Eat your way to healthy skin

Winter is bad for your skin. Lack of sunlight, cold blasts of freezing air, drying central heating systems and open fires can leave us looking pale and pasty and suffering from a multitude of breakouts. So is there any way to mitigate the damage? Here, Nikki looks at foods to make us look and feel better.

The appearance of our skin reveals how healthy we are.

We can tell if a person is tired, poorly, young, old or bursting with vitality, simply from looking at their face.

And we can also tell a lot about their diet.

You see, the foods we consume have a direct impact on the clarity and condition of our skin.

So it stands to reason therefore that if you want to change what is happening on the outside, you need to look at what’s going on inside.

The miracle of food

Diet can play a huge role in managing skin conditions.

For example, with skin issues like acne, eczema, and psoriasis, the redness and irritation you see is caused by inflammation.

You may have taken Ibuprofen in the past to fight against inflammation, but the body has its own natural anti-inflammatory compounds.

And some foods – for example oily fish – can help the body make these compounds.

There is also a lot to be said about the healing qualities of orange food.

I know that sounds rather vague but actually orange coloured fruit and veg like carrots, sweet potatoes, and mangoes get their vibrant color from a compound called beta carotene – an antioxidant that protects the proteins in our skin that keep it supple.

Adding zinc to your diet is another quick fix to improving skin the appearance of your skin.

For starters it helps even out oil production but it also helps speed up the rate at which wounds and infections heal so it works wonders on acne.

Fresh or frozen prawns are a great source of this nutrient.

Onions and garlic are also packed with nutrients that help our skin cells. They contain sulphur which strengthens the fibrous strands in our skin, which helps skin cells hold their shape, reducing wrinkles and sagging.

A recipe for beauty

Of course some skin conditions need medical intervention.

But it is always worth altering your diet and trying a combination of new foods to see if it makes a difference.

Here I have compiled a list of my top foods for skin healing.

  • Nuts – full of zinc and selenium nuts these help to actively increase the number of infection-fighting white blood cells in the body and strengthens their fighting power. They also contain vitamin E, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium and iron – all essential to skin health and function.
  • Tomatoes – rich in vitamin C, which helps to keep the skin firm and taut by aiding collagen production.
  • Watercress – a powerful cleansing agent, nourishing the skin while helping to flush out toxins and excess fluids in the process.
  • Fennel – a liquorice-flavoured root vegetable which reduces swelling in the body.
  • Red Grapes – have been shown to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. As a natural antihistamine, grapes can also help to control the side effects of allergic reactions.
  • Beetroot – high in vitamin A, as well as potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E, which is essential for epidermal health and healing.
  • Nettles – taken in tea, capsule or soup for they have an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to calm the skin and improve conditions like eczema and acne. They’re also extremely detoxifying.
  • Berries – packed with skin clearing antioxidants and fibre.
  • Peppermint – known for its potent healing and calming properties. Not only can it help to aid digestion, relieve stress – a common acne aggravator – treat headaches and clear sinuses, but it’s seriously good for the skin, too.
  • Brown Rice – it has been suggested that steady blood sugar levels and skin health could be linked, so it makes sense to try swapping out processed white carbohydrates for brown, wholegrain, low glycemic index foods like brown rice.
  • Kale – contains a full range of vitamins A, B complex, C, E and K, as well as potent levels of manganese, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, protein, folate and phosphorus. A real skin-clearing tonic.
  • Avocado – a great source of vitamin E, which boosts the skin’s vitality and luminosity.
  • Broccoli – full of vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and K which help revive damaged tissue.
  • Artichoke – frequently used as an herbal remedy in creams and cosmetics because of their high antioxidant potency.
  • Green Tea – drinking anti-oxidant polyphenol-rich green tea will improve your skin and boost your beauty.
  • Oysters – expect to find everything from vitamin A to zinc and selenium in these bite-sized beauty bombs.

And don’t forget

You need to up the amount of water you drink. There is nothing better to flush out toxins and rehydrate the skin cells than eight glasses of water a day.

It is, without a doubt, one of the best, cheapest and most effective ways to improve your complexion.

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