Maybe she’s born with it… literally. Beauty products often promise a perfect complexion, but nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet (and good genes) when it comes to skincare.
Our skin is our largest organ and also our most visible one. Skin problems and premature aging often cause a great deal of anxiety and low self esteem, as we fear being judged by our appearance. Many of us turn to expensive ointments, drugs and even surgery to combat blemishes, skin conditions (like acne) or to reverse the signs of aging. We go to drastic lengths to achieve a glowing, youthful complexion - sparing no cost (including the risks involved in going under the knife). However, often the answers we seek lie within.
That may sound very philosophical, but there’s some truth in it. Diet plays a major role in our overall health. When something in your diet isn’t balanced it can throw your whole body off kilter
Here’s a few foods that will help you eat your way to healthier, glowing skin
Including the foods on this list in your diet will increase your intake of essential nutrients needed to protect your skin. Eating healthy isn’t as boring as it sounds, some surprising treats also made the cut...
Avocados are packed full of healthy fats which help keep your skin supple and moisturised. They also contain vitamins E and C, which are both essential for skin health. Vitamin E protects you from oxidative damage. Vitamin C aids your production of collagen, the main structural protein responsible for for healthy skin.
Bell peppers (specifically red and yellow bell peppers), contain beta-carotene which your body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A encourages healthy skin cell production and stimulates fibroblasts which develops tissue, deep within the layers of your skin, that keeps your skin firm. Bell peppers are also a great source of vitamin C.
Broccoli is packed with vitamins A and C, as well as Zinc which regulates your skin’s production of oil. Zinc boosts your immune system and helps to combat acne. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, which helps prevent free radicals. Broccoli also contains lutein (a carotenoid) which behaves similarly to beta-carotene.
Yes, you read that correctly. We just gave you a reason to add chocolate to the menu (you’re welcome). Cocoa is high in antioxidants, which help protect your skin from harmful UV radiation. These antioxidants help improve skin thickness and texture , hydration (reducing wrinkles and fine lines) and blood flow.
A study found that eating 20 grams of 70% (or higher) dark chocolate daily allowed participants to withstand more than twice the amount of UV radiation (without burning) than of those who didn’t eat high antioxidant chocolate.
As if chocolate wasn’t news enough, you can add red wine to your list too. Giving in to your guilty pleasures can actually benefit your health - just remember: “everything in moderation”.
Red wine, as you probably know, is made from red grapes. Red grapes contain an antioxidant called resveratrol in their skin, which can help reduce the signs of aging. If you enjoy the odd alcoholic beverage, you may want to consider red wine as your drink of choice. Do keep in mind, however, that the negative effects of alcohol far outweigh the positives - so make sure you drink it in small amounts.
Fatty fish (like salmon), are filled with omega-3 fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation. Omega-3 also assists in moisturising the skin. Fatty fish are also an excellent source of high quality protein, vitamin E and zinc - all of which are necessary to maintain skin health.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of nutrients for your skin. They contain healthy fats (such as plant-based omega-3), protein, vitamins and minerals. Some of the best nuts and seeds for your skin include:
- Pine nuts
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
You can include more nuts and seeds in your diet pretty easily. Try adding them to meals like smoothies and salads, or incorporating them in between meals as a light snack with some dried fruit or yoghurt.
Last, but not least, the humble tomato. Not only are tomatoes packed with vitamin C, they also contain all of the major carotenoids: beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful phytonutrient, which has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Tomatoes promote healthy skin and hair growth, while protecting against UV damage, free radicals and ageing.
Is perfect skin genetic?
According to a study conducted by Olay (global skincare brand) and 23andMe (genetics company), the answer is unfortunately yes (tough luck for the rest of us). Those of you with perfect skin won the genetic lottery. Olay analysed more than 20 000 genes to determine if genes were responsible for some of us aging better than others. They found that there are around 2 000 genes which which make up a “skin fingerprint among women who aged well”.
All of us have these genes, however they are expressed very strongly in those who age exceptionally well. Those of us without this unique skin fingerprint will age faster. But, it’s not all bad news for the rest of us...
When it comes to our bodies, both nature and nurture play a key role. Environmental factors make a huge difference to our health. Our lifestyle and habits can also affect our skin. Even if you don’t have “lucky genes”, you can still take positive steps to help improve your skin’s complexion. These steps include:
- Following a healthy, balanced diet
- Getting sufficient exercise
- Getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night
- Protecting your skin from sun damage
- Avoid sleeping with makeup on
- Avoid late nights
- Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol
- Avoid smoking
Learn more about Health Fit - a personalised easy to follow plan for those trying to improve their overall health.
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