Radiance from within
Did you know that what you eat has an impact on your skin complexion and that you can eat your way to gorgeous glowing skin? The skin requires a rich variety of micronutrients to stay in optimum condition, from potent antioxidant vitamins to essential minerals. A balanced diet packed with all these goodies is key if you want to ward off the signs of ageing, minimise breakouts and get that luminous complexion of your dreams.“What you eat can affect the appearance of your skin,” says celebrity dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe of London's Cranley Clinic. “People with a poor diet that lacks in minerals and vitamins but is high in glycaemic foods such as refined sugars, are likely to have a pasty, uneven complexion.”You'll be doing your skin a massive favour by steering clear of refined carbs – sugary treats, white bread, that sort of thing – cutting down on alcohol and making sure you drink at least two litres of water a day. But if you're really keen to maximise your radiance, these complexion-fixing foods are calling your name.
Take a look at 20 of the most effective skin-saving foods, find out how they impact the skin and consider filling your shopping basket with these complexion-enhancing foods.
Bursting with peptides and potent antioxidants, the humble artichoke is a skin-saving wonder veggie. As well as boosting collagen production, artichokes contain a flavonoid called silymarin, which has been shown to exhibit skin cancer-fighting properties. Artichokes also act as a natural diuretic to flush out toxins, enhancing skin luminosity and reducing puffiness.
Carrots get their orange hue from beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor that has been proven to protect the skin from sun damage and perk up overall tone – a 2012 study by the University of St Andrews showed that a diet rich in beta-carotene can improve radiance, giving the complexion a healthy glow.
Vitamin C is crucial for collagen production – a diet lacking in this antioxidant vitamin will wreak havoc on the complexion. Keep those levels up by munching a kiwifruit a day. A single kiwifruit contains 130% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, the phytochemical responsible for the red hue. A turbo-charged antioxidant, lycopene has been shown to improve skin elasticity, help protect the skin from damaging UV rays and regulate hormone activity, thus minimising acne breakouts.
If your skin is on the reactive side, try increasing your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel. These fatty acids act as a natural anti-inflammatory, soothing and plumping the complexion from within.
6. Chia Seeds
If you're vegetarian or not a fan of fish, try sprinkling some chia seeds over anything from cereal to salads. Chia seeds are crammed with Omega-3 fatty acids, along with essential minerals that are super-beneficial for the skin.
Not into getting seeds stuck in your teeth? Chock-full of skin-protecting vitamin E, avocados are also a bountiful source of essential fatty acids.
8. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are the richest natural source of selenium, a trace mineral that improves elasticity and helps protect the skin from sun damage. You need to be careful not to overdo it however – selenium can be toxic at high doses – so keep your intake low-ish at just a handful of Brazil nuts a week.
9. Red peppers
Gram for gram, red peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges, making them great collagen helpers. They also have their fair share of complexion-fixing antioxidant minerals, including firming silica.
Not only renowned for their aphrodisiacal properties, oysters are famed for their zinc content, the highest of any food. Zinc is important for wound healing and helps protect the skin from environmental damage, so maintaining optimum levels will do your complexion a lot of good.
Plagued by puffy skin? Munch a banana or two. Bananas are packed with potassium, a mineral that helps deal with water retention by balancing out salt levels in the body.
A decent source of antioxidant vitamins A, B and C, as well as minerals like magnesium, potassium, manganese and silica, cucumbers are fantastic for the complexion, and their high water content will help keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
Kale is a bone fide powerhouse of nutrition, providing a wide spectrum of antioxidants, from abundant vitamin C to high levels of vitamin K, kaempferol and quercetin, which all help to repair and protect the skin.
If you're prone to breakouts, it may be an idea to up your garlic intake. Garlic is a rich source of allicin, a natural antibiotic that can help minimise mild acne.
Rocket is a nutritional superstar and its peppery leaves rock some of the highest antioxidant levels of any vegetable, mopping up free radical damage and helping to the strengthen the skin.
Up there with the most effective superfoods, broccoli is one of our fave go-to skin foods. It offers antioxidants in abundance, including glucoraphanin, a phytochemical that has been shown to repair sun-damaged skin.
Blueberries get their deep colour from anthocyanins, powerful bioflavonoids that possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to protect and rejuvenate the skin.
18. Brown Rice
Ditching refined carbs for slow-release wholegrains or brown rice will help you avoid sugar spikes that can mess with your complexion.
They may not seem like an obvious skin superfood but onions can help firm the skin, thanks to their high sulphur content. Sulphur is essential for the formation of collagen, so it's essential to get your RDA if you want a smooth, supple complexion.
20. Dark Chocolate
Proper chocolate, the minimum 70% cocoa solids kind, not rubbish sugar-laden bars, is high in flavonols, beneficial compounds that help soften the skin and protect against UV damage.
Superfoods you need to try
Step aside acai, kale & quinoa. Check out these fresh new superfoods to try that are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals & fibre.