One of the things I like to address in my consultations is how diet affects skin. So many people buy all the latest lotions and potions to put on their faces, but neglect what they put in their mouths. Or worse still, cut out certain food groups altogether, particularly fats. This is totally counterproductive! If you are one of those perpetual ‘dieters’ then read on!
As I tell my patients, it really is true that ‘you are what you eat’, particularly when it comes to skin. Our dietary habits may not show up on our skin overnight, but over time, they do make a difference. While a balanced diet is ultimately the best way to ensure healthy skin, there are many ‘superfoods’ that can give your skin a boost and help deal with specific skin issues. Here is our ‘cut out and keep’ guide to help you figure out what to eat when.
Acne prone skin
Zinc and Selenium are two minerals that are often low in people with acne. Try eating BRAZIL NUTS, PUMPKIN SEEDS, EGGS (particularly the egg yolk), and OYSTERS to boost your levels.
Recent studies suggest dairy and sugar can aggravate acne and cause breakouts. Try to cut down your intake and see if this makes a difference. Consider OAT MILK as a substitute for cow’s milk.
GREEN, NETTLE and BURDOCK teas are also worth trying for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation is the main process driving these skin conditions, which can all be improved by an anti-inflammatory diet. As well as the teas listed above, try including FLAXSEED, MACKAREL, SALMON, RED GRAPES (including the seeds), WALNUTS, SPINACH and BROCCOLI in your diet.
Mature skin can benefit from BEETROOT and LOW FAT YOGHURT, both of which are high in Vitamin A, essential for skin health. ARTICHOKE, ACAI BERRIES, BLACKBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES, STRAWBERRIES and PLUMS are all rich in antioxidants, which protect skin cells from free radical damage. AVOCADO and KIWI FRUIT are rich in vitamins C & E which help stimulate collagen as well as maintaining skin hydration.
Overall Skin Health
As boring as it may sound, and as much as we’ve heard it all before (!), in order to achieve the most luminous skin, we all need to aim for 6-8 glasses of WATER/day, as well as switching from white/processed foods to WHOLEGRAIN foods instead. Wholegrain and LOW GI foods help to stabilise our insulin levels, which in turn help prevent inflammation. Inflammation is the process that ultimately causes ageing and disease. COLD PRESSED/EXTRA VIRGIN or EXPELLAR PROCESSED OILS are the healthiest for skin, rich in essential fatty acids and also helping to keep the skin lubricated from within. Remember, we all need some fat in our diet –just make sure it’s good fat and you won’t go wrong. Finally, everyone can benefit from making GREEN TEA their drink of choice, given its high antioxidant and polyphenol content – and the Japanese and Chinese who are world’s biggest consumers of green tea, are living proof of its anti-ageing benefits!