London-based skin guru Dr Nigma Talib, who treats a host of models and celebrities, coined the terms “wine face”, “gluten face”, “sugar face” and “dairy face”, as she claims to know what clients have been over-consuming what, just by looking at them. We predict this may prove a challenge after the holidays, where like us, you’re probably guilty on all four accounts. Luckily, you can make January and beyond about consuming skin-friendly foods too.
We all lust after that seemingly unreachable notion of perfectly glowing skin, but lotions and potions alone won’t help us attain it. Due to the fact our skin is the largest organ we have, any issues internally – even a minor nutrient imbalance – usually manifest in one form or another on our skin. Like most things, good skin starts from the inside out by maintaining the right balance of minerals and compounds needed to keep an optimal complexion. As what we consume affects our skin’s structure and appearance, here is a quick cheat sheet on what foods bring most beauty value:
Healthy oils are the ultimate internal moisturiser as they help keep cell walls supple. Oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, and anchovies contain beneficial fats, which promote skin hydration, resulting in plumper-looking skin. These fish also have good amounts of dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), which strengthens cell membranes and guards against the deterioration that causes premature aging, wrinkle formation and sagging. Aim for 1-2 portions of oily fish per week, although some devotees consume fish almost daily for its beauty benefits.
A truly underrated superfood, blueberries are rich in antioxidants and low in sugar, making them a bit of a miracle food. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture identifies the blueberry as containing the most antioxidants per serving of any fruit. A cup of wild blueberries has up to 13,427 antioxidants, including Vitamin A and C, as well as flavonoids. Phytochemicals and antioxidants neutralise free radicals (these come from various environmental sources such as radiation, drugs, pesticides, solvents, cigarette smoke, and other pollutants), which prevents further skin damage. They are also helpful in strengthening blood vessels and healing broken capillaries.
Think nuts, avocado, chia and flax and all things omega-3. When it comes to your skin, omega-3s works to protect your cell membranes, keeping strong, harmful agents out. Nutrients are allowed to enter in, but waste products are eliminated from the cell. Strong cell membranes retain more water, leading to hydrated-looking, smoother skin.
Any kind of protein – particularly fish, lean meats and eggs - supply the amino acids (building blocks) you need to make collagen, which keeps your skin strong and youthful. Try to eat a serving of protein at each and every meal.
Vital for collagen production, Vitamin C is found in abundance in peppers, kiwi, citrus fruits and strawberries. When consumed in fresh produce (not a pill form), Vitamin C helps reverse skin damage caused by the sun and pollutants. It stimulates collagen production, causing new skin growth, wrinkle reduction and an overall smoother texture. Fact: a single red grapefruit contains more than 100% of the recommended daily value for vitamin C, so it's the perfect low-sugar way to get your skin fix.
Supplements can also be very helpful in giving you a beauty boost. For spots and general redness, the most effective supplements are Vitamin Aand Zinc, which both have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Key - as virtually all redness and spots are caused mainly by internal inflammation.
For fighting off fine lines and wrinkles, one of the most effective methods is to integrate hyaluronic acid and collagen into your diet. Combining the two has the most impact in flattening lines from the inside out, and they are now available in a range of forms – from (actually good-tasting) powders you can blend into a smoothie to easy-to-take pills.
Last but definitely not least - you guessed it - water. Even with all the above in check, dehydrated skin looks will look more like a raisin than a grape. Happy hydrating.