When you the hear words “vibrant” and “healthy” what image pops into your mind? For me it’s usually a smiling face, of someone who is doing something active and in the outdoors, definitely in the sunshine and probably on a beach. That someone has shiny hair, clear eyes and radiant skin, and that picture just oozes youthful vitality!
Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. Unless you’re in your twenties, a glowing complexion probably isn’t happening by chance. Smooth clear skin is a true reflection of inner health, of how we nourish our bodies from the inside. Skin care regimens you read about in magazines tend to emphasize which creams and lotions you should be slathering on your face and body. While I’m not dismissing the value of natural beauty products, I would suggest that we could be paying a little more attention to how food and lifestyle choices can affect our skin.
As someone who has been blessed with somewhat dry and sensitive skin, I can attest to the fact that what you eat (or don’t eat) can definitely affect its appearance. Here are 6 of my top foods you don’t want to miss out on for that beautiful dewy glow.
This sweet juicy tropical fruit is a top source of beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in your body. This antioxidant vitamin not only combats free radical damage but is also necessary for the maintenance and repair of healthy skin tissue. Inadequate intake of vitamin A can result in dry and flaky skin.
Serving suggestion: fresh slices of mango are a treat any time of day but for a delicious and easy dinner combine 1 diced mango with some red onion, cilantro, lime juice and sea salt for a yummy salsa that is a perfect accompaniment to grilled halibut, tilapia or any white fish
Best enjoyed raw and unsalted, these handy snacks are great on the go and are an excellent source of vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant vitamin can protect skin from the damaging effects of the sun’s harmful UV rays. For all of us who enjoy running, biking, tennis and other outdoor activities, it’s great to soak up the Vitamin D but we also need to be sure to boost our defences against potential free radical damage and premature aging.
Enjoy sunflower seeds sprinkled on your salad or pair with a few dates or dried apricots for a satisfying and easy snack any time of the day.
This little fuzzy fruit is often neglected and doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. It is literally jam-packed with vitamins A, E and C. In fact ounce per ounce, oranges, cantaloupe and papayas pale in comparison to the amount of vitamin C found in kiwi. Vitamin C promotes healthy collagen and skin renewal, which helps keep our skin from sagging and developing excess wrinkles. Its antioxidant powers also combat free radical damage caused by the sun, pollution, and stress. Daily intake of vitamin C is crucial for maintaining and supporting healthy skin structure.
More excellent sources of vitamin C: red and green peppers, broccoli, papaya, persimmons, grapefruit
We don’t hear much about the element of sulfur but as a critical component in the formation of collagen it is essential for healthy joints, hard nails, shiny hair and smooth skin. Sulfur rich foods will promote elasticity and give your skin a more plump and supple appearance. Note that most of this mineral is concentrated in the yolks so be sure to eat the whole egg. Other good sources of sulfur include onions, garlic, cabbage and kale.
Also noteworthy: sulfur supports our liver’s powers of detoxification. Given that our skin is one of our organs of elimination, a poorly functioning liver can manifest as skin breakouts or conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
Once again, more reasons to eat your green veggies! All dark leafy greens are fantastic sources of vitamins A, C and E. They are detoxifying and full of anti-aging phytonutrients. Plus, they are an excellent source of fibre. Eating enough fibre is a sure-fire way to ensure your body is able to eliminate waste and toxins. Congestion and “back-up” allows for toxins to remain within and to circulate through your bloodstream. This means the liver is over-burdened and, once again, can result in skin conditions such as breakouts, splotchy skin, rashes or dermatitis.
More foods to keep your fibre intake nice and high: oatmeal, lentils, black beans, chia and flax seeds, berries
I saved my favourite for last. This excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids has made more difference than anything else has to my skin. The fats we consume provide the building blocks for the lipids that make up our cell membranes. Saturated and trans-fats and omega-6 fatty acids tend to be rigid and have an inflammatory effect in our bodies. Omega-3′s are anti-inflammatory and will keep our cell membranes more pliable. This means better nutrient transport which improves skin repair, increases moisture content, reduces redness and a gives you the healthy glow. Incorporate 1-2 tablespoons daily: add to your smoothie or drizzle on your salad. Your skin will thank you!
More great sources of omega-3′s: walnuts, salmon, sardines, butternut squash, chia seeds and even leafy greens (did you know that?)
I hope these tips help. Please let me know!
Next blog post: more lifestyle tips that can help your skin glow from the inside out.