Top four foods that are good for your skin
Topical skin care products do a marvellous job of treating skin from the outside, but we need to nourish and protect our skin from the inside out, too – with foods that are good for our skin.
But what are the best foods for skin? Jenny Craig dietitian Karen Inge says the answer to youthful, healthy skin is the Clear Skin Diet, which encourages us to consume certain foods that boost our skin’s ability to fight against damage and promotes clear skin.
RELATED: Foods that can cause acne
“Many external factors can cause damage to our skin on a daily basis,” says Karen. (Read: UV rays and car emissions.) “These factors damage your natural collagen production, the network of fibres that keep your skin elasticised and wrinkle-free.”
According to Karen, to maintain clear, youthful-looking skin, we need to reduce the damage these factors cause. She says: “Nutrition plays a key role in not only helping protect the skin against damaging external factors, but also to enhance the functioning capabilities of the skin.”
But what are the Clear Skin Diet foods that help encourage a nourished, glowing complexion to surface each time our skin rejuvenates every 28 or so days? Try these four tasty foods – they're absolutely beneficial to the healthy functionality of your skin...
CLEAR SKIN DIET FOOD #1: carrots
If protecting your skin against skin cancer is high on your health agenda, snacking on carrots may help.
“Carrots are an excellent source of the anti-oxidant group called carotenoids, with the most common one being B-carotene,” explains Karen. “During prolonged exposure to UV rays, blood levels of B-carotene decrease to quite low levels, which can increase the risk of skin cancer.”
To use this natural protection to your advantage, studies suggest consuming 30mg B-carotene (around four carrots) per day for two weeks prior to increased sun exposure (read: beach holiday) to increase your B-carotene levels. Doing so may also increase the reflective capacity of the skin. This means, in combination with your broad-spectrum sunscreen, you'll increase your skin's sun protection.
CLEAR SKIN DIET FOOD #2: fish
Fish is renowned for calming inflammation and contains valuable dietary compounds for the skin.
“Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that combat free radicals, which ensures they do not damage collagen networks within the skin,” says Karen. “Omega-3 also has the ability to invade areas infected with pimples, helping to reduce inflammation.”
Better yet, studies have also confirmed the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids when it comes to reducing inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis and psoriasis. Karen explains: “Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are excellent sources of omega-3s, but need to be consumed around three times per week to ensure adequate intake.”
Don't like fish? Walnut oil, wheat germ oil, soy bean oil, canola oil, linseeds, walnuts and uncooked soybeans are fantastic omega-3-packed alternatives.
CLEAR SKIN DIET FOOD #3: citrus fruit
The citrus fruit family, which includes oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, mandarins, and tangelos, contain two compounds beneficial for skin health: vitamin C and limonene.
“Vitamin C retains the skin's elasticity by reconstructing the collagen network, ultimately helping to reduce loose skin,” says Karen. “The preservation of collagen networks also helps to ensure bruising is reduced.” Limonene, on the other hand, is an antioxidant present in the peel of citrus fruits in particular, and may help reduce the risk of skin cancer.
RELATED: Six foods not to put in your trolley
CLEAR SKIN DIET FOOD #4: soy
Soy has the wonderful ability to help keep your skin looking youthful. The phytoestrogens in foods containing soy (think soy drinks, tofu, soy and linseed bread) have been found to act like the hormone oestrogen, which helps to delay the onset of dry skin and wrinkling associated with the ageing process. And, as Karen explains, another important component present in soy products is vitamin E, which boosts new cell growth.
Have you heard of the Clear Skin Diet? Were you aware certain foods could protect your skin from external damage? Will you be upping your intake of these skin-friendly foods from now on?