I have always had the firm belief that the quality of our skin is determined not only by what we apply topically but also by our diet. If we eat a Big Mac three times a week, we can’t really expect to have perfectly healthy, glowing, blemish free skin – unless you’re one of those crazy lucky people. There are some very specific nutrients that our skin needs for it to be at its optimum, let’s get straight into it.
Free radicals, our environment is full of these pesky little critters! These are cells that are missing the electron part of their make- up and so they attack healthy cells (like the ones found in our skin) to try and steal their electron. This can have a very damaging effect. One of the many things free radicals do is make the natural oils in our skin rancid, this in turn starts to destroy our collagen and so we age faster. Prolonged or unprotected exposure to the sun accelerates the rate in which free radicals work – yet another reason to smother yourself in SPF every 4 hours! Before you lose all hope…enter the anti-oxidant! This is a group of vitamins and nutrients that basically counteract the effect of free radicals. It goes without saying that we want these free-radical-butt-kicking ninja’s in our system. Luckily for us, they are found in quite a few yummy foods. Berries are a very good source. The general rule of thumb is the darker, the better. You can also fight off free radicals as well as smooth your skins texture by eating dark chocolate – how awesome is that?! Another great source of anti-oxidant is the hugely hyped up green tea. It is said that drinking between 2 and 6 cups a day can help reduce sun damage as well as help fight off cancer.
Omega-3 which can be found in salmon and nuts is something we want to feed our skin on a regular basis. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that helps to moisturise our skin and keep it supple. It is also known to reduce inflammation (I can hear all of you with sensitive skin shouting yay!). Acne skins that are inflamed will also benefit from this great property. Another plus when it comes to nuts is that is full of fibre. This means that it helps the colon do its thang regularly. Why, you may ask, is this beneficial to our skins? Well, when the colon isn’t functioning as it should, it puts pressure on the skin to eliminate waste. This can then result in breakouts. Not ideal, so stock up on them nuts!
Remember how I said free radicals damage our collagen which makes us age faster? Good news – if you are already fighting the age-dragon, you can help your skin get back into collagen producing mode by getting your daily dose vitamin C. You can of course find this in oranges, but sweet potato is also a good source, plus it has less sugar and is Banting/Paleo friendly in small doses for those of you that follow that lifestyle.
With the Jozi winter approaching, I’m arming my skin with vitamin E to help prevent the dreaded dehydration. Your best bet here is avocado pear. I’m sure most of you also know that you can mush this up to make a great hair mask or, if you suffer from sensitivity you can apply it as a face mask to help soothe your angry skin. Winter also means dull skin – it just looks a bit grey and lifeless. A great way to boost your skin is to detox it. Hello natural yogurt! This is packed full of riboflavin (a form of vitamin B) and will help give you your glow back. If you suffer from acne or congestion, this could also help drain some of those nasty toxins.
So there you have it, next time you go grocery shopping, throw some of these super foods into your trolley, your skin will love you for it!