Do you wish your skin was clear, calm and youthful? You don’t need to spend hundreds or even thousands on skin treatments, masks and cosmetic procedures – it all starts with some simple nutrition tweaks.
If you’re after healthy, glowing skin, this is what you want to focus on.
Simple Nutrition Tips For Healthy, Glowing Skin
Drink plenty of fresh filtered water
It might be on the surface, but your skin relies on what your body provides just like any other organ in the body. For healthy skin, it needs plenty of nutrition, functional detoxification pathways and of course hydration. And all of these essential mechanisms rely on having plenty of water in the body.
Dehydration can contribute to a host of skin-related symptoms including:
Dry, itchy or rough skin
Fragile skin that is easily damaged
So do your skin a favour and go drink a big glass of water ASAP!
Don’t fear fats
Or at least don’t fear healthy fats – think fats such as avocado, ghee, coconut oil & olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in fish.
Essential fatty acids build the membranes of your cells, keeping them happy and healthy. Plus they also support the skin’s natural barrier, helping to keep your skin hydrated, plumper, and younger looking.
Omega 3s have some additional benefits to offer. For example, they can protect against sun damage & reduce inflammation. For those who dislike fish or are plant-based, you can include chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds and walnuts.
But do avoid this fat at all costs!
The one type of fat that can sabotage your skin health? Industrial trans fats – aka vegetable oils that are chemically altered to be solid at room temperature. Trans fats can drive systemic inflammation, which is bad news for your skin.
You’ll find these fats in highly processed foods, take-away (particularly fried food from restaurants that reuse frying oil!) and any food that lists ‘partially hydrogenated oil’ as an ingredient.
Unfortunately, in Australia, manufacturers are not required to declare trans fats on the nutrition label. The only time they must list it is if they make a nutrition content claim about cholesterol, saturated, trans, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, or any of the omega fatty acids.
So your best bet is to stick to a diet of 80-90% wholefoods, and choose your ‘treat’ foods wisely.
Up the vitamin E
All vitamins & minerals benefit your skin in one way or another, but if I had to pick out one super-nutrient to touch on, it would have to be vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient, meaning you need to consume it with fat to absorb the goodness. It has anti-inflammatory properties, counteracts UV damage thanks to its antioxidant properties, and reduces premature ageing and cell damage.
How can you increase your intake? Through plant-based foods that are rich in healthy fats. Reach for almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds and avocado. The best part is that these contain fat already, so your body will absorb more of the vitamin E.
Eat your fruit & veg
Fruit and vegetables have so much to offer us in terms of health benefits. But when it comes to skin, the biggest benefit is as a source of antioxidants.
For example, beta-carotene, found in orange and yellow produce, protects your skin against UV rays and premature ageing. Other antioxidants that support healthy skin include vitamin C, lutein and lycopene.
The easiest way to make sure that you get plenty of skin-loving antioxidants? Choose a variety of different coloured fruits & veg – this will give you a wide spectrum of antioxidants (not to mention plenty of fibre, vitamins & minerals!)
Start from the inside out
One of the most important steps you can take for your skin is to optimise your internal health – particularly your gut. If you think about it, your digestive tract is responsible for:
Digesting nutrients so they are able to be absorbed
Absorbing nutrients into the bloodstream
Removing toxins and excess hormones that can affect your skin
Supporting your immune system (including the regulation of inflammation)
In fact, all of the other tips listed above rely on these actions to happen. So if you’re going to do just one thing for your skin’s sake, it has to be focusing on a healthy gut.
Need some tips on how to get your insides balanced again? Make sure you give this article a read.
Susie Garden | Clinical Nutritionist & Naturopath
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