Following a good skincare regimen helps maintain healthy, glowing skin. You may be dealing with…
A good and healthy skin is a result. It’s a culmination of various factors such as diet, good sleep, exercise, natural skincare products and a healthy state of mind. In this article we are going to focus on one of those factors, food! We are going to look at some of the best foods to eat for healthy skin, as well as those not to eat.
List of foods to eat for healthy skin
Commonly known for improving eyesight, carrots are rich in potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin K and beta-carotene. They’re made up of over 86% water which is vital for keeping your skin hydrated and looking radiant. Beta-carotene, the pigment responsible for vibrant colors in vegetables, is abundant in carrots. It’s converted to vitamin A which is important for healthy skin, protection against UV rays and prevention of cell damage.
2. Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest oils out there. It is full of nutrients including vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant. It helps slow down or prevent cell damage caused by free radicals and unstable molecules therefore resulting in a healthy and glowing skin. Moreover, olive oil also contains linoleic acid which is essential for formation of ceramides. These are lipids or (mortar) that hold your skin’s natural barrier together. Ceramides help lock in moisture while keeping impurities out hence leaving your skin looking hydrated, vibrant and healthy.
Berries such as blueberries are rich in anthocyanin and vitamin C, which makes them one of the best foods to eat for healthy skin. They’re two crucial antioxidants that the body constantly requires. Anthocyanin is the dark pigment in blueberries which gives it its distinct color. Both antioxidants help reduce inflammation by neutralizing free radicals. This helps slow or reduce the signs of aging. Blueberries also contain vitamin K which is important in the first stage of wound healing (hemostasis).
Rich in lycopene, vitamin C and folate. Lycopene is a carotene found in red fruits and is a very well known dietary antioxidant. In tomatoes lycopene provides protection against damage caused by environmental pollutants and UV rays. To reap the most benefits from tomatoes (lycopene) it’s recommended to cook rather than eat them raw. This helps soften their thick cellular walls making them more bioavailable and much easier for your body to absorb phytonutrients.
Another best food to eat for healthy skin is Avocado. It’s a great source of Vitamin E, K, C omega 3 fatty acids and potassium among others. Potassium is responsible for all normal cell function and avocados have a higher amount compared to bananas. One of the main roles it plays in the body is to decrease sodium levels which in turn reduces water retention.
Interestingly, avocados do not contain cholesterol or sodium meaning they cannot raise the levels of bad cholesterol in your body. They’ll therefore keep your heart healthy and promote circulation. Finally, they enhance the absorption process of nutrients in your body.
Seeds such as almonds, walnuts and flax Seeds are good for skin. They contain zinc, one of the most important minerals the human body requires to stay healthy. Zinc is not stored in the body and therefore it needs to be ingested in order for it to improve your health. Once in the body zinc participates in more than 100 catalytic enzyme functions. Some of them include accelerated gut repair, improved digestion and wound healing.
Flax seeds are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). Studies have proven that diets rich in omega 3 fatty acids can help decrease acne lesions. They also fortify cell membranes, increase skin barrier function and moisturize your skin. Apart from that, ALAs positively affect the skin’s appearance and functionality.
7. Citrus fruits
These are rich sources of Vitamin C which help in collagen synthesis. Collagen is a protein and a major component of connective tissues. As we age, collagen production in the body reduces which explains why skin can look a bit dull. When you eat enough citrus fruits your body is able to create collagen which then makes your skin firmer and healthier. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant which protects your skin from free radical damage.
As the name suggests, watermelons have a high water content. Apart from the daily amount of water that you are required to drink, fruits such as watermelon can be a good source of hydration. Watermelon seeds are also a good source of nutrients which can help boost metabolism.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples are another great source of Vitamin C, polyphenols and fiber. They contain pectin which promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Make sure to eat the skin as well because a good amount of nutrients are stored there. Lastly, apples also help in lowering blood cholesterol levels and reducing the risks of heart diseases.
10. Green Leafy Vegetables
Kales, spinach and carrots among others contain Lutein, a carotenoid synthesized by plants. It’s a powerful antioxidant which reduces oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Last but not least, lutein provides protection from UV rays and improves eye health.
Other foods to eat for healthy skin
- Sweet potatoes
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Green peas
- Fatty fish
- Unsweetened dark chocolate
- Green tea
Foods to avoid for healthy skin
Skincare requires a holistic approach or mindset for you to have the best results. It all starts with what you ingest. Just like there are certain ingredients that’ll negatively impact your skin and potentially worsen pre existing conditions, there are certain foods that can come between you and flawless skin.
1. Processed Sugars
Unlike fruits which contain natural sugars and other important nutrients which the body requires, processed sugars and artificial sweeteners contain very little to no nutritional value at all. When consumed in high contents they become detrimental to the skin and other organs because of their high glycemic index.
The excessive sugars then lead to a spike in insulin levels in the blood. This then leads to a process called glycation, which is when a sugar molecule attaches to a protein. In this case, the surplus sugar links or bonds to elastin and collagen thus weakening them. After some time the skin starts to display signs of aging, sagging and wrinkling.
2. Refined Foods
Refined foods such as refined grains and processed meat among others, can also affect your skin. To begin with, refined grains are stripped off of some nutrients in order to extend shelf life. Therefore, instead of consuming them in large quantities, opt for a healthier option in whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa just to name a few. They contain the germ, bran and endosperm which are packed with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins.
On the other hand, refined meats are high in sulfite and sodium content which could increase water retention, aggravate t-helper cells leading to inflammation and eczema. Lastly, refined foods can also cause an imbalance in your gut bacteria which has been shown to impact the skin’s microbiome.