Getting that summer glow starts with a healthy diet! Our skin is our largest organ, and its health is often an indicator of how well (or poorly) we are nourishing our bodies. While beauty products can seriously help in achieving that radiant glow (and I’ve included some of my favourites below), amazing skin starts from the inside out. Remember, you are what you eat, and your skin is no exception!
Here are my top foods to eat your way to your best skin EVER (the rest of your body will thank you too)!
1. Leafy Greens
Antioxidants in leafy greens (and olive oil) may protect against ultraviolet light and other environmental assaults that can break down collagen and elastin, the structural supports that keep skin plump and smooth. Toss some greens in some olive oil with a splash of your favourite vinegar for a quick side salad.
Rich in omega-3 fats and protein, salmon is a dream food for the skin. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish help keep skin-cell membranes strong and elastic, and salmon also contains astaxanthin, a carotenoid that improves skin elasticity (read: fights wrinkles). As an added benefit, omega-3 fats also help decrease inflammation, which helps decrease pimples, redness and premature wrinkles. Try it grilled on the BBQ with some fresh fruit salsa or just a squeeze of lemon.
3. Citrus & Red Peppers
Really, anything with vitamin C (including oranges) is what we’re after. Vitamin C is highly concentrated in our skin, and the aging process depletes vitamin C. The antioxidant activity of vitamin C protects against UV-induced damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C also regulates the production of collagen, a protein that gives your skin elasticity. For a healthy snack dip red pepper slices in hummus.
Protein helps repair cells that have suffered free radical damage due to the natural aging process and environmental factors (it is thought that organisms age because cells accumulate free radical damage over time). Eggs, a complete source of protein, also contain biotin, an essential vitamin that protects against dry skin. Why not start your day off with a poached egg on multigrain toast with slices of tomato and avocado?
This fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) is rich in vitamin C and E along with healthy monounsaturated fats, all GREAT for the skin. Don’t want to eat it? Mashed avocado makes an amazing natural face mask to help add moisture to the skin.
Tomatoes, along with olive oil and red wine, have antioxidants that help block the chemical reactions that lead to sun damage. Red wine contains resveratrol which is a powerful antioxidant that may aid in skin health, but consume in moderation. Alcohol may also lead to dehydration and if consumed in higher quantities, lead to free radical generation which can counter any potentially beneficial effects by breaking down collagen.
Good fats help signal your body to reduce inflammation and help in absorbing complexion-friendly antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins. They also help strengthen cell membranes, including your facial skin, for that dewy healthy glow. Walnuts are a great source of healthy fats including omega-3’s: add them to oatmeal or pack them as a snack with some dried blueberries.
Water often gets missed when we talk about nutrients, which is ironic since our bodies are approximately 60% water! While there is no consensus on exactly how much we should drink on a daily basis, aim for 8 cups. Thirst is a signal for dehydration, so do your skin a favour and carry a water bottle to stay on top of your hydration needs.
9. Essential Beauty Products
Ok, this has nothing to do with eating but good skin care is extremely important! Good sunscreen is a MUST, as is a regular exfoliating regime and application of hydrating moisturizers and oils to help keep skin firm and lock in moisture. This list could be massive but I’ve narrowed it down to my top picks.