We’re are all aware of the benefits attached to eating more fruit, stocking up on vegetables and balancing our intake of proteins and carbohydrates. But did you know adding healthy greens to your diet is beneficial to the preservation of your skin?
Clinical nutritionist, Sally-Ann Creed, says eggs are packed with protein, omega-3 fats and choline, all of which are essential to healthy skin. ‘Omega-3 fats are a prerequisite for skin health. Protein builds and repairs, while choline forms an important component of many fat-containing structures in cell membranes.’ Eggs are also rich in Vitamin A and selenium, both of which will help you get beautiful skin.
OLIVE OIL OLÉ
It’s time to drizzle extra olive oil on your daily salad. ‘Olive oil is known as one of the natural moisturisers for healthy skin – both in externally-applied lotions, and taken daily on salads and on food,’ says Creed. ‘It’s rich in antioxidants like Vitamin E and can inhibit oxidative stress on the skin.’ Just a note: It’s important that you use only extra-virgin or organic olive oil to avoid the sprays and pesticides used in ordinary olive oil, which can affect your skin’s health.
According to nutritional therapist, Lynne Brown, adding nourishing green vegetables into your daily meals will help repair and protect your skin. ‘Green, leafy vegetables, particularly spinach, are all rich in anti-oxidant nutrients such as beta-carotene, Vitamin E and Vitamin C, which help to protect the skin against free radical damage caused by the elements and pollutants. These anti-oxidants support the skins natural repair systems and slow down the ageing process.’
‘Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help improve blood flow to the skin, decrease inflammation and keep skin nourished, hydrated and radiant,’ says Brown. Don’t be put off by the word fatty because omega-3 plays an important role in the maintenance of beautiful skin. Tip: Opt for salmon if you don’t know which fish to choose. According to Brown, salmon also contains dimethylethanolamine (DMAE), which, by increasing muscle tone, subsequently decreases the appearance of sagging, causing the skin to look plump, younger and firmer.
A HANDFUL OF NUTS, A SPRINKING OF SEEDS
According to nutritional therapist, Carol Murrell, nuts and seeds can help keep skin supple and glowing. ‘They are rich sources of zinc and amino acids, which are vital for the production of collagen, the protein that "plumps-up" skin and helps to keep it youthful.’ Nuts and seeds also contain the powerful anti-oxidant properties of Vitamin E, as well as the waterproof protection barrier offered in omega-3 and 6 essential fatty acids, says Murrell. Go ahead and grab a handful.
Add a splash of red, orange, and yellow to your diet, as colourful fruits and vegetables can benefit your skin’s health. Jenkins suggests fruits such as papaya, which not only contain collagen-promoting Vitamins A and C, but Vitamin A’s precursor, beta-carotene, a compound essential to maintaining healthy and beautiful skin. Watermelon, butternut, squash, carrots, mangoes, apricots, berries and sweet potatoes are all packed with beta-carotene, while oranges and tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C.
There is nothing your skin enjoys more than a glass of water. According to clinical nutritionist, Jill Fraser Halkett, don’t hold back when it comes to your H20 intake. ‘Drink eight glasses of distilled water every day. This is the most important "skin food" that passes your lips.’
Avoid white, refined grains in foods like white bread or white rice and opt for whole, unrefined grains found in whole grain bread, pasta, cereals or brown rice. ‘Choose unrefined grains, and if it all possible, go organic to protect your skin from accumulating high levels of unwanted chemicals,’ advises Fraser Halkett.
Flaxseed oil contains omega-3 and 6, which above keeping toxins at bay and nutrients within the skin cells, protects the skin against sun damage. So before you head off to perfect your tan, increase your flaxseed intake. For more of those essential fatty acids, add some flaxseed oil to your mid-afternoon salad or sandwich.