Eat Your Way to Beautiful Skin
This is the sort of advice we love to read – that some of our favourite foods can improve our skin as well! We asked nutritionist Caroline Farrell to tell us what foods in particular combat skin ageing, and she was happy to help. Do you have many of these foods in your diet already?
Ten tips for great looking skin
- Eat more citrus fruit. Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen healing and skin repair. It may also protect against damage from the sun. According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women over 40 with the highest amounts of vitamin C in their diet were eleven per cent less likely to develop wrinkles than those with low levels.
- Eat sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene which is converted into Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A has long been noted to have anti-wrinkle properties, and is commonly used in the cosmetics industry as a topical anti-wrinkle agent. Women with a wrinkled appearance have been shown to have a lower dietary vitamin A.
- Eat more cooked tomatoes. These contain lycopene, which protects the skin from the free radicals that can cause these signs of ageing. It also improves the skins ability to protect itself from the harmful UV rays of the sun, which is another cause of ageing. Lycopene is also found in other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons and papayas (but not strawberries or cherries). Cooking increases the bioavailability of lycopene, so opt for cooked tomatoes e.g. in sauces and soups.
- Increase cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables, such as bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radishes, turnip, and watercress, are all rich sources of glucosinolates. When you eat foods with glucosinolates, enzymes in the liver are activated. These enzymes help eliminate toxic molecules from the body. Research shows that eating just 1 portion of these vegetables five times a week has been shown to be effective. A portion is equal to ½ cup of broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage or 1 cup of kale/watercress. What’s important to note is that boiling and microwaving can reduce the glucosinolate content of cruciferous vegetables so it’s best to enjoy them steamed.
- Snack on almonds. Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a key antioxidant in the skin, helping to promote skin elasticity, and reduce wrinkling. If you’re not keen on whole almonds try almond butter instead.
- Eat more salmon. Salmon contains omega 3 fatty acids which reduce your skin’s inflammatory response to toxins and ultraviolet light. This ultimately leads to fewer wrinkles. Other sources of Omega 3 fatty are mackerel, sardines, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
- Cut down on the carbs. A large study of 4,025 women found that those who ate more carbohydrates increased their risk of wrinkles by 36%. Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars called glucose, and absorbed into the blood stream. Excess glucose in the bloodstream causes a process known as glycation. This is where glucose combines with proteins like collagen, changing its structure. As a result, the skin becomes saggy and wrinkly.
- Enjoy a little dark chocolate. A UK study has shown that eating a couple of squares of dark chocolate every day helps to prevent wrinkles caused by ultraviolet light in the sun’s rays. This is due to the high content of antioxidants known as flavanols in dark chocolate. Choose a very dark chocolate – minimum 70%.
- Eat more curries. Spices used in curries are rich in antioxidants which can reduce inflammation and prevent ageing.
- Switch to green tea. Several studies have shown that catechins in green tea may protect the skin from sun damage and wrinkles.
Nutritionist Caroline Farrell offers private nutrition consultations London and via Skype. She works with clients to develop personalised nutrition programme aimed at supporting health issues such as IBS, weight management, stress, depression, PMS and many others. For more information, or to book a private nutrition consultation with Caroline visit www.essential-nutrition.co.uk.