Do you want to know the secret to gorgeous soft skin and a wrinkle-free complexion? It’s a nutrient-rich diet that includes eight nutritional powerhouses. In this blog I’ll discuss the top eight foods to include in your diet for softer and smoother skin.
1. Brazil nuts
These nuts are one of the richest dietary sources of selenium –only 2 nuts are sufficient to enhance the activity of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. As we age, this antioxidant enzyme becomes gradually less active, contributing to increased exposure to free radicals which damage the molecular structure of dermal collagen. Since collagen can be regarded as the skin’s ‘scaffolding’, weak or damaged collagen makes the skin lose its elasticity – that’s when sagging and wrinkles become more noticeable. Regular consumption of Brazil nuts can help keep your skin collagen healthy and strong thus keeping your skin free from fine lines.
2. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), regular (but not excessive) consumption of EVOO can protect your skin’s lipid barrier. The lipid barrier keeps essential nutrients and water inside your skin cells while keeping toxins, pollutants or microbes out. On the other hand, a diet low in MUFAs and other essential fats could result in dried out skin that appears scaly.
3. Pink grapefruit
Rich in the powerful antioxidants vitamin C and lycopene, the pink grapefruit is a must in your diet if you want to fortify your collagen and help your skin maintain its natural firmness. While vitamin C is involved in collagen synthesis, the carotenoid lycopene protects your collagen. Research suggests that lycopene can down-regulate collagenase, an enzyme which breaks the peptide bonds in your skin’s collagen fibres. Weak or damaged collagen makes the skin lose its elasticity – that’s when sagging and wrinkles become more noticeable.
4. Pumpkin seeds
The seeds of the pumpkin fruit offer an amazing cocktail of nutrients including zinc and magnesium plus they’re also packed with essential fatty acids. Zinc and magnesium facilitate the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, a crucial component of skin tissue which can attract 1,000 times its own weight in water. In other words, hyaluronic acid is essential for preserving the skin’s barrier function as well as its moisture and softness. It also ‘plumps’ the skin’s extracellular matrix, thus making wrinkles less visible.
5. Red cabbage
Slow down the development of saggy, wrinkled skin by indulging in a red cabbage salad. This cruciferous vegetable is replete in anthocyanins, potent antioxidants that can stabilise your collagen (making your skin look smoother) and promote its synthesis. Plus anthocyaninsalso improve microcellular blood circulation thus improving oxygen and nutrient delivery to your skin.
Salmon is one rare source of dimethylethanol (DMAE) which has been shown to improve muscle tone and firmness in the face, thereby keeping the skin smoother and firmer. And as you probably know, the pink fish is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids help cell membranes maintain their effectiveness as barriers as well as reduce skin inflammation which may translate to softer and smoother skin.
7. Virgin coconut oil
The fatty acid and skin-conditioning agent caprylic acid is naturally abundant in virgin coconut oil. Research suggests that this agent is a potent emollient that softens the skin by binding water to the skin and reducing the skin’s PH in such a way that the skin’s surface tension is lowered just enough to help skin cells absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Technically water is not a food, but remember that our body is made of almost 80% water. So, if you don’t keep yourself well hydrated, not only will dry lines and cracks become more prominent (especially on your face) but toxins and waste materials will also accumulate under your skin, making it more prone to inflammation and breakouts. Plus, without sufficient water, your skin cells will not be able to regenerate optimally thus leaving you with a dull-looking rough skin.
Remember when it comes to healthy skin, it’s not just about applying the right creams or having regular facials, it mainly boils down to what you put in your mouth. By including these foods (and drinks!) in your regular diet you’ll be giving your complexion a huge boost and enjoying softer and smoother skin.
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