Looking after what we eat is important both for our inner and outer beauty - finding out lots of information about nutrition and how different foods affect your body will help our skin stay younger, smoother and brighter. Cut down on sugars, fats, salt and carbs and move to eating more fresh and raw produce - we can also control specific skin and wellbeing issues through our diets. Does eating superfoods which are meant to be great for the skin really help, and if so what foods should these be?
1. Oily fish like salmon, anchovies and sardines. Omega 3 fatty acids which are found in certain fish are great for the skin and there are two major types of essential fats found in fishes which are DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid). EPA has been found to be good in reducing the damage done to the skin by the sun, it is also anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant so it keeps your skin clear and glowing. Try salmon baked in a parcel with a squeeze of lemon juice; sardines are a great budget friendly classic for a quick snack if you pair them with some brown bread; and anchovies are amazing when used in spreads, salads or blended in things like pesto.
2. Almonds. Almonds are a known superfood full of our favourite Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants which protect the skin, protein which is essential for healthy skin, Vitamin E which helps skin keep young and nourished, magnesium which helps relieve acne and calcium which helps your body absorb nutrients. Almonds are a great snack on their own, or in your morning muesli. We love using almonds in smoothies and have replaced most of our dairy milk with almonds milk - it's delicious and nutritious!
3. Blueberries. Blueberries are full of Vitamins A and B, and can help during acne as they normalise the oil levels on your skin, helping your skin stay clean and clear. These berries are a great antioxidant and taste delicious - use blueberries as a snack, blend in smoothies and throw on breakfast muesli.
4. Carrots. Carrots are full of Vitamin A and beta-carotine which helps skin tackle radiation, pollution and UV rays - for city slickers, these must be on top of the diet list. Carrots are best when they're raw - use them to dip into hummus, grate into salads or flapjacks, or chop them into stir-frys.
5. Tomatoes. Tomatoes are an amazing food to eat to when it comes to your skin because of a chemical called lycopene found in them. Lycopene soothes and nourishes the skin, protects it from harmful UV rays, helps your skin oxygenate (delaying ageing and wrinkles), keeps your skin glowing and some studies even suggest that lycopene can help reduce the risk of skin cancer. The thing with tomatoes is that you actually get more lycopene by cooking them so we always use fresh tomatoes to make homemade pasta sauces from scratch - that way you can control the amount of salt and sugar that goes into your foods, and get the pure goodness of the tomato.
6. Oranges and lemons. Vitamin C is a miracle worker when it comes to skin - it improves the skins colour to keep it glowing and helps your skin stay smooth, restores collagen in your body which prevents premature ageing, and keeps excess oils at bay. Orange peel can also be used to help reduce blackheads, spots and remove excess oil keeping your skin fresh. Lemon water is a excellent hydrating and refreshing, drink but it also helps your metabolism, detoxes and helps your skin stay clear.
7. Broccoli. Broccoli is full of Vitamins E and C, which we now know are great for the skin, but it also has a chemical called glucoraphanin. Glucoraphanin gets converted into sulforaphane resulting in healthy skin and repairing of skin damage, so eating broccoli renews your skin more quickly and gives your complexion a beautiful natural glow. Minerals like selenium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus present in dark green vegetables like broccoli can greatly improve your skin immune system protecting it from various skin infections.
Some foods to avoid if you have blemished skin or acne: rice cakes, sugar, milk, bad fats like the ones found in fried foods. It's all about making small changes in your diet like switching sweets and crisps for nuts and berries, and when you start noticing all the positive effects you will naturally want to continue. Eating healthy and fresh doesn't have to be boring so get creative with your food and use more fruit and veg when making your meals.