Below are some dietary tips to maintain beautiful hydrated and healthy skin from within:
- Ensure your cells stay hydrated
- Eat low GI
- Eat your fats
- Eat an antioxidant rich diet
- Get your vitamins
- Ensure protein rich diet
Ensure Your Cells Stay Hydrated
Ensuring your skin is hydrated is important in achieving healthy looking skin. When water is lost from the skin surface it is called trans epidermal water loss (TEWL), fatty acids which make up skin lipids work to reduce TEWL. Ensuring the skin remains hydrated and your skin barrier remains un-compromised. Drinking plenty of water and including healthy fats in your diet like avocado, fatty fish and nuts can help keep your skin nourished and hydrated. Additionally, food contains fluid, so include water rich foods such as cucumber, tomatoes, melon, lettuce, and peaches, they have the added benefit of providing you fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Bonus!
Eat Low GI
GI is the glycemic index; this is a system used to rate foods containing carbohydrates. The index shows how your blood sugar (glucose) level is affected by foods when eaten.
Foods with a high GI include white bread, white rice, potatoes, sugary foods, and drinks. The carbohydrates in these foods are broken down quickly in your body and can cause an increase in blood glucose. Do avoid sugary fizzy drinks, they have no nutritional value and instead opt for sugar free. However, there is no need to cut out white carbs from your diet.
Instead, ensure your meals are balanced, if you enjoy eating white bread, pasta or rice include a protein, fat source or vegetables. The fibre, fats and protein all work together to reduce the overall GI value of your meal. Alternatively choose a wholegrain option which will add fibre and again reduce the GI value of your meal.
Wholegrain foods, fruit, vegetables, beans, and lentils are all low GI foods that should be included as part of a healthy balanced diet. Not all high GI foods are unhealthy and not all low GI foods are healthy. It is all about the balance and the amount that you eat.
Eat Your Fats
Two layers of fat surround each of your skin cells. These layers of fat make up the cell walls and is called the phospholipid bilayer. Dietary fats are incorporated in this layer, which is essential in giving the appearance of healthy, youthful skin.
Oily fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Including oily fish in your diet can be beneficial as omega-3 has been shown to help with keeping the skin looking plump, reducing inflammation, and helping the body create new healthy cells. Other dietary fats to include are mono and poly unsaturated fats, these protect your heart and increase your HDL cholesterol – the good one!
Other sources of healthy fats are avocados and nuts, they are high in healthy fats. Walnuts are an especially good source of essential fatty acids. These are fats which the body cannot make itself.
Seeds are another good source of healthy fats. They are full of skin-boosting nutrients. Sunflower seeds and flax seeds are good examples of these. A simple way to add seeds into your diet is by adding them to salads and other meals, you can also grind fresh flax seeds into smoothies as a way to add more omega-3 into your diet.
Eat An Antioxidant Rich Diet
Antioxidants can help maintain healthy skin by protecting against photo-damage, preventing wrinkles and inflammation.
Carotenoids are antioxidants which have many health benefits. They can protect the skin from free radicals and sun exposure. Good sources of carotenoids are carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers, spinach, and papayas. Tomatoes contain all the major carotenoids; lycopene is one of these. Lycopene as well as other carotenoids can protect your skin against sun damage and have the ability to help prevent skin wrinkles.
Top tip, include Extra Virgin Olive oil when eating colourful vegetables for this will increase the absorption of skin healthy fat soluble Vitamins and Antioxidants!
Flavonoids can be found in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, and beverages. They are great antioxidants and including them in your diet is a great way to keep your body healthy. Including flavonoids in your diet also decreases your chances of experiencing certain health conditions. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids.
Catechins are a flavonoid which works to improve the health of your skin. They boost blood flow to the skin which ensures the skin cells are receiving fresh oxygen and nutrients maintaining their health. Catechins can be found in tea and is particularly rich in green tea, providing antioxidant benefits like protecting against photo-damage and maintaining your skins health.
Another way to get antioxidants into your diet is to include berries. There are lots of ways to add berries into your diet, they can be added to your breakfast, as a snack throughout the day or as a healthy dessert. Berries contain anthocyanins, naturally produced pigments which give berries their beautiful colours.
Polyphenols are another type of antioxidant you can benefit from having in your diet. Sources include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cocoa and other processed foods, extra virgin olive oil, tea, coffee, and red wine.
Get Your Vitamins
Fruits and vegetables are great nutritious sources of vitamins. Vitamin C is important for the synthesis of collagen, keeping your skin looking youthful. Of course, you can apply Vitamin C topically but having a diet rich in Vitamin C will also assist your skin from within. Fruits and vegetables like kiwi, mango, broccoli, tomatoes, and peppers are rich in Vitamin C.
Vitamin E is another important vitamin to have in your diet. This powerful antioxidant helps to protect your skin against free radicals and inflammation. A good source of vitamin E is fatty fish which also provides you with zinc. For your skin to maintain its function as a barrier, zinc is essential. It helps to regulate inflammation, skin health and the production of new skin cells. Zinc can also help in the healing of wounds and combating bacteria.
You may know Vitamin A as Retinol and know that it is good for your skin when applied topically but it also has benefits when included in your diet. It can assist your immune system to ensure it keeps you healthy, can help your vision in dim light and can help keep your skin healthy. Food sources of vitamin A include cheese, eggs, and oily fish. You can also get vitamin A from yellow, red, and green fruits and vegetables including spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, papaya, and apricots.
Everyone in the UK and Northern Europe should also be supplementing their diet with a Vitamin D supplement, we don’t synthesis enough from sunlight, nor do we consume enough via our diet.
Ensure Protein Rich Diet
Having a protein rich diet can help you to maintain healthy skin. Protein is essential for healthy looking, plump, youthful skin as it is one of the building blocks of skin tissue. Animal sources of protein like eggs, chicken and fish contain amino acids which the body is not able to produce. These amino acids can help with the body’s construction of collagen, making your skin appear more youthful.
Or if you are eating less animal products including tofu and protein rich mycoprotein will protein to your cells. Although note if you are Vegan or Vegetarian to include vitamin B12 in supplement form, which is only found in animal products.