits and keep the added sugar to a minimum.
- Fatty fish
I’ve mentioned omega-3 fatty acids before. And fatty fish like mackerel, salmon and herring are packed full of it. We need omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation, keep skin supple and moisturised. They also provide zinc, which is a vital mineral for regulating inflammation, overall skin health and the production of new skin cells.
These fatty fish are also a great source of vitamin E which is one of the most important antioxidants for your skin.
How to get omega-3 without fish
- Chia seeds
- Brussel sprouts
- Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are another great snack idea, and one that’s in season in the UK from about July to September! But really, nuts and seeds are great sources of skin-boosting nutrients.
Sunflower seeds are packed with vitamin E, which we already know as an important antioxidant for our skin!
What foods are bad for skin?
These factors can contribute to skin aging:
- Diets high in processed or refined sugars
- Other carbohydrates and unhealthy fats