Good nutrition is the foundation for a healthy body, sharp mind, and the energy required to get you through your day. So many foods are heralded for their ability to build strong bones, improve cardiac health, or maintain blood glucose levels. Those are all great and necessary aspects of health. But you may wonder what you can do to nourish and protect the skin that houses the whole package that is your body.
Since the first thing others notice is your face, it is only natural to want to present a face that is fresh, youthful, and glowing with health.
Your diet contributes to the health of your skin as well as your other body systems.
Here are 12 foods you can indulge in to keep that fresh glow.
Fruits are rich in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage by free radicals. This means that not only will your skin be protected from the ravages of free radicals, so will your heart and your brain.
The fruits richest in antioxidants are those that have vibrant colors. Colourful blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries all contain powerful antioxidants. So do vibrant purple grapes, shiny red apples, and bright red tomatoes.
Leafy and dark green vegetables also contain powerful antioxidants that can contribute to healthier, younger-looking skin.
Broccoli contains vitamin C, vitamin A, and zinc, which are important for healthy skin. Studies show that a diet rich in the phytonutrients from plants can help protect skin against sun damage.
Flavonoids, beta carotene, lycopene, and lutein are some of the nutrients that help in the fight against damage caused by the sun’s rays.
Choose vibrant vegetables like dark green spinach, bright orange sweet potatoes, and collard greens for a healthy body and younger-looking skin.
3. Fatty Fish
Fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the inflammation caused by exposure to the sun’s rays and decrease the risk of skin cancer.
Indulging in fatty fish twice a week will treat your skin to the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids while also providing your body with the healthy fats it needs for optimal function.
Vitamin E provided by these fish is also an antioxidant that can protect your skin from free radicals.
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil is another source of vitamin E, which protects against tissue damage. Olive oil contains polyphenols that not only improve the health of your skin, but also prevent heart damage, cancer, and inflammation.
No matter how good your skin looks, you need to be healthy enough to enjoy it. In addition to eating foods cooked with olive oil, you can use it topically.
Apply olive oil as a moisturizer or rub it into fingernails to revive dry, brittle nails.
Black beans are rich in anthocyanins, antioxidants which prevent cell damage. Soybeans contain isoflavones, which have been studied for possible anti-aging effects.
Beans and other legumes, which include lentils and chickpeas, are also good sources of nutrients such as iron, potassium, folate, and magnesium.
These nutrients are important for the maintenance of healthy skin and tissues. Legumes are also a rich source of protein, the building blocks for the body’s cells.
6. Green Tea
Green tea is made from the unoxidized leaves of the same plant, Camellia sinensis, that makes black tea. Since the leaves have not been oxidized, they are powerful storehouses of the antioxidants that prevent cellular damage.
This means drinking green tea is another delicious way to prevent cancer, heart disease, and inflammatory diseases. It also means green tea can help your skin retain the youthful glow and firmness that signal good health.
Enjoy a refreshing, icy cold bottle of green tea on the go. Or curl up at the end of a long day with a soothing, hot cup of green tea and a good book.
The almond is a tiny powerhouse packed with fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants. A one-ounce serving of this nut provides six grams of protein.
It also contains manganese, magnesium, and a whopping 37 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin E.
Almonds provide nutrients that rejuvenate your skin from the inside out. Additionally, almonds are included in beauty products such as topical lotions, moisturizers, lip balms, and bath gels.
8. Acai Berries
The acai berry comes from palm trees in subtropical areas of Central and South America. They have become wildly popular and touted as a “superfood” for their high concentrations of phytochemical antioxidants.
While these berries may not be any more “super” than other anthocyanin-rich fruit, they make tasty smoothies. For an extra boost of antioxidant power, enjoy an acai bowl topped with fresh strawberries, slivered almonds, and blueberries.
Turmeric is a vibrant orange-gold spice that livens up the flavour of Asian foods such as curry. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties of this spice contribute to the glow of healthy skin.
Turmeric may decrease inflammation and redness of skin conditions including acne. Turmeric may also help to decrease puffiness and discoloration under the eyes.
This fermented beverage is a probiotic, similar to yogurt, that helps maintain a healthy digestive system. The probiotic microorganisms help keep your gut populated with the good bacteria that promote good health.
In addition to the positive effect on your gut, this leads to a healthy effect on your immune system and your skin.
11. Dark Chocolate
Of course we know that fruits and vegetables are good for our bodies, including our skin. It’s always nice to hear that a treat like dark chocolate has health benefits as well.
Dark chocolate, containing 70 percent or more of cacao, is another powerful antioxidant. The phytonutrients in cocoa, called flavonoids, actually help the skin reflect UV light, preventing skin damage.
The best part is that dark chocolate should be eaten often in order to achieve this effect. Nibble on a piece of dark chocolate each day or whip up some delicious hot cocoa made with raw cacao powder to treat your taste buds and your skin.
When choosing foods to pamper your skin, don’t forget the benefits of water. Just as a large percentage of your body is made up of water, so are your skin cells.
When your skin cells become dehydrated, your skin becomes dry, tight, and loses its elasticity. Plump up your skin cells by keeping a bottle of water on hand to sip from throughout the day.
If plain water seems too bland, add a squeeze of lemon. Boil a cup of water and add green tea leaves for a delicious way to hydrate your skin and treat it to antioxidants at the same time.