For years we’ve spent money and time on searching out the latest beauty products to ensure we have naturally glowing skin. These products can be extremely useful however you’re going to get much more for your money if you’re also looking after your skin from the inside. Nutrient deficiencies can significantly impair the structure and function of the skin.
Whilst glowing skin is more about adding foods into the diet than taking foods away, there are two major culprits in spotty, blotchy and dull looking skin. These are of course caffeine and sugar. Caffeine is a natural laxative meaning it dehydrates the skin. Dehydrated skin can often be left looking dull, red and may promote collagen loss which can induce wrinkles. If the day doesn’t start until you’ve had your coffee then ensure you’re drinking a glass of water for every mug of coffee as this can help to prevent dehydration. You should also be aware that alcohol when consumed in excess can have similar effects on your natural glow. Excessive sugar consumption causes a rise in insulin production which stimulates inflammation and the breakdown of collagen once again leading to a risk of wrinkles.
Evidently coffee, sugar and alcohol aren’t going to do you any favours so you’re probably wondering what nutrients you can add into your diet to ensure optimal glowing skin.
Omega-3 play an important role in reducing systemic inflammation and it helps to counteract some of the effects of the high intakes of omega-6 which are found in the western diet. An unbalanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 can contribute to rosacea, acne and psoriasis and therefore Omega-3 helps to reduce the inflammation found in these disorders through the inhibition of arachidonic acid. Foods naturally high in omega-3 include: oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring etc.), chia seeds and flax seeds.
Monounsaturated fatty acids
Monounsaturated fats have been associated with a reduction in early ageing. Raw olive oil was found particularly beneficial in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation consequently delaying photoageing. Foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids include: almonds, avocados and olives/ olive oil.
Vitamins A and C
These nutrients are potent antioxidants which protects the skin cells against free radical damage including cell death. Vitamin C is also important in the structural regulation of collagen production. Foods rich in vitamin A include: sweet potatoes, liver, eggs, carrots and butter. Fruits and vegetables are particularly high in vitamin C.
Vitamin B7 (also referred to as biotin) is important for fat production which helps protect the cells against cell damage and water loss. When an individual is low in biotin the skin cells are often the first to suffer as a result. Food rich in biotin include: eggs, almonds, cheese, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and spinach.
Zinc is a key component in protecting the skin from UV absorption. In addition, Zinc is also an antioxidant which protects the skin from free radical damage.
Foods rich in zinc include: oysters, red meat, nuts, beans and dark chocolate.
Latreille, J., Kesse-Guyot, E., Malvy, D., Andreeva, V., Galan, P., Tschachler, E., … & Ezzedine, K. (2012). Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids intake and risk of skin photoaging. PLoS One, 7(9), e44490.
Park, K. (2015). Role of micronutrients in skin health and function. Biomolecules & therapeutics, 23(3), 207.
McCusker, M. M., & Grant-Kels, J. M. (2010). Healing fats of the skin: the structural and immunologic roles of the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.Clinics in Dermatology, 28(4), 440-451.