In the pursuit of luminous skin, always remember that beauty starts from within. It doesn’t matter what miracle your expensive ‘celebrity endorsed’ moisturiser promises if the food you eat lacks in nutrients needed for a radiant glow.
Good nutrition supports skin from a cellular level, and the amazing part is that your skin completely regenerates every month! That’s right, within just four weeks you can make a considerable difference to the way you look.
Lacklustre skin is often the result of poor food choices, stress, dehydration, pollution and not enough of the all-important beauty sleep. To get you started on the food side of things, here are my ten favourite foods for truly beautiful skin.
Beautiful in their own right, berries are abundant in skin-loving antioxidants that fight against premature ageing. For a calorie-free* nutrition boost, sprinkle berries over muesli, natural yoghurt or simply enjoy by the handful!
Thanks to an abundance of beta-carotene, carrots are not only good for your eyes but also for your skin! Beta-carotene helps to repair skin and can also give you a sun-kissed glow. Yes, really! Studies have suggested that people who eat more colourful foods (particularly those with an orange hue) have higher levels of organic pigments in their skin and are perceived to be more attractive.
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Rich in array of nutrients, broccoli is also a potent source of antioxidants that fight against skin-ageing free radicals. For a delicious veggie side, steam broccoli until tender and squeeze over some lemon juice.
4. Kiwi Fruit
As one of the richest sources of vitamin C, kiwi fruit can boost the production of collagen to help keep skin elastic and wrinkles at bay. Collagen is also an important building block in forming strong capillaries to guard against spider veins. Perfect as a snack on its own, tossed into fruit salad or as a muesli topper, just one kiwi fruit provides you with 100% of your vitamin C needs.
Salmon offers an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, which work wonders for your skin. Vibrant skin begins with healthy cell membranes, and good fats are needed for this.
What does this mean for you? Soft and hydrated, fabulous skin! Enjoy salmon (or other oily fish) at least twice a week to reap the benefits of this beauty superfood.
These blushing beauties contain lycopene – a powerful phytochemical with strong antioxidant properties. Research shows that lycopene can also help protect skin from the harmful effects of UV rays and sunburn1.
Now while this isn’t a reason to ditch the sunscreen, it’s great to know that the humble tomato can act as an internal SPF against the harsh Aussie sun. Cooked tomatoes contain even greater amounts of lycopene, so enjoy grilled tomato alongside poached eggs or serve pasta with a delicious tomato-based sauce. Try this breakfast recipe.
If you’re troubled by acne, it’s time to pass on refined carbs like those found in white bread and fruit juice. These ‘hit-and-run’ carbs give rise to roller-coaster blood glucose levels, which have been linked to an increase in skin breakouts. Australian research shows that low-GI diets, containing slow-release ‘smart carbs’ can actually reduce the symptoms of acne2. Along with other minimally processed wholegrains like quinoa and brown rice, oats are a fabulous source of ‘smart carbs’ and certainly make for a superb breakfast choice.
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Chock-full of healthy monounsaturated fats for plumper youthful skin, and vitamin E to shield against age accelerating free radicals. Avocado is a foodie favourite and is divine when added to wraps or used in colourful salads.
9. Pumpkin Seeds
These nutritional powerhouses are a terrific source of zinc – an essential mineral needed to promote skin renewal and prevent infection. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over colourful salads or use as a yoghurt topper for a delicious nutty crunch.
Not only are eggs are superb source of protein, which is vital for healthy skin; they also contain lutein (an antioxidant) for strong anti-ageing power and choline, (an essential nutrient) required for the production of skin-firming collagen.
* Berries contain negligible amounts of calories and don’t need to be counted in your daily allowance.
1 Wilhelm Stahl et. Al (2001). ‘Dietary Tomato Paste Protects against Ultraviolet Light-Induced Erythema in Humans’, The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 131, no. 5, pp. 1149-1451.
2 Smith, R et. al. (2007). ‘A low-glycemic-load diet improves symptoms in acne vulgaris patients: a randomized controlled trial’, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 86, pp. 107-115.