The secret to glowing skin is something we all want to be in on and this causes many of us to try pills, potions and lotions in the hope it will be the magical fix. However, throughout this process, many of us neglect the power of what can be found in our kitchen and how providing our body with the necessary resources it needs to function can greatly benefit the look and feel of skin! If this sounds all too familiar, nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin suggests to try starting from within and nourishing your body with some of the below foods to help promote glowing skin.
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Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are the edible seed of a pumpkin and are a delicious way to add zinc to your diet. Zinc is an essential trace element known to protect cell membrane integrity, decrease formation of free radicals, facilitate wound healing and dampen down skin inflammation. In fact, a moderate zinc deficiency can result in a rough skin appearance. Pumpkin seeds can be used in salads, muesli, dips, smoothies, stir-fry’s or simply eaten as a snack.
It is well know that skin barrier dysfunction plays a central role in various skin conditions including premature ageing and dry skin. In order to strength skin barrier function, we need adequate calcium in our diet. This will also help to keep skin hydration in check. Natural yoghurt is a healthy and delicious way to boost calcium intake. If you don’t consume dairy, try using calcium-fortified soy milk in smoothies or on muesli, snacking on almonds and regularly eating tofu set with calcium as dairy-free calcium alternatives.
It is well understood that skin is vulnerable to damage by reactive oxygen species (ROS) especially ROS induced from light. Considering that the skin is constantly exposed to light during the day, ensuring an adequate antioxidant intake is vital for achieving and maintaining healthy skin. Specifically, a key antioxidant made by the body, superoxide dismutase (SOD), found within the epidermis, is believed to be instrumental in protecting against oxidative damage. Foods rich in zinc, copper and manganese help to boost the natural production of SOD. Pineapple is a good source of manganese and also contains the antioxidant Vitamin C.
Avocado is a source of healthy monounsaturated fats which helps to assist in the absorption and utilisation of fat soluble antioxidants and vitamins, beneficial for skin health, including Vitamin A. Avocado itself also contains antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which all add up to provide nourishment to skin and its fat content can help to keep skin supple.
As already established, antioxidants are crucial to help the body fight against free radical damage and berries are particularly beneficial because they are high in phytochemicals, which exert antioxidant properties and also vitamin C. If you aren’t already aware, Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen synthesis and healthy connective tissue formation. Collagen naturally decreases with age so if you want to help your body make collagen it is important to give it the necessary resources to do so and berries are a delicious way to help facilitate this.
Protein from fish supplies amino acids, which are required alongside zinc, copper and vitamin C for collagen production and healthy connective tissue formation. Fish is a healthy protein option because it is low in saturated fat. Ideally low mercury fish should be eaten 2-3 times per week for the most health benefits.
Hemp seeds, similar to chia seeds, are a plant-based source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. The term ‘essential’ is used when referring to omega-3 fats because the body cannot make its own supply so it’s crucial we eat enough sources of omega-3 in our diet. Omega-3 fats exert an anti-inflammatory effect in the body as well as being a component of cell membranes, surrounding all cells, and therefore play a role in regulating nutrients in and waste out of the cell, including skin cells. Hemp seeds also contain protein and vitamin E, both of which are beneficial for skin health.