Feed Your Skin

9th March 2018

Your diet not only contributes to your waistline and keeping your body healthy, but what you eat can have a dramatic impact on your skin. Even with the best skincare routine, looking youthful must also come from within. If you’d like a youthful, glowing complexion and would like to prevent fine lines, try these wrinkle-fighting foods….

1. Look Younger with Lotus Seeds
Popped lotus seeds may just look like any other savoury snack, but the seeds contain plant compounds that can have antioxidant activity, including different types of flavonoids (like those found in vegetables and fruit). “Anything that has antioxidant action can help keep our skin look younger, by protecting against free radical damage,” explains explains nutritionist Cassandra Barns. Try Karma Bites (£1.59, www.karmabites.co.uk ) for a tasty, guilt-free snack, made from popped lotus seeds, which come from the revered lotus flower.

2. Embrace the Orange
Vegetables such as carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and pumpkin contain particularly high levels of beta carotene and other carotenoids, which give them their lovely orange colour. Beta carotene converts in our body to vitamin A, which is one of the most important nutrients for skin integrity – meaning skin that is firm, resists damage and can heal quickly.
Beta carotene itself may also help to prevent free radical damage to our cells that can result in ageing, as it works as an antioxidant. “The orange vegetables are delicious as a basis for stews and soups in the winter, or roasted with other vegetables such as peppers, red onions and beetroot,” says Dr. Marilyn Glenville, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar.

3. Choose Chocolate
If you thought chocolate was your skin’s worst enemy, think again. Raw cacao – the main raw ingredient used to make chocolate ­– is high in plant compounds called flavanols. These stimulate our body’s own antioxidant defences, and research suggests they have a protective effect for the skin, including helping to resist the effects of ageing and sun damage. But to reap the benefits, go dark – at least 70% cacao – and choose raw chocolate, which eliminates the roasting process that can damage those powerful flavanols. Try OMBAR Buttons 72% Cacao (£1.49, www.ombar.co.uk).

4. Boost Your Complexion with Berries
Berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackcurrants are excellent sources of vitamin C. This vitamin is vital for the formation of collagen, which gives our skin structure and elasticity. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, protecting our cells from damage; and berries contain many other plant nutrients that may work as antioxidants in the body, such as the quercetin, catechins, and resveratrol. Another advantage of berries over most other fruits is that they are lower in sugar (a diet high in sugary foods can speed up skin ageing). “Berries are great added to plain yoghurt, with some chopped nuts – an ideal snack or breakfast option,” offers Cassandra.

5. Scale Up Your Smoked Salmon Intake
As well as being necessary for our heart, brain and eye health, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play an essential role in the structure and appearance of the skin. “They are incorporated into cell membranes in the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and form a matrix around the cells, helping to maintain the skin’s barrier function and prevent moisture loss. They are also thought to have a role in the dermis – the lower layer of skin – by controlling inflammation and minimising collagen damage from UV rays,” explains Cassandra.
If you can, be sure to eat a good serving of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines three times a week. “It’s also good to take a good quality supplement, such as Nature’s Plus Ultra Omega,” suggests Cassandra. (£17.75, www.revital.co.uk)
6. Remove Wrinkles with Matcha Green Tea
Matcha is a pure green tea powder made from the highest quality Japanese tea leaves – the same tea that has been drunk for hundreds of years as part of the Japanese tea ceremony. Research indicates that matcha may contain up to 137 times the amount of antioxidants found in other green teas – giving it even more health-protecting and anti-ageing potential. Try Clearspring’s Japanese Organic Matcha Shot, (£6.25, www.ocado.com) for a naturally concentrated, 100% matcha hit in a handy sachet format.

7. Ace Your Skin with Avocado
Avocado is a good source of vitamin E, which is thought to have several roles in skin health. Like vitamin C, it works as an antioxidant so may protect the skin cells against damage from free radicals. It is also thought to help protect the skin from UV rays, and have anti-inflammatory activity in the skin (inflammation is involved in skin rashes, blemishes and acne). Although avocado is relatively high in fat, the majority of this is healthy monounsaturated fat like that found in olive oil, and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid. As we have already seen, omega-6 fats are helpful for preventing moisture loss from the skin; and monounsaturated fats may also have this benefit. On top of this, avocados also contain good levels of carotenoids, those same antioxidants that are found in the orange vegetables.

Find Your Local