What we put IN our face is just as important – if not more – than what we put ON our face! There are certain nutrients that are critical for great skin and indeed some of these are utilised in skin care products to look younger now. e.g vitamin C. Here is a list of the top 10 face foods to enhance the skin, what they have in them and some tips on how you can include them in your healthy eating plan.
Here are the top 10 face foods
Why? Rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids.
Vitamin E is one of the main antioxidants (neutralises harmful free radicals, reduces inflammation and protecst cell membranes) hence it can slow down ageing of skin cells.
It is known to reduce the appearance of scars and is needed for cell maintenance.
Oleic acid, a monounsatured fatty acid found in avocadoes is also important for skin health.
Tips – include fresh avocado in salads, dips- e.g. guacamole, smoothies e.g mix in a blender with banana and coconut milk-yum!
Why? Silicone, vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium
Silicone strengthens connective tissue so helps improve the appearance of wrinkles and also causes skin to glow. Magnesium also helps to reduce acne (as do many other nutrients like omega 3 oils, vitamin A and zinc).
Tips – salads, veggie juices, snack- dip with hoummous / tzatziki / yoghurt.
Why? Rich in minerals – iron,calcium,magnesium,manganese,potassium, vitamins A,Bs and C, folic acid.
The high antioxidant content helps prevent cell damage and gives youthful skin and body. Beetroot is also a great liver detoxifier- which will also help to get rid of toxins that can dull the skin.
Tips – grated in salads, add to veggie juice- esp carrot and ginger.
4. Sweet potatoes
Why? Beta-carotene rich (precursor to Vitamin A ), Vitamin C.
Beta-carotene is a really important anti oxidant. It helps to protect against sun damage, redness and sunburn.
Vitamin C is needed for collagen production- hence helps to smooth out wrinkles and creases. Carrots are also rich in beta carotene.
Tips – roasted with other veggies,makes a yummy curry (with peas or other veggies), carrot juice (mix with ginger and beetroot).
Why? Rich in Vitamin E. Magnesium, monounsaturated fatty acids. Almonds also have anti oxidant properties and this protects again sun damage. Studies have shown that volunteers who consumed of 14mg of vitamin E (approx. 20 almonds) and were exposed to UV light got less sunburn than those who had nothing.
Tips- have as a healthy snack in between meals, chopped or ground almonds in porridge / cereal.
Why? Lycopene, silicone, Vitamins A and C
Lycopene is a phytochemical that gives tomatoes their red colour and is powerful antioxidant that helps the skin get rid of free radicals caused by the UV rays. Hence, tomatoes can help skin to look younger and healthier.
Silicone is an important mineral needed for skin, hair and nails. It reduces wrinkles and helps towards glowing skin.
7. Brazil Nuts
Why? Rich source of selenium. A daily serving of about 4 nuts gives the total recommended daily amount of selenium- another really important mineral for the skin, promoting skin elasticity, it has antioxidant properties – so reducing ageing and also reduces acne.
Tips- as part of healthy nut/seed snack. Grind with almonds and walnuts as a topping for cereal / porridge. (Dare I say dark chocolate coated brazil nuts?!)
8. Dark chocolate
May I officially brand this as a medicine?!
Cocoa in its purest form has high levels of flavonols- powerful antioxidants and other nutrients like zinc, Cocoa is hydrating so it helps with skin suppleness and firmness.
Tips- Dark chocolate should preferably be 85% (at least 70%). Caution – 2 small squares will do!
9. Fish oil, Flax/ Sunflower seeds and walnuts
Why? Rich in Omega 3 oils (EPA, DHA) – helps to reduce lines and clear blemishes so great for clear skin. They are thought to help attract water into the cells and so make them plump and hence reduce the wrinkles.
Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, anchovies, and sardines as the most potent choices for clear skin
For vegetarians, flax seeds and walnuts are a great alternative for obtaining omega 3 oils. The copper in walnuts also aids collagen production. Sunflower seeds are also rich in Vitamin E, essential fatty acids, zinc, Vitamin B1. Zinc promotes elasticity in the skin, reduces acne, wrinkles and stretch marks. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E keep skin protected from the sun.
A study in the British Journal of Nutrition stated that participants who had 2g flax seeds had better hydrated skin and less redness/irritation 6 weeks later compared to those who consumed none.
Why? Rich source of many antioxidants- phenols, ellagitannins, anthocyanins, vitamin CThese have been shown to protect cell structure. Vitamin C helps collagen production and helps to keep the skin firm and strengthen capillaries. Studies have shown that people on diets high in vitamin C had less wrinkles.
All berries have their own benefits though- so aim to eat a variety of different coloured berries.
Other good sources of skin enhancing vitamin C foods are mangoes, kiwi fruit, and peppers. Studies have shown that people who consume yellow and green veggies tend to have less wrinkles. Anthocyanins and other antioxidants are also found in purple/red foods like acai, pomegranates, purple carrots, black grapes, and beetroot.
Last but not least, a reminder about WATER ! An absolute key to beautiful skin. The first signs of dehydration would show in the skin as the body needs to use whatever water it has for other vital functions. Individual needs vary but aim for around 2-3 litres.
In general, a balanced lifestyle that includes a healthy nutrition plan consisting of adequate fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds, good fats and protein and water – as well as minimising/cutting out refined sugars, alcohol & caffeine will all help to ensure good overall healthy skin. And of course, movement and relaxation is also on that essential list!