In a recent survey 95% of us said that our skin affects how they feel. Hormones and stress wreak play havoc with our complexions, and sun exposure certainly plays its part too, but recent research now shows that diet is one of the overriding factors when it comes to our skin health. Here, we give you a few food rules that will get you glowing from head to toe and because we know that with many of these things it is easier said than done, we also give you a few top tips as to how to actually put these food suggestions into practice…
The Power of Antioxidants
We hear so much about antioxidants these days, but there is good reason why. Certain antioxidants target specific free-radicals, so it is best to eat a broad spectrum of foods containing these powerful little molecules. A study conducted at the University of Illinois revealed that the addition of antioxidants such as vitamins E or C into the diet can help prevent skin cancer and keep skin firm and young looking. When it comes to giving our skin an antioxidant-rich diet a clue to what’s good for you is in the colour. Try to pimp your plate out with as many colours as you can and you’ll be getting a broad range of different vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy glow. We love carrots (vitamin E), red bell peppers (full of vitamins A,C and E), lycopene watermelon and tomatoes, vitamin K packed Kale, kiwis for their vitamin C content, blueberries and nuts like almonds, walnuts and brazil nuts and even raw cacao.
Top Tip: We like our antioxidants served raw as the cooking process tends to make them less nutritionally rich. Why not make a delicious superfood salad.
Eat Now: Om Bar, chocolate enlightenment in a delicious snack size, http://www.ombar.co.uk. The ultimate good mood food!
If it’s White, it’s Probably Not Right
We have heard it many times before, but we will say it again. White carbohydrates are terrible agers and when it comes to our skin, plus they are also linked with causing spots. This is largely down to the amount of sugars that are in white carbs such as bread, pasta, rice, muffins etc. Volunteers who ate a high-carb diet for one week experienced a 20% increase in their levels of adrogens (a “male” hormone that stimulates oil glands and cause acne) where as a group of volunteers who had a diet high in protein had balanced blood sugar levels and lower levels of androgens. White Carbs are also broken down into glucose which stimulates enzymes that break own collagen and elastic tissue resulting in… you guessed it… wrinkles!
Top Tip: Try cutting out all processed carbohydrates for just one week and just see how great you will feel.
Eat now: If you like your carbs then swap pasta and potatoes for butternut squash or sweet potatoes as they are much lower in GI and so are broken down much slower.
Loose the Booze
Similar to the white carb story, booze also contains a lot of sugar, which when broken down eats away at all your lovely collagen which is what keeps the skin youthful. Alcohol is also incredibly dehydrating, which effects every part of you including your skin. And what’s more, alcohol puts a huge strain on your liver, the body’s cleansing organ.
Top Tip: Join the #SoberOctoer movement where you give up booze for a whole month. It’s not to late to start now!
Eat Now: Craving alcohol? This could mean that you are lacking in protein so perhaps introduce nuts as a snack and have more fish in your mealtimes.
Eat Your Water
Models often claim that drinking lots of water is what keeps their skin looking fresh, clear and glowy. And drinking lots of water is certainly one good way to keep your skin looking hydrated. However, Dr. Howard Murad claims that an even better way to improve your skin is to eat your water. In his book, The Water Secret, Dr Murad demonstrates that the key to youthful looking skin lies in maintaing strong cells that retain water the way that the younger cells do. The best way to do this? Eating your water not drinking it. That is, eating delicious nutritionally-packed foods that also contain lots of water. He also claims that the majority of your cells regenerate themselves within ten weeks – so it wo’t take long for you to notice the change.
Top Tip: Eat raw. Boiling vegetables actually leads to water loss because the heat breaks down the cell membranes and allows some of the water to leak out from the plant cells.
Eat Now: Cucumber, zucchini, melons, strawberries – they all are over 95% water.
Image taken from Pinterest