Does my diet affect how my skin behaves? Well, if you believe that you are what you eat, then ... yes, absolutely! Happy healthy skin, like a healthy mind, always starts with nourishment from within. Eating a balance of foods can feed your skin with the optimal levels of nutrients that are crucial to keep it supple, smooth and radiant.
In fact, a balanced diet and simple skincare routine go hand in hand; like two peas in a pod, they're perfect partners for healthy skin. Now, you're thinking, “you’re going to ask me to live like a nun and stop eating everything I love, aren’t you?”. Right? Thankfully, the answer is a big, juicy “No!”. In this journal post we take a look at some of the tasty fruits and veggies which you'll actually want to be building into your 5-a-day.
6 vitamins, minerals and fatty acids
When we’re talking nourishment for your skin, it’s all about finding ways to boost your intake of powerhouse nutrients; vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. They're key to healthy living, not least healthy skin, so let’s get started on what your skin needs, why it needs it and where you can find them to eat.
Foods rich in Vitamin C:
Why? Vitamin C is a really good antioxidant that helps our bodies to fight the harmful effects of the UV radiation. Not only useful to reduce the internal effects of the sun, it also enhances collagen production; meaning it’s one of your body's natural allies in preventing and reducing the appearance of wrinkles in aged skin. So… two pieces of food rich in Vitamin C a day keeps the wrinkles away. Or at least in check.
Where? Citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, brussel sprouts.
Foods rich fatty acids:
Why? Fats? "No, ta!" you're thinking. Well, not always… As you may already know, not all fats are bad or unhealthy. In fact, Omega 3 fatty acids are really important for a healthy body and glowing skin. These fatty acids are involved in the production of lipids found in cell membranes and in the regulation of blood pressure and inflammatory responses. If not enough, the Harvard Medical School even found that the anti-inflammatory properties of certain fatty acids can help improve mental wellbeing and may even help relief depression. So that’s all grand, but what about the skin?
Well, when eaten, omega-3 is known to help regulate skin's oil production, subdue breakouts and improve balanced hydration. The lack of sufficient omega-3 intake could make your skin become dry and irritated. It’s common to think of cod-liver oil and omega-3 in the same boat. So the question is, are these fatty acids only found in fish and other animals? Well, while it’s true that cold-water fatty fish like salmon and sardines are especially high quantities of this fatty acid, there are some omega-3 rich alternatives for veggie lovers.
Where? Flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, edamame, seaweed and algae.
Foods rich in Vitamin E:
Why? This vitamin is also considered to be another potent antioxidant that helps protect our skin and body from the damage caused by sun exposure. Vitamin E works by reducing the effects the free radicals from UV radiation have on our organism. It’s a nutrient that helps strengthen the immune system and supports your cells ability to regenerate. For those reasons, a good intake of vitamin E can make your skin look younger and more dewy.
Where? Sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin, red bell peppers, asparagus, avocado.
Foods rich in Vitamin A:
Why? This nutrient has nourishing benefits. Promoting natural hydration enhances radiance. A sufficient intake of these types of foods through diet can also help avoid your skin getting dry and rough. Together with the vitamin E it also helps in the protection of the immune system.
Where? Sweet potato, winter squash, kale, collards.
*PS take into account that if cooked the percentage content of vitamin in some vegetables is actually higher. You can read more about it here.
Foods rich in zinc:
Why? Zinc ‘eh? Why do we need that? Well, like vitamin C, zinc is essential for not only reducing the harmful effects of the free radicals caused by sun and pollution on our skin but also in helping with the formation of collagen and keratin; two essentials for fighting the appearance of wrinkles and having tighter skin.
Where? Nuts, lentils, beans, peas, dark chocolate (yes you read that right), pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds.
Foods rich in selenium:
Why? Selena who? This mineral works in a very similar way to vitamin E; slowing the signs of aging. How's that? Well, the intake of selenium is said to protect the outer layers of the skin from UV-induced cell damage, reduces skin inflammation and pigmentation. All of can benefit the skin by further reducing the appearance of wrinkles and helping your skin to maintain it’s natural smoothness and luminosity
Where?: Brazil nuts, broccoli, chia seeds, barley, sunflower seeds.
So, there you have it. 6 nutrients that are good for body, mind and skin. They’re tasty too. And if broccoli isn’t your thing, you’re not short on alternatives :)
So, key take-outs? A good balanced diet and simple regime go hand in hand if you want to live in your best skin. If you’re short on ideas for how to whip up a storm in the kitchen using these ingredients, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Check out our journal post for 3 vegan dishes you can make at home.