Real beauty shines from within. More than just a metaphor, this simple phrase holds all sorts of truths to it, the kind that blend the all natural into beauty, the very same kind that promote the idea of a healthy lifestyle to go hand in hand with a complete skincare routine, emphasizing that the outside is just a mere reflection of the inside. So in order for your skin to be healthy, supple, clear and luminous, it needs proper hydration, and a mix of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to work from within in helping it gain that ultimate glow.
Starting this season, you should rethink beauty by nourishing your body from the inside out, and then following up on the outside with some DIY face masks using only natural ingredients.
Below, the 9 things you need to get into your diet in order to have healthy, beautiful skin.
Why are they important: Antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and enzymes (proteins inside your body) that can help to prevent and repair damage to your body’s tissue. Antioxidants do this by slowing or preventing the effect of free radicals.
When it comes to caring for your skin, antioxidants help protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun from the inside out by guarding your cells from damage. But no single antioxidant alone can protect the body, as most people should eat 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
What to eat: You’ll find plenty of antioxidants in summer fruits like berries, raspberries, blackberries, but also in tangerines and apricots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and peppers, beets, squash, spinach etc.
Omega-3 fatty acids.
Why are they important: The good fats are responsible for the health of the cell membrane, with the foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids known to help reduce the body’s production of inflammatory compounds – natural chemicals involved in the aging process, that affect how healthy the skin looks and feels.
Omega-3 fats help regulate your skin’s oil production, thus combating dry skin and inflammatory conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
What to eat: These Omega-3 fats are especially abundant in cold water fatty fish such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, anchovies, and black cod, among many others. You’ll also find them in flaxseed oil, linseed, chia seeds and walnuts.
Why is it important: The third most abundant mineral in your body, Sulfur is present in every cell, playing an important role in your body’s proper vitamin conversion, detoxification, and helping the body produce collagen, which keeps the skin looking soft and supple.
The depletion of sulfur with age causes wrinkles and age spots, that’s why is important to get enough sulfur in your diet and replenish your skin cells externally.
What to eat: The primary dietary sources of sulfur are fish, free-range poultry, egg yolks, garlic and onions, alongside broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts.
Why is it important: Vitamin C provides potent antioxidant protection, shielding the skin from damaging free radicals (sun damage, pollution and oxygen) and helping boost healthy collagen production (it’s what keeps your skin firm and supple), reduce inflammation and irritation, fade post-breakout red marks by improving skin’s natural healing response, and reduce the appearance of brown spots (sun damage).
What to eat: Opt for whole foods over supplements and pick up your daily dose of Vitamin C in citrus fruits, strawberries, mango, broccoli, chilli, green and red bell peppers, kale, papaya.
Why is it important: Zinc is an essential mineral that is an imperative part of many physiological functions, known to help accelerate the renewal of the skin cells and control the production of oil in the skin. Zinc assists in the proper structure of proteins and cell membranes, improves wound healing, has anti-inflammatory effects, and protects against UV radiation.
What to eat: Dietary sources of zinc are best absorbed from pumpkin seeds, nuts and oats, but also from oysters, eggs and red meat.
Why is it important: Maintaining a balance between good and bad bacteria in the body has benefits beyond the digestive tract, affecting the health and appearance of the skin. Consuming probiotics, or the “good bacteria” in foods may help improve your skin’s overall appearance, seeing how beautiful skin reflects a healthy gut.
What to eat: To help your skin stay healthy make sure to include yogurt, kefir and buttermilk, as well as fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, natto, sourdough bread, tempeh, into your diet.
Why is it important: Selenium is an antioxidant mineral responsible for tissue elasticity. It also acts to prevent cell damage by free radicals and helps skin in its defense against the harm of UV rays.
What to eat: The best food sources for selenium are Brazil nuts (eating just 2-3 Brazil nuts per day provides the adequate selenium intake for most people), alongside eggs, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, mushrooms, crab, oysters etc.
Why is it important: Vitamin A works by normalising skin functions so it corrects all skin conditions. It also thickens and stimulates the dermis – where your collagen, elastin and blood vessels are – so it reduces wrinkles and increases blood flow to the surface of the skin. Vitamin A actually increases the deposition of collagen, therefore it slows the normal aging breakdown of your collagen and elastin.
What to eat: Good sources of Vitamin A include eggs, leafy greens, milk, carrots, pumpkins, oranges, cantaloupes and liver.
Why is it important: Vitamin E is perhaps the most well-known vitamin that is essential for healthy skin and that is because Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in your body. But although Vitamin E is one of the most powerful antioxidants, your body can’t produce it, which means you have to make sure you’re getting enough of this valuable nutrient in your diet.
What to eat: Vitamin E can be found in foods like olives, sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, wheat germ and leafy greens.
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