When it comes to clear skin, we spend a lot of time thinking about the products we put on our face. But what about our eating habits?
In the past, dermatologists have famously maintained that unless you wipe greasy fingers on your face, food doesn’t affect your skin. Luckily, we now know better. Lately, it’s become increasingly clear that our diet has a big impact on not just our skin, but our overall health; from our metabolism, weight, organs and more.
But with all sorts of supplements, treatments and complexion-boosting drinks out there promising clear skin, it’s tricky to tell what’s legit. That’s why we’ve gone back to the basics - your diet!
Keep reading for 9 skin-perfecting foods, proven to boost any complexion.
How does diet actually affect skin?
As food is digested, it’s broken down into vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body can use to create healthy skin. Crash dieting or eating highly processed foods has detrimental effects in the skin. So by constantly supplying your body with important nutrients, you have a better chance of enjoying radiant and blemish-free skin!
What foods should I be eating?
If you’re an avocado lover, you’ll know these babies are worth the $$$ purely for their creamy insides. As it turns out, they’re great for your skin too. Avocados are high in poly-and-monounsaturated fatty acids, which help keep the skin soft and supple! Polyunsaturated fats are also known to guard the skin against sun damage (aka the main culprit of early ageing). If that’s not enough to convince you, these fruit are also high in Vitamin E - a crucial antioxidant that protects your skin against oxidative damage. Seriously, is there anything this superfood can’t do?
When it comes to skin-loving foods, broccoli is non-negotiable. This leafy green is brimming with important nutrients like zinc, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It’s also packed with lutein; a carotenoid that works like beta-carotene. In essence, lutein keeps your skin safe from oxidative damage, helping it remain smooth and line-free.
Oh, you thought we were done? Nope, there’s more. Broccoli florets also contain a special compound called sulforaphane, which boasts some impressive potential benefits. The main one being its protective powers against sun damage!
Next time you’re grocery shopping, don’t forget walnuts. They contain many amazing characteristics that make them an excellent food for glowing skin.
Firstly, walnuts are incredibly rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help boost collagen production. Collagen is a natural protein that helps improve the skin’s elasticity, prevents sagging and keeps skin plump. So in other words, it’s pretty much a skin saviour.
What’s more, walnuts contain other important nutrients essential for healthy skin. Just one ounce (28 grams) of walnuts contains 6% of the RDI for zinc, can reinforce the skin’s barrier, combat inflammation and aid wound healing.
Tip: Soak and dehydrate yours before eating, to remove the antinutrients from the skin and make them easier to digest.
4. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are known for being high in beta-carotene, which is a nutrient found in plants. Once ingested, beta-carotene is converted to an active form of Vitamin A - an essential vitamin for cell production and growth. Sweet potatoes also contain anthocyanins, another powerful antioxidant with anti-ageing properties.
5. Red or yellow capsicums
Like sweet potatoes, capsicums are another fantastic source of beta-carotene. One cup of chopped red capsicums equals 92% of the RDI of Vitamin A. They’re also one of the best sources of Vitamin C, an important nutrient for healthy, plump and bright skin.
Tomatoes aren’t just a great toast topping, they’re a proven complexion perfector too! Tomatoes are bursting with Vitamin C, A and E, as well as beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene. All of which are essential for maintaining healthy skin.
Lycopene belongs to the carotenoid family and is known for creating that juicy red colour found in tomatoes. It’s also a mega-nutrient that offers protection against UV radiation damage by acting as an internal sunscreen. Neat, right?
7. Green tea
It’s official: we’re in a full-time relationship with green tea. This superstar ingredient is rich in nutrients and vitamins that work to purify your insides - revealing a radiant glow on the outside.
A 2018 study found the major polyphenolic compound in green tea, EGCG (epigallocatechin 3-gallate), contains a long list of therapeutic properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. These properties translate to less acne, protection against UV damage (hello wrinkle-free skin), an even complexion and faster cell growth.
As if we needed another reason to love chocolate. Dark chocolate is loaded with powerful compounds that function as potent antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols and catechins, among others.
Cocoa flavanols are especially known for boosting skin hydration and improve blood circulation too. While we hate to say it, this isn’t a reason to indulge in your wildest chocolate dreams. Keep your dark choccy consumption in moderation and stick to the purest, unprocessed forms. Try adding some cacao nibs to your next breakfast smoothie or dessert and see how these delicious treats affect your skin’s complexion.
Besides a well-balanced diet of fruit, veggies (and a little chocolate), water is one of the absolute best resources for radiant skin. Without water, your skin struggles to function normally. Not only will it become dry, tight and flaky, but it becomes more prone to early signs of ageing. Eeek!
Keep a bottle on hand with you throughout the day, so you’re never without it. (Make sure it’s a plastic-free bottle to avoid harmful hormone-disrupting chemicals). By getting your daily fix, you can revel in fewer wrinkles, clearer skin, reduced puffiness and a healthy-looking glow.
What foods should I ditch from my diet?
By keeping your insides healthy and clean, your skin will have no choice but to follow suit and reflect your internal status. To achieve this, pay careful attention to what you’re putting into your body! Avoid highly processed foods, sugar and alcohol wherever possible. Instead, load up on fresh, organically-sourced and locally-grown fruit and vegetables.
In essence, flawless skin is a reflection of clean eating and healthy organs. Forget what you might have heard in the past - your diet is a key component to ensuring your skin remains radiant. In fact, it could be counted as part of your skincare regime!
Did we miss any essential skin superfoods? Comment your favourites below, we’re always eager to find new and nourishing ingredients to add to our daily diet.