Your skin is built from the inside out – you can use state-of-the-art anti ageing skin care products but they can’t do what a healthy diet will do for your complexion. But before you hop on any bogus beauty diets, make sure you’re armed with facts. This article will take you through the seven ‘dietary steps’ to get the glowing and healthy skin you deserve.
1. Drink up – water that is!
That’s probably one of the most boring diet tips out there but it remains that your skin is about 70% water. If you’re dehydrated, your body will reduce your skin’s moisture content to preserve the water for vital body functions. As you probably know, dry skin not only looks dull but also makes fine lines and wrinkles much more visible.2. Make your skin glow with antioxidants
I’m not talking about synthetic antioxidants but natural ones like beta-carotenes, vitamin C, and selenium found in whole foods. Antioxidants are renowned for their ability to quench free radicals, those unstable molecules which damage skin cells and eventually lead to a dull, uneven skin tone that clearly shows the course of time.
3. Don’t forget your edible sunscreen
Even if you apply sunscreen religiously on your skin a few times per day, you still need to protect it from the well-documented damage of UV radiation from the inside. You see, when your skin is regularly exposed to UV light, it gradually loses its inner glow as it becomes dry and leathery.
What can you do? Simply make sure to include carotenoids, minerals and essential fatty acids in your diet. Good news for cocoa lovers out there, studies suggest that consuming cocoa naturally high in flavonols can significantly reduce irritation caused by the sun’s radiation.
4. Improve your blood circulation with food
Exercise will definitely make your skin glow since it allows blood to flow more freely throughout your body. But you can’t exactly drop everything and go for a jog whenever you want that healthy glow! Instead, make sure to regularly consume:
- Wild fatty fish like mackerel, sardines and salmon – these are rich in omega 3s;
- Walnuts – studies suggest that these nuts are very effective at helping blood vessels dilate;
- Cocoa – go for dark chocolate (85% cocoa) with high levels of flavonols.
5. Eat enough high quality protein
Your skin is constantly renewing itself and for that, your body uses amino acids as the building blocks to make the protein collagen that will help maintain your skin’s elasticity. So, to make sure the new cells are fresh, strong and flexible, you need to include protein in your daily diet.
6. Tame that sweet tooth!
Did you know that a diet rich in sugar can make your skin less flexible and more prone to wrinkles? That’s because when your blood’s glucose levels are high, the sugar molecules are able to permanently attach to proteins (including collagen) in a process called glycation. When this happens, the protein fibres that support your skin become stiff, making wrinkles more prominent.
7. Forget the booze!
Alcohol or beautiful skin – what’s it gonna be? If that sounds a bit exaggerated, you might want to know that alcohol can seriously dehydrate your skin. Alcohol has a diuretic effect and decreases the body’s production of anti-diuretic hormone which helps the body absorb water. That’s why your skin may look wrinkled, dull and dried out after a night of partying. Plus, alcohol is a known vasodilator – it causes blood vessels to enlarge and makes skin blotchy and red.
Beyond your beauty diet
You may be eating the healthiest, nutrient-packed diet ever but if you smoke you should know that you’re seriously jeopardising your skin’s natural inner glow. The same holds true if you’re regularly in the vicinity of someone who lights up. Here’s why smoking and glowing healthy skin are incompatible:
- Think of each puff you take (or breathe in) as millions of free radicals rushing in to cause oxidative stress in cells throughout your body. As these unstable molecules accumulate in your skin, they react with your skin cells, damaging them in the process. Sooner than later, you’ll see fine lines and wrinkles appearing.
- The carbon monoxide in the smoke constricts blood vessels and reduces the flow of oxygen and nutrients to cells. Skin cells that are not ‘fed’ properly cannot refresh or renew themselves. That’s why people who smoke often look older than they really are.
- Smoking renders the skin more vulnerable to sagging as it damages collagen and elastin, two structural proteins that maintain the skin’s elasticity.
- Smoking zaps your body’s vitamin C stores, making your skin more susceptible to UV-induced DNA damage and inflammation.
So there you have it, all you need to know to get you started on the path to having glowing healthy skin from the inside out.
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