It is a saying as old as time: “You are what you eat”, and it is no less accurate today. It is crucial to be aware of what you put in your body consciously. We have teamed up with registered dietician, Chandre Prangley to determine the do’s and don’ts when it comes to your diet and skincare.

B.Sc Dietetics
Chandré Prangley completed her B.Sc Dietetics and Postgraduate Diploma at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Afterward, she did locum work for numerous years at various Private practices and hospitals in Middelburg, Mossel Bay, and Cape Town, where I got involved in many fields of Dietetics namely Sports Dietetics.

Overview

Nutrition is one consideration that often gets overlooked when considering the best actions to take in pursuit of healthy skin. You are what you eat—the timeless adage is as applicable here as anywhere else. The foods you consume on a daily basis have great influence over the health of your skin. There are foods that you should eat in pursuit of better skin—and also foods that you shouldn’t eat. Let’s start with the good ones.

Foods That Are Good for Your Skin

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There are many foods out there that have the potential to indirectly benefit skin health. Vitamin and mineral content play an integral role in attributing the benefits of certain foods to any aspect of health. Below, you’ll find several foods that contain such nutritive factors that one can expect great benefits towards all things skin!

Daily Vitamins & Minerals

Fruits and vegetables are filled with many minerals and vitamins our bodies need to keep our immune system in check to avoid illnesses/infections.  Vitamins and minerals also play a key role for glowing skin. And it is vital to include at least 4-5 portions of fruits and veggies in our diet daily.

Foods like leafy greens, watermelon, and squash, are packed with vitamin A to help repair skin. Avocados, nuts, and seeds are excellent sources of Vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin to protect our skin against skin damage.

Let us take a closer look at some fruity options that are great sources of antioxidants. These goodie-goodie substances are especially important to prevent damage in our bodies which are often caused by the effects of free radicals.

Blueberries

Blueberries are known for their antioxidant factors which help to protect us from premature aging. These berries are rich in vitamin A which is used in many acne-related skin treatments they may also neutralize oil levels in your skin. This makes your skin healthier and less likely to accumulate sebum-helping to prevent skin congestion. The Vitamin C found in blueberries helps to strengthen blood vessels below the skin, and as a result, prevents the appearance of broken capillaries under your skin.

Kiwi

Kiwis are very rich in antioxidants as well as vitamin C. This will help to fight free radical activity. Kiwis are known to help the skin keep its firm and youthful appearance for longer and prevent early wrinkle formation. You can also use it as an exfoliator by simply peeling the kiwi and rubbing the inside of the peel all over your face for smooth and glowing skin.

Pineapples

Pineapples contain high sources of vitamin C, which helps to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin’s dermal layer. Some even use it as an exfoliator on the skin because it contains the enzyme – bromelain which dissolves dead skin cells and as a result gives your skin a softer and smoother texture. It is packed with amino acids that help with tissue repair and thus giving the skin a youthful appearance.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are found in oily skinned fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, pilchards, mackerel, and herring. These sources should be eaten at least twice a week and this assists with healthy glowing skin prevent inflammation in the body. The plant-based option of Omega 3 can also be used. Add some chia seeds or flax seeds to a delicious fruit, veggie smoothie to boost the omega 3 dosage.

Water & Hydration

We often focus too much on the dietary food aspects that we forget about fluids. Staying hydrated is essential for cell turnover, improving the metabolic rate, assisting with the digestive system, which in turn benefit skin health immensely. Water is the most important fluid to ingest daily. However, herbal teas such as green tea is a great option to stay hydrated and assists the immune system.

Nuts & Natural Nut Butters

Nuts, especially brazil nuts, are high in the mineral Selenium, which especially offers protection against UV rays exposure and damage. And in turn, it helps to prevent skin damage caused by UV rays such as skin pigmentation.

Fish (Vitamin D)

Vitamin D is the only nutrient your body produces when exposed to sunlight. Sunlight in moderation is definitely necessary, as Vitamin D3 has a key role in collagen maintenance. Wild-caught salmon is a fantastic source of Vitamin D and how lovely knowing that salmon sushi can be enjoyed guilt-free.

Cocoa (Antioxidant)

Dark chocolate contains a high concentration of antioxidants which helps your skin keep its healthy glow. Antioxidants fight free radical activity which prevents signs of premature aging on the skin. Dark chocolate helps to improve overall skin health by nourishing and moisturizing the skin.

Dark chocolate also offers sun protection properties, protecting our skin from harmful UV rays; this can help to prevent the onset of skin damage and skin cancer formation. And finally, dark chocolate can be used as an exfoliator (believe it or not). It helps to remove dead skin cells from the outer layer of our skin, thus giving your skin a radiant and youthful glow.

Foods That Are Bad for Your Skin

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Avoiding foods that are known to negatively impact skin health is an important consideration as well. In many ways, these foods can be regarded as opposites of the good foods for skin. Many of them result in more dehydrated skin and many produce reactive oxygen species known to worsen inflammation and slow healing. These are some of the biggest bad guys out there when it comes to fighting for healthier skin.

Sugar & Salt

Give it a try. Set the sugar aside and break this addiction, and you’ll feel the difference very quickly! Breakouts and wrinkles will have a harder time establishing themselves, besides which, you’ll feel a whole lot better.

According to the ultimate guide to collagen, sugar makes it harder for your kidney and liver to detox and filter the body, and as a result, lowers your collagen levels.

Processed sugars can cause inflammation and aggravate the skin. So cutting sugar and salt will not only help your waistline, but it will also reduce the puffiness and inflamed, tired look from your face.

Alcohol

Everyone knows that alcohol causes dehydration. When you are dehydrated, inevitably your skin will also be dried out and dull. Dry skin is the first step to premature wrinkles and fine lines. Dehydration also compromises the regenerative cycle your body needs during sleep which decreases normal cellular turnover and leads to an unhealthy, dull complexion Alcohol also dilates your pores of the skin, and as a result, can cause blackheads and breakouts. In addition, it can go on to cause inflamed skin papules and cystic acne which ages the skin and causes permanent scarring.

Avoid Fatty and Processed Foods

Trans fats, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates are the main triggers for inflammation caused by a diet that may affect the body, which therefore can impact skin health. It is, therefore, necessary to try and avoid these foods as best we can to avoid negative effects on the skin.

Healthy Skin in a Nutshell

In 400 B.C., the Greek physician Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine” said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates realized that food impacts a person’s health, body and mind to help prevent illness as well as maintain wellness.

So knowing this, we can definitely apply this to our own life and skincare health and realize that  “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” ~ La Rochefoucauld

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