We all want to know the secret to keeping our skin looking healthy and fresh.
Long days, stress and environmental factors such as pollution and UV rays, can all wreak havoc on our skin. However, by including some of these foods in your diet, you can protect your skin naturally, from the inside out.
Carrots are packed full of beta-carotene – hence the name! Beta-carotene is an antioxidant which protects your cells – including your skin cells – from free radicals that can cause damage.
The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, also known as retinol, which helps to keep your skin healthy and is used as the active ingredient in many anti-ageing face creams.
Just one medium portion of carrots (60 grams) contains 112 per cent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, for women, and 96 per cent for men. Butternut squash, spinach and sweet potato are also good sources.
2. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, an important antioxidant that helps neutralise damaging free radicals.
As such, a diet rich in vitamin E contributes to healthy skin and protects it from damage.
Not only that but they’re a good source of folic acid (vitamin B9) and magnesium – important for healthy bones and nerve and muscle function.
One tablespoon of sunflower seeds contains over one -and-a-half times the amount of daily vitamin E that adults need.
Top tip: The nutrients in sunflower seeds are greatly diminished when they are cooked, so eating them raw is best to get the full benefits. Why not try sprinkling a handful on your porridge or salad?
Blackcurrants are often overlooked as a berry, but they are an absolute powerhouse when it comes to vitamin C!
Vitamin C is necessary for the growth and repair of all the tissues in the human body. It helps make collagen, an important protein that is one of the basic components in the skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. It’s also needed for wound healing and is an antioxidant, which means it helps prevent our DNA from the damage caused by free radicals.
As an added bonus, blackberries are also full of antioxidants which as we know, help to protect the skin.
One heaped tablespoon of blackcurrants, on top of your cereal or thrown in a smoothie, delivers a whopping 100 per cent of your daily vitamin C needs. Red and green peppers, papaya, kale and strawberries are other good sources.
Tempeh (fermented soya beans) is packed full of nutrients, one of which is zinc. Zinc is an important mineral, necessary for making new cells, and transporting vitamin A, which helps to keep the skin healthy. Low levels of zinc can lead to skin problems such as acne, eczema and rashes.
A 100 gram serving of tempeh contains 46 per cent of the daily zinc needs for women and 34 per cent for men. Other good sources include wholewheat spaghetti, quinoa and steamed or fried tofu.
One serving also provides 150 per cent of your daily need for biotin (vitamin B7), which plays a central role in fat, sugar and protein metabolism and is essential for healthy skin and nails.
5. Nutritional yeast
If you’re not already a nutritional yeast convert (known by many vegans as “nooch”), then here is another reason; nutritional yeast is packed full of B-vitamins to keep your skin healthy.
We need the B group vitamins to be able to absorb and process energy, protein and fats from food – they are essential to cell growth, healthy skin, nerve function and to produce red blood cells.
Thankfully, nutritional yeast is naturally high in all of the B vitamins, apart from B12, (but you can buy a fortified version which contains it).
6. Switch to plant milks (if you haven’t already)
Even without eating all of the foods above, if you’ve already given up dairy, then you’re doing your skin (and cows) a great favour as the hormones in cow’s milk can cause, and make skin conditions like acne, worse.
There you have it, six top tips to help you keep your skin looking healthy and fresh.