If you are struggling with problems like acne or skin blemishes, you're probably tempted to treat them with harsh skincare products. But before resorting to these nasty products that may actually cause more problems, why not start by changing your diet? Certain foods can help to treat the underlying cause of your skin problems, leaving your skin healthy and glowing. Here are twenty three of the best foods for skin health in five simple categories.
Berries, especially blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, help to maintain healthy collagen. Collagen is very important as it keeps skin youthful-looking and taut. Berries can also reduce inflammation, keep skin evenly toned and give you a healthy glow.
Blueberries are particularly good for skin health too. They are high in vitamins A and C, which are well known for their skin-protecting properties. They have also been shown to help clear acne.
Dark leafy green vegetables have many benefits for the skin. Spinach, for example, is high in vitamins B, C and E, which are good for skin health. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which maintain cell membranes and provide moisture to the skin. Meanwhile, kale is rich in vitamins A and C, whilst all leafy greens contain zinc.
Many nuts and seeds are excellent for skin health. Flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are all rich in omega-3s, mentioned above. Almonds and sunflower seeds contain lots of vitamin E and can protect against sun damage. And Brazil nuts have a multitude of benefits - for example, their high selenium content boosts collagen production and preserves elastin, which keeps skin smooth and tight. Brazil nuts are also high in copper, which supports melanin production and therefore protects against damage from UV rays.
Fresh fruits and vegetables keep skin hydrated, and they also contain plenty of nutrients which are beneficial for the skin.
Here are some examples:
Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene, which increases collagen strength and protects against damage from UV rays. This effect is most potent in cooked tomatoes.
Some fruits and vegetables, like yellow peppers, are rich in vitamin C. This helps to form the skin and give it structure, as well as reducing wrinkles and crow's feet.
Orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes contain lots of vitamin A, which enhances skin color to give you a healthy glow.
Fruits like oranges, watermelon and kiwi help to prevent wrinkles, improve elasticity, clear blemishes, restore collagen to make skin firm and tight, and reduce signs of aging.
Finally, avocados provide vitamins A, D and E. This defends against free radicals, promotes elasticity and maintains appropriate levels of pigment in the skin.
Simple carbohydrates like refined grains spike your blood sugar, which raises your insulin levels and therefore triggers the growth of pore-clogging cells. They may also boost the activity of oil glands, leading to acne. Refined sugar can cause inflammation, which is also bad news for the skin.
Replace refined carbs with whole ones like brown rice, whole wheat bread and sweet potatoes. Some whole grains, like oats, have additional benefits - for example, oats contain silicone, which helps to retain elasticity. They also minimize blood sugar spikes, feed inflammation-reducing gut bacteria, and help to both form and strengthen tissues.
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It isn't just about what you eat - staying hydrated is really important too, so drink plenty of water. You can also try green tea or coconut water; they have additional benefits for skin health. And you may want to avoid dairy products and junk food, which can worsen skin problems. Finally, make sure you exercise and get enough sleep. Take care of your body, and your skin should take care of itself.