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The Best Foods For Fabulous Skin

We know too many take-outs is not a good idea, and carafes of red wine are no match for water (well it is said to have it’s health benefits!), but we’re all grown-ups and can stand by the foodie decisions we make, whether they’re the wisest or not. However, as your wedding inches closer, you may end up paying a little more attention to what’s on your plate than you normally would. There’s no doubt that you will be 100% glowing – the natural variety – come your wedding day, but if you want to counteract the stress of list making, last minutes decisions and the general franticness that comes with planning an event of this scale, that can play havoc with your skin, your diet can be a good place to start.

Like your hair and nails, your skin is an organ and is constantly shedding, so it needs a steady stream of nutrients to help with the replacement process and encourage new growth. Unfortunately, your skin is one of the last places to benefit from your food and nutrient intake – organs like the heart, lungs etc. get first dibs – so it is essential your diet is up to scratch, or your skin will be the one that suffers. If you want to give it a helping hand, make sure you’re cooking the right kind of foods. We spoke to Consultant Dietician Sarah Keogh who had the following eight tips for brides-to-be looking to enhance their glow on the lead up to their big day:

  1. Good hydration is crucial. It plumps up the skin, reduces fine lines and ensures it clearer. Drink two litres a day of still, pure water.
  2. Plenty of fruit and vegetables are essential. A minimum of five portions a day is vital to ensure the skin gets all the nutrients it needs.
  3. Vitamin A helps the skin hold on to moisture and you get it from red and orange vegetables such as peppers and carrots.
  4. Oil rich fish are also very important such as mackerel and salmon.
  5. An evening primrose oil supplement is a good one to take as it helps the skin hold on to moisture and will help eliminate flaky patches that can leave your skin looking dull or plumpy.
  6. Minerals such as Zinc and Iodine are also really important for good skin. Any fish is great but especially shellfish. Mussels, scallops and clams are a brilliant place to get these minerals.
  7. This may sound like an odd one but fibre is important for good skin. It is essential for digestion and eliminating toxins from the body as a build up of toxins in the body can make it harder for the skin to clean itself. Sources include beans and lentils. A bowl of porridge for breakfast is also a good place to start.
  8. Protein is important for every balanced diet as it helps the body heal for example cold sores.  It should be eaten twice a day.

Papaya fruit slicedImage via New Beauty

The Science Bit

For those who aren’t too familiar with what does what, we’ve got a little break down of why some of these nutrients are being constantly plugged:

Antioxidants

The word may appear in every second health article but for good reason. Antioxidants are excellent for your skin, heart and just about every other organ, protecting us against infection and helping prevent life-threatening diseases. For anyone who is confused about what antioxidants do, they are hugely important in fighting free radicals, electrochemically unbalanced modules generated within our bodies by the likes of too much sun, stress and chemicals. Free radicals can damage the collagen in the skin, which is responsible for keeping the skin plump and maintaining its elasticity. Rich sources of antioxidants include berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries), broccoli, spinach, carrots and wholegrains amongst others.

Zinc

Found in fish particularly shellfish, wholegrains, poultry, nuts and seeds amongst others, zinc is needed to manufacture collagen as well as to maintain the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands, responsible for the production of oil. This ensures the skin is kept super soft.

Vitamin A

As mentioned above, Vitamin A helps the skin retain moisture as well as playing a part in the formation of new skin cells. Add red and orange vegetables to your diet to maximise the benefits of this powerful nutrient.

Vitamin B Complex

The Vitamin B content found in the likes of fish encourage the release of energy from foods which contributes to growth and replenishment of the skin. Milk, poultry and red meat are also valuable sources.

Vitamin C

Another potent antioxidant, Vitamin C is vital for the production of collagen, the elastic tissue in skin responsible for its firmness and strength. Good sources include fruits such as oranges, kiwis and strawberries as well as peppers and potatoes.

Vitamin E

You’ve seen it in all your skincare products and for good reason – Vitamin E is an antioxidant that works with Selenium to fight toxins. Include nuts and seeds in your diet  as well as vegetable oils, to ensure you’re getting an optimum dose of this super vitamin.

Selenium

A powerful antioxidant which helps preserve elastin, the protein that keeps your skin smooth and tight, it also works with Vitamin E to protect against free radicals. Tuck in to tuna (the tinned version will do just fine), brazil nuts, cereals, meat and seafood for your selenium fix.

Eat Your Way to Glowing Skin

Wondering what foods to add to your trolley? Here’s a selection of some good foodie choices to make!

mussels-mainImage via BBC Good Food

Fish

If you’re after a wonder food, look no further than fish. Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon and tuna are excellent sources of essential fatty acids (EFAs), omega-3 and omega-6. Inflammation can trigger cells to clog the pore, so omega 3’s work to reduce this inflammation in the body. Other good options include plant sources such as nuts and seeds – hazelnuts, flaxseed, almonds and rapeseed oil. And don’t forget to reduce your intake of saturated and processed fats as these will cancel out any positive effects you’re getting from your omega’s. If you’re looking for ways to amp up the intake, think tuna sambos, smoked salmon for brekkie and fish cakes for dinner.

Carrots

Carrots aren’t just good for your eyesight, studies have also indicated that they can be brilliant for clearing up breakouts, courtesy of its Vitamin A content. According to ‘UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine’, it helps prevent the overproduction of cells in the skin’s outer layer, which is where dead cells and sebum combine to clog pores. We know what we’ll be snacking on!

Ginger & Turmeric

Looking to spice up your dishes? Reach for ginger or turmeric. Heralded as an anti-inflammatory, they also act as an anti-bacterial which means they’re great for maintaining clear skin.

Brown Rice

We know brown rice is streets ahead of white in the nutrient content stakes but what you may not know is it contains a little thing called ceramides, lipid molecules which help the skin retain moisture. According to studies, these bad boys are incorporated in to the outer layer of the skin, helping maintain its hydration. We’ll drink (a glass of water) to that!

Sweet Potatoes

If you’re looking to up your vitamin A intake and fill up fast, stock up on the sweet potatoes. Orange vegetables such as these are an excellent source of Vitamin A, which can help regenerate damaged collagen and counteract loss of skin elasticity. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of complex carbohydrates, which will give you that feeling of fullness. If you’re craving fries, try the sweet potato variety.

Tomatoes

These juicy little fruits contain a generous dose of lycopene, a chemical that gives tomatoes their rosy colour and according to research, can help prevent skin damage by eliminating skin ageing free radicals caused by UV rays (studies say they’re even better  for us when heated). They have also been thought to reduce an acne-promoting hormone. Other reddish fruits and veg like beetroot and peppers are also worthy food choices.

Main Image via She Knows

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Pamela

Pamela

Pamela enjoys writing about all things decor (she loves buying it too) and has a not so secret addiction to stationery.
Pamela

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