Eating a healthy diet can make a big difference to your skin, sometimes even more so than the products you use on it. Read on for tips on choosing the right foods for good skin.
“Your skin is the largest organ in your body and skin cells are renewed every 15 to 30 days,” nutritionist Fiona Hunter tells us. “If your diet is even marginally deficient in any of the key nutrients, your body doesn’t have all the right building blocks to make healthy new skin cells. This is very quickly reflected in the condition of your skin.”
The right vitamins and minerals – such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, zinc and iron – all protect the skin, improve elasticity and help healing. They can be found in fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses, grains and meat. But that’s not the whole story: your skin also needs protein, found in lean meat, chicken and fish, and omega-3 fatty acids, found in oil-rich fish.
If these don’t sound like the type of foods you normally eat, don’t go for a complete overhaul all at once – it’s more difficult to stick to. Try introducing a couple of new things a week and experimenting with new recipes. To give yourself the best chance at making long-term changes, go with what appeals in the supermarket rather than forcing yourself to eat something you don’t like the look of.
Fiona’s Top Tips for Healthy Skin
- “Say no to crash diets: they tend to be deficient in key nutrients, and when body weight yo-yos, skin loses elasticity and can start to sag.”
- “Fruit and vegetables are your skin’s best friends. Plant-based foods are the best source of antioxidants that can help neutralise the effect of free radicals. Free radicals are formed when molecules break up, and have been linked with ageing and wrinkles.”
- “Don’t be afraid of fat. Foods like oil-rich fish, avocados, nuts and seeds contain essential fatty acids which the body can’t make; these can help improve skin’s elasticity.”
- “Keep skin hydrated: moisturise from within by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water.”
- “Snack sensibly. Low GI snacks like nuts, seeds and dried fruits will release glucose more slowly and steadily, which can help balance blood sugar levels as well as provide you with skin-friendly nutrients.”