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Eat your way to healthy skin

by Rachel Berlandi

These days we are bombarded with adverts for expensive face creams that promise to help us defy age and give us a complexion glowing with health, despite the fact that many of these creams are chock full of chemicals that can easily upset sensitive skin.

The skin is the largest organ of the body and is constantly growing new cells as old ones are shed, so it makes sense that a diet that includes foods packed full of nutrients to help nourish new cell growth, is the best way to give your skin a healthy glow and help prevent wrinkles from forming. 

Woman eating an apple

Hydration

Hardly any of us drink enough water, and this can have a visible effect on the skin, leading to puffiness and dark circles under our eyes. This problem can also be exacerbated by consuming too much caffeine on a daily basis. We all should be drinking at least a litre and half of water every day, which can seem quite daunting if it's not something you're used to.

Something that can make this easier is to keep a water bottle Hydrationhandy and sip it throughout the day rather than trying to drink large amounts at once. Another bonus is that you should feel less hungry, as many of us mistake thirst for hunger and reach for the biscuit tin when we should be reaching for the water bottle.

Don't like the taste of plain water? Well, herbal and fruit teas make excellent substitutes and all add up to that litre and a half. If you're drinking more than 3-4 cups of coffee a day, try substituting one or two of them with a coffee substitute from your local Health Food shop. 

One drink you could try is Bambu®, which is free from caffeine and 100% natural. This tasty instant drink is the ideal coffee alternative made with chicory, acorns and figs and can be enjoyed as a hot drink, as well as in a milk shake or smoothie. 

If you really can't kick the caffeine? Swap regular tea for white or green tea, both are packed full of antioxidants, and as an added bonus can boost metabolism if you're trying to lose a few pounds. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which helps to protect skin cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals can come from a variety of sources, including smoking, pollution and even sunlight, so they can be difficult to avoid.

Vitamin CWe know that eating fruit and veg is good for us, but eating a "rainbow" of fruit and vegetablesis especially good for our skin. For a fantastic way to feed your skin, try having all, or any, from the list below to make a delicious fruit salad for breakfast, including orange, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, banana, apple, kiwi and papaya. It's not only a delicious way to start the day but contains loads of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Strawberries, papaya, kiwi and oranges also help the body produce collagen, which ultimately helps with skin elasticity and wrinkle prevention.

Vitamin C can also help with the healing process of blemishes, and acts as a fantastic natural antihistamine to help combat hay fever and prickly heat. 

Toxins

If you're following the first two steps, then a third benefit should naturally happen. When our normal exit route for toxins to leave the body is blocked, then toxins try to leave the body via the skin in the form of spots. For me personally, an outbreak of spots is not my favourite way of reliving my teenage years!

The exit route I am talking about is obviously your bowel. Drinking plenty of water and getting enough fibre in your diet should get things moving regularly, meaning that toxins are eliminated before they build up in your body.

Vitamin E, Selenium and essential fatty acids

Vitamin E, Selenium and Essential Fatty Acids are also essential building blocks for skin, and help protect against oxidative cell damage as well as promoting healthy skin growth. Selenium can protect against age spots and sun damage and Essential Fatty Acids act as a natural moisturiser for the skin, helping to keep it supple as we age.

Almonds

The good news here is that the foods below contain at least two if not all three of the above. So try to incorporate avocados and nuts especially almonds, pine nuts ( all having vitamin E and EFA), Brazil nuts (Selenium) and walnuts (EFA), along with eggs, oily fish and tomatoes into your diet. An ideal dinner for healthy skin would be a leafy salad with grilled or poached salmon, avocado, tomatoes and toasted pine nuts.

By following some of the hints above you should be giving your body everything it needs for great skin, but remember it can take six weeks for the cells being made today to make it to the surface, so have patience and the changes you have made will reap rewards.

Oh, and if anyone notices the fine lines around my eyes? They're laughter lines; at least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

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