These are the foods that will keep your skin on top form
Christmastime is bursting with merriment and indulgence. All of a sudden, a quick glass of wine here, a meal out there, a mince pie (or two, every day) doesn’t feel quite so naughty. But let’s be honest, all of the booze, chocolate and late nights takes its toll on our skin, and just as we turn into social butterflies, our faces make the reverse transition and revert back to the teenage caterpillars we once were. We’re talking spots, blemishes and bumps galore. Sob.
It’s now widely acknowledged by skin doctors that, whilst it’s not the only important thing, your diet can have a big impact on how clear and healthy your skin looks. Rajani Katta MD, a professor of dermatology, explained that this is the case for a whole range of skin conditions: “In some cases, dietary interventions may influence the course of the skin disease, as in acne. In others, dietary change may serve as one aspect of prevention, such as in skin cancer and ageing of the skin.”
So, what are the magical foods that will help you achieve a clear complexion? Here are just a few to get you started…
Crammed with over 20 different types of vitamins and full of healthy fats, avocados pack a punch when it comes to keeping your skin glowing. You don’t even have to eat them - they’re great for homemade face masks too! Even better, they’re also useful for staving off hunger pangs, meaning you’ll be less likely to succumb to the temptation of the biscuit packet and find it easier to avoid the skin-killing sugar. Sounds like the perfect excuse for avocado smash brunch. Hurrah!
Oily fish contain more of those healthy fats that are so crucial to keeping you on top form, but this time with a particular emphasis on omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Despite fighting inflammation, boosting your brainpower and repairing damaged cells, neither of these are produced naturally by your body so you need to put them on your plate. Fortunately, they can be found in abundance in oily fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel, so pair your fish with some avocado for a double whack of goodness.
Fruits such as blueberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and raspberries are jam-packed with the antioxidants you need to fight free-radicals, which damage skin cells and slow collagen production, which is the stuff that gives your skin elasticity. By stocking up on these, you’ll give your body the boost it needs to keep on regenerating, keeping your skin looking fresher and you looking younger. As with any good coffee, the rule is “the darker, the better.”
Oranges and kiwis
There’s a good reason that so many skin care serums and moisturisers now have vitamin C added to them, and that’s because if you want to get your glow on, then it’s your very best friend. Not only does it help prevent inflammation, it also aids the absorption of vitamin E, acting as a gateway vitamin if you will. Oranges, kiwis and strawberries are all great sources, although it probably doesn't count if they're just garnishing your cocktail.
Getting a decent helping of protein every day is crucial to keeping skin looking young and plump, and while this could come from eating meat or fish, Greek yoghurt comes with the added benefit of being chock-a-block with probiotics, which help to eliminate waste from your body too. More protein + less toxins = one very happy face. Make sure you stick with Greek yoghurt though - not only is it lower in sugar than normal yoghurt, but it has been strained more times so it's considered to have a lower dairy content, something that is increasingly being associated with skin eruptions.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds both contain selenium, a powerful antioxidant, full of minerals, that helps to keep skin looking young and safeguards skin cells from damage. And that’s without even mentioning all of the omega 3 contained in them. Knock yourself up a nut and seed mix so you know exactly what’s in it, and take a portion to work for when those 3pm cravings hit - and make sure you include Brazil nuts, just a few provide you with your entire recommended daily allowance of selenium.
Of course, you can’t just overload on these foods and expect the magic to happen overnight - the American Academy of Dermatology even suggests that for some acne sufferers it may take up to 12 weeks to see results. But for those of us simply suffering from a bit of cheeky chocolate overload, there's hope that our skin can be saved. So swap your frosted flakes for Greek yoghurt and fresh berries, stick an extra spoonful of strawberries on your pavlova and actually eat the orange that turns up in your stocking year on year, because your skin (and probably your waistline) will thank you for it.