There are plenty of skin care products and aesthetic treatments out there and the skincare market is huge. Understandably, people care about their appearance and are willing to spend to achieve their aims.
Research suggests there may be ways to encourage healthy skin through the other thing we spend money on every day – the food we eat. So, if our diets could really have an impact in terms of nourishing our skin, we need to know what the skin-friendly foods are.
- The skin care market is huge with a large choice of products and treatments available.
- Research suggests that our diets can have a positive impact on skin.
- Which foods are thought to nourish the skin?
For many of us, what we use on for our daily skincare regimes and the facial aesthetics we invest in are very important. We put a great deal of thought into the products we buy and the treatments we choose. But the benefits of facial products and treatments can still be enhanced by improving our health from the inside.
Obviously, the products we apply work from the outside in, whereas the food we eat works from the inside out. We are recommended to watch our intake of refined sugar and processed foods as by the time we eat them, not only they have been stripped of their original nutrients, they can also cause inflammation and oxidative stress and counteract other efforts to eat more healthily. The more preservatives, added sugars, and chemicals our foods contain, the further away they are from a healthy diet.
The way to nourish skin cells specifically is to feed them omega-rich fatty acids, healthy fats, and vitamins, especially C, A, and E, and foods that are generally rich in nutrients and antioxidants, all of which can be achieved through the food choices we make.
To create the healthy internal conditions to support our immune systems we should be eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. These foods don’t cause the same inflammation as processed foods and refined carbs and so the benefits of this are reflected in our largest and most visible organ – the skin.
So which foods are on the list?
If we can eat 5 different portions of colourful fruit and veg per day it’s a great start. Orange coloured fruit and veg contain beta-carotene, and spinach, papaya and kale contain the antioxidant lutein. Any leafy green veg is full of nutrients while garlic is also really good because it’s prebiotic and the allicin in garlic helps regulate blood pressure.
Vitamin C is great for skin health because it supports the body’s natural collagen production, strengthens capillaries, and helps to repair any sun damage our skin gets. All citrus fruits, blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, papaya, strawberries, and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C. In addition, pomegranates contain a substance called punicalagin that helps to preserve collagen.
Vitamin E is crucial because it helps protect the skin from cell damage. Hazelnuts, almonds, and avocados are a great source of vitamin E, as are fatty fish like salmon, trout, sardines, and mackerel. Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E and zinc.
Macadamia nuts are high in omega-9 fatty acids (metabolism-boosting and good for the heart) and vitamin E. Walnuts contain B complex vitamins, vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin, and protein which all support healthy cells. Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and one 2011 study suggested that flaxseed oil reduced skin sensitivity in female participants.
Macadamia nuts are high in mono and saturated acids which can also boost metabolism while Brazil nuts contain selenium – a powerful antioxidant that works alongside vitamins C and E to protect against age spots and sun damage.
In fact, nuts and seeds in general are great for the skin as they are rich sources of antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds and pistachio nuts contain phytochemicals that help keep the heart healthy.
Basically, the message is to eat low-sugar, low refined-carb whole foods with a broad range of brightly coloured fruit and veg (try not to overdo fruit sugars), nuts and seeds, and for women, phyt-oestrogens found in soya help support the skin’s structure.
Although factors such as age, genetics, hormone levels, and lifestyle choices inevitably have an effect, nourishing skin from the inside out through the food choices we make can really make a difference.