Foods To Make Your Skin Glow!
I can feel Spring in the air, and even better still I am starting to get that sense that Summer will be here sooner than we think! The last few months have passed by in a whirlwind of work, kid’s dramas and pending changes in my home life. I feel the dust is just starting to settle and I have also started to take more note of my body’s yearning for the wealth of fresh and delicious foods it was used to before the chaos hit.
I am sad to admit that the last few months have consisted of way too many convenience foods, Vegemite on toast and not much else. The variety has diminished, the colour has faded and as a result, I am left feeling weak, emotional and seriously lacking in glow!
This week however, marks a major turning point for me and I am super excited. We have lived in the same house for over 7 years and we are now moving into a home that will provide us with the space to grow and the space I need to explore my food passions. It’s going to be the fresh start we all need.
So where will I start? Well, generally eating healthier is a given, but where I really want to start is with my skin. I feel it has become dull and dry, I look tired and I certainly have lost my glow. I have had breakouts on and off and feel a little like a teenager who has been eating way too much fast food.
My ‘go to’ of course, is and always will be food. Food has the power to transform our bodies and nourish our minds and souls in a very short period of time. I have seen it over and over again. I remember a wise doctor once told me when your health is suffering and you don’t know what else to do, turn to your food.
Your skin is nourished from the inside-out more so than from the outside in. I no longer use harmful chemicals on my skin in an attempt to make it feel or look better as I know that it is a short-term fix, plus it was slowly filling my body with chemicals. I guess I have learned with age that you really are what you eat, but sometimes life gets the better of me and I stray from what I know works for me.
Therefore, I hereby declare that I will refocus on what makes me feel good and nourish my body to improve the condition of my skin (as a very first step). And, here is how I intend to do it!
How To Make Your Skin Glow
Drink lots of water
We all know it but we so often get so busy with our lives that we forget… set a goal to drink 8 glasses of water per day!
I have worked out, after a few months of trial and error, that the ideal amount of sleep I need to wake up feeling great is 7.5 hours. Any more or any less and I feel sluggish and struggle to get out of bed. Sleep is essential for your body to heal and repair, so make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep and you will certainly start seeing the effect inside and out.
Eat Omega 3 rich foods
Omega 3 fatty acids are vital to keep your skin supple and can aid in an array of skin conditions from acne to wrinkles. They have a direct impact on skin structure and appearance, so try adding chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts and would you believe brussel sprouts to your daily diet.
Increase the antioxidants
Antioxidants protect your skin by limiting the production of skin-damaging free radicals. They are essential to reduce the signs of aging and have a positive impact on the appearance of your skin. Reach for blueberries, prunes, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes, cherries, kale, spinach and once again, surprisingly, brussel sprouts.
Focus on consuming foods high in Vitamins C & E
Vitamin C is found in high levels in both the outer and inner layers of the skin, which is why it is essential for skin health. It protects against the sun’s harmful UV rays by reducing cell damage and increasing healing. It also wards off signs of ageing and is vital for collagen synthesis. It is also great for healing damaged skin and repairing and preventing dry skin. Fortunately, there are heaps of plant-based foods to choose from that are high in vitamin C – guava, yellow peppers, blackcurrants, kale, kiwi fruit, broccoli, brussel sprouts, lemons, strawberries, and oranges… just to name a few.
Vitamin E, like Vitamin C, is an antioxidant. It also protects against sun damage, and helps prevent dark spots and wrinkles. It is particularly helpful for dry skin and the treatment of skin inflammation. Vitamin E is rich in sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, avocado, red peppers, mango, kiwi fruit and many more.
Consume high Zinc foods
Zinc is vital to help your skin heal and rejuvenate. It helps protect your body against infection, reduces inflammation and encourages the production of new cells. A lot of our cereals are fortified with zinc, however you can also find it in beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, oats and nutritional yeast.
Silica is a mineral which is not often spoken about, but it is one that we have discovered plays an important role in skin health. Silica is one of the main ingredients in collagen. It will help tone and soften your skin. It also helps rebuild and regenerate collagen and can reduce the occurrence of acne. You can find silica in unrefined whole grains such as oats, barley, rice and wheat bran, as well as avocados, cucumbers, asparagus, spinach root vegetables, and strawberries.
Exercise increases the blood flow to your skin and in doing so delivers oxygen and nutrients to the working cells. It helps to carry away any waste products including free radicals. It also has the side effect of decreasing stress which can indirectly impact the condition of your skin.
Minimise the sugars, junk foods and processed foods
Too much of these foods can have a significant negative impact on your skin health. So, let’s start with sugar. Sugars can break down collagen and elastin, will make your skin look dull and can cause wrinkles over time. Grrrr… I know but it is what it is! Junk foods and processed foods are usually high is salt and bad fats which is why they should only be consumed in moderation. For glowing skin though, try skipping them altogether. Salts dehydrate your skin and dehydrated skin is prone to wrinkles and ageing. And finally those bad fats! Trans fats cause inflammation and when there is inflammation on the inside, it has to come out somewhere… and unfortunately, it most commonly is visible in the skin.
Cut back on the coffee
Coffee is dehydrating, there is no way around it. Try to minimise your consumption to see the positive effects on your skin, or at the very least follow up your cup of coffee with a large glass of water.
As you can see from the information above, a plant-based diet is one of the easiest ways to improve your skin health. In researching this topic, I did not come across suggestions that animal products were good for your skin (excluding the need for Omega 3s although as you now know, these can be obtained from plant-based sources). In fact, the research seems to suggest that animal products cause inflammation, and that inflammation usually results in poor skin appearance.
So, embrace the new Spring season and widen your food horizons to get that healthy skin glow! I know I certainly will.