As much as we may try to resist it, our skin does naturally age. Wrinkles and age spots are the inevitable result of time. but skin ageing may be sped up by overexposure to the sun and tanning beds, strong soaps, chemicals and poor nutrition. Everyone has a favourite face cream or treatment, but beautiful skin starts with nourishment from within.
Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals, smoking, pollution and sunlight can cause wrinkling and age spots. Eat a rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables and aim for at least five portions a day. Beta Carotene, found in carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin, and lutein, found in kale, papaya and spinach are potent antioxidants, important for normal skin cell development and healthy skin tone.
Vitamin C is also a super antioxidant. It is needed to support the immune system, promote radiant skin and help blemishes heal properly. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the skin.Crash diets are often short in essential vitamins and minerals too. Over long periods of time this type of dieting will reflect on your skin. It is always best to snack healthy.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. It works alongside other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C and is essential to support the immune system. One way to boost your intake is to eat Brazil nuts. Just four nuts will provide the recommended daily amount (RDA). Mix Brazil nuts with other seeds rich in vitamin E as a snack or salad sprinkle. Other good sources are fish, shellfish, eggs, wheatgerm, tomatoes and broccoli.
Vitamin E protects skin from oxidative (cell) damage and supports healthy skin growth. Foods high in vitamin E include almonds, avocado, hazelnuts, pine nuts and sunflower and corn oils.
Drink six to eight glasses of water a day – all fluids count towards your daily allowance, but water is the best. Don’t forget that some fruit and vegetables, such as watermelon, courgette and cucumber, also contribute fluids – the added benefit is that the minerals they contain will increase the rate you hydrate your body and skin.
Eat more phyto-estrogens such as tofu, fibre of wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and linseed (lignans)
Avoid for low-GI carbs ike biscuits and sugary drinks, as they lead to production of insulin, which may damage collagen and accelerate wrinklesTreat your skin kindly and optimise your nutrition by eating antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, healthy fats from oily fish and nuts, and a varied and balanced diet. Eat the correct balance of foods and snacks and you’ll feed your skin the vital nutrients it needs to help it stay soft, supple and blemish-free.