What we eat can have a huge impact on our general health and wellbeing, but latest research suggests that it can also affect the health of our skin, reducing aging and helping to protect our skin from damage by outside factors.
In this blog we look at 12 of the best foods to keep skin healthy.
Avocados are high in good fats. Getting enough of these fats helps to keep skin flexible and moisturised.
A recent study of over 700 women found that those whose diet was rich in avocado had more supple and “springy” skin.
There is also some evidence that avocados can help prevent UV damage which is known to cause wrinkles and premature aging.
This green gem of a vegetable contains plenty of vitamins and minerals important for skin health, including vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc. It also contains lutein, which works in the same way as beta carotene, preventing skin from becoming dry and wrinkled.
The real star in broccoli is the floret, broccoli florets contain a compound called sulforaphane, which may have anti-cancer effects, including on some types of skin cancer.
Sulforaphane works in two ways: neutralizing harmful free radicals and switching on other protective systems in your body. In laboratory tests, sulforaphane was shown to reduce the number of skin cells UV light killed by as much as 29%, with protection lasting up to 48 hours.
Evidence suggests sulforaphane may also help maintain collagen levels in your skin.
3. Dark chocolate
Eating chocolate with 70% of more cocoa content has been found to be beneficial to skin.
In a recent study, participants experienced thicker, more hydrated skin after 6–12 weeks of consuming a cocoa powder high in antioxidants each day.
Participants reported that their skin was also less rough and scaly with a better blood flow, which is important to bring more nutrients to your skin.
4. Fatty fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, are excellent foods for healthy skin. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are proven to maintain skin health. These important acids help to help keep skin thick, supple, and moisturised.
A deficiency of omega-3 can even lead to dry skin,
The omega-3 fats reduce inflammation, which can cause redness and acne. They can even make your skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays
Fatty fish is also a source of vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant for your skin. Vitamin E helps protect your skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation.
Fish also provides, zinc, which is important for to help, overall skin health, controlling inflammation and producing new skin cells.
A zinc deficiency can lead to inflammation and prevent wounds from healing
5. Green tea
The powerful compounds found in green tea are called catechins and work to improve the health of your skin in several ways.
Green tea may help protect your skin from damage and aging.
One 12-week study involving 60 women found that drinking green tea daily could reduce redness from sun exposure by up to 25%.
Green tea also improved the moisture, roughness, thickness, and elasticity of their skin.
6. Red grapes
Red grapes are famous for containing resveratrol, a compound that comes from the skin of red grapes.
Resveratrol is credited with a wide range of health benefits, among them is reducing the effects of aging.
7. Red or yellow peppers
Peppers are another good source of of beta carotene, which is converted by your body into vitamin A.
Red or Yellow peppers are also a very good source of vitamin C. Studies show that eating vitamin C helps reduce wrinkles and improves dry skin.
Soy comes from soybeans which contain isoflavones. Isoflavones may benefit various parts of your body, including your skin.
A small study involving middle-aged women found that eating soy isoflavones every day for 8–12 weeks reduced fine wrinkles and improved skin elasticity.
Soy was also found to improve skin dryness and increase collagen in post-menopausal women.
If you choose to switch your tea of choice to green, drink it without milk, as there is evidence to suggest that milk you reduce the effect of green tea’s antioxidants.
9. Sunflower seeds
All nuts and seeds contain good sources of skin-boosting nutrients.
Sunflower seeds are one the of best examples as just 25g (1oz) contains nearly half of your recommended daily amount of Vitamin E and Selenium and around 15% of the daily recommended amount of Zinc. Nuts are also great sources of protein.
10. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of Beta carotene which convert into vitamin A in your body.
Beta carotene is also found in oranges and other common vegetables such as carrots and spinach.
Beta carotene helps to keep your skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock which may help to prevent sunburn. High amounts of beta carotene may also add a warm, orange colour to your skin, contributing to an overall healthier looking appearance.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C and contain beta carotene, lutein and lycopene, all of which have been shown to protect skin against sun damage. Because tomatoes are rich in carotenoids, they’re an excellent food for maintaining healthy skin.
Consider pairing carotenoid-rich foods like tomatoes with a source of fat, such as cheese or olive oil.
Fat increases your absorption of carotenoids so pairing carotenoid-rich foods with a source of fat such as cheese or olive oil will help ensure you achieve the maximum effect.
Walnuts are a good source of essential fatty acids, these are the type of fats that your body cannot make itself.
Compared to other nuts they are higher in both both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
A diet too high in omega-6 fats can cause inflammation, including inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis.
Omega-3 fats help to reduce inflammation in your body, including your skin.
Walnuts also contain zinc. Zinc is important for your skin to function properly as a barrier, to ensure wound healing and fight off bacteria and inflammation.
A final word
What you eat can significantly affect your skin health. Making sure you eat a varied, balanced and colourful diet will ensure you get enough essential nutrients to protect your skin. The foods discussed in this blog are great options to keep your skin healthy, strong, and can help prevent premature aging.