Eat your way to clear skin

Published: 06 April 2014 | by Jo Lewin
Eat your way to clear skin
Beautiful skin starts with nourishment from within according to nutritionist Jo Lewin.

Jo suggests that older cells are constantly shed and replaced by younger ones and a steady supply of micronutrients is essential to support this rapid growth.  

The correct balance of foods can help skin to stay soft, supple and blemish-free.

Eat a rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables and aim for at least five portions a day.

Vitamin C is also a super antioxidant and is needed for a strong immune system, radiant skin and helps blemishes heal properly.

The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes.

Studies also suggest that a selenium-rich diet can help to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. Good sources are fish, shellfish, eggs, wheatgerm, tomatoes and broccoli.

Skin needs moisture to stay flexible and even mild dehydration will cause your skin to look dry. Six to eight glasses of water a day are recommended. All fluids count towards your daily allowance, but water is the best.
 
Try to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, both can age the skin.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats - the types found in avocados, fish, nuts and seeds - provide essential fatty acids which act as a natural moisturiser for your skin, keeping it supple.

These fats also come packaged with a healthy dose of vitamin E (a vitamin many of us lack), which will help protect against free radical damage.

Include phyto-estrogen rich soya, wholegrains, fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.
 
Make sure you get enough omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These are essential fatty acids which mean they cannot be made in the body and must be obtained through the diet.

You will find omega-3s in oily fish and plant sources such as flaxseed oil, linseeds, walnut and rapeseed oil.

Omega-3 fats encourage the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help skin, particularly inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psorasis.
 
Eating plenty of beans, pulses, porridge and other slow-releasing carbohydrates can help. These release sugar into the blood stream gradually, providing you with a steady supply of energy and leaving you feeling satisfied for longer and therefore less likely to snack.

Zinc is involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands in the skin (which produce oil) and helps to repair skin damage and keep skin soft and supple. Zinc-rich foods include fish, lean red meat, wholegrains, poultry, nuts, seeds and shellfish.
 
Once you make changes to your diet, don't expect an overnight miracle. It takes six weeks for new skin to emerge up to the surface, so the visible benefits from dietary changes will take just as long. For persistent skin conditions, talk to your GP or consider seeing a dermatologist.

Repeatedly losing and regaining weight can take its toll on your skin, causing sagging, wrinkles and stretch marks.
- BBC
Tags: food, health, skin,

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