“Superfood” is the term given to foods densely packed with different types of nutrients.
Superfoods have multiple benefits, among which include aiding in maintaining healthy skin. You’ve probably heard of the saying, “beauty starts from within”; and in the case of your skin, it’s absolutely true. How many of us spend money on creams, lotions, serums, all promising the perfect youthful complexion?
However, instead of focusing on potions to put onto our skin, there is evidence to suggest that we should instead focus on what we are putting into our bodies.
This is where a superfood can have amazing results for healthy skin – what we eat has a direct effect on our skin, and eating a healthy diet full of good fats (yes, fats), antioxidants, vitamin C, collagen and amino acids can mean the difference between fresh, glowing skin, and a tired, wrinkled, puffy complexion.
Here are some tasty ways to help you start embracing the notion that beautiful healthy skin starts on your plate.
We have to admit – part of the reason we love this little berry so much is because it tastes fantastic in smoothies and breakfast bowls. As a bonus, it is also high in antioxidants which are linked to improved heart health, fighting free radicals and reducing swelling and inflammation in the skin. Add some to a juice, smoothie or breakfast bowl and reap the benefits.
Avocados are great to eat, and even greater for skin. High in poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids, they keep skin looking firm, help regenerate damaged skin cells, and reduce redness and irritation. The fatty acids keep your uppermost layer of skin moisturised, which gives you noticeably hydrated and healthy-looking skin. Avocados are also full of antioxidant carotenoids that not only fight free radicals, which are one of the major culprits of damaged skin and aging, but also help your skin maintain water content and elasticity. In addition, this superfood has vitamins E and D, which can help keep inflammatory reactions in sensitive skin to a minimum. Vitamin E is also thought to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. The ideal superfood for healthy skin – good to eat, and so good for the skin.
Antioxidants are one of the most important elements for maintaining healthy skin, and eating blueberries is one of the easiest (and yummiest) ways to get them. Antioxidants help fight and neutralise free radicals – one of skin’s worst enemies – which are known to damage skin cells and collagen, causing wrinkles, dry skin, and a range of other skin-ageing factors.
Blueberries are also full of vitamin A, which helps balance oil levels in your skin, and is very helpful in naturally clearing up acne-prone skin. In addition, blueberries are rich sources of vitamin C, which is crucial for the formation of collagen, thereby giving skin its structure and elasticity. Other superfood berries for healthy skin include raspberries and blackcurrants. Add some to plain yoghurt, with some chopped nuts.
Stroll into any health food store or supermarket and you will see seemingly endless variations of chia, from pods to butter, chips to bars. Chia seeds contain oils full of omega-3 fatty acids, which have an anti-inflammatory effect. Try soaking some in coconut milk for a healthy and nutritious snack.
Juices made with lots of fresh green vegetables are concentrated sources of nutrients, including many that can be beneficial to our skin. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and alkaloids help to alkalise the body, offsetting the acidity from consuming high amounts of alcohol or processed foods. Over-acidity may be linked to problems like eczema. If you do not own a juicer, eating vegetables works just as well.
Lemon one of our favourite superfoods for healthy skin. Not only is it packed with vitamin C, which helps neutralise nasty free radicals and helps us make collagen and elastin, giving us firm, younger-looking skin; but it’s also one of the most alkalising foods available.
Although lemons taste incredibly acidic, once metabolised, the minerals in them help alkalise the blood and balance our bodies’ pH (which in most of us is too acidic due to over consumption of coffee, alcohol, and processed foods). When our bodies’ pH levels are out of whack, our skin becomes super sensitive, dry and irritation-prone, so maintaining a good balance is crucial. We like squeezing half a lemon into a glass of water every morning to kick start our day.
Oats are a particularly rich source of biotin, a vitamin that is well-known for its role in the health of our skin and hair. Oats are also high in gentle fibre, which helps to maintain a healthy digestive tract and bowel function.
Healthy digestion is vital for our skin for two main reasons – efficient digestion helps all those skin-loving nutrients get into our body; and if our bodies are not eliminating waste properly, excess toxins can circulate in the blood and be excreted through the skin, resulting in rashes and other skin problems. This superfood makes a great ingredient in a breakfast bowl (try adding berries and yoghurt), or in healthy sugar-free banana muffins.
Vegetables such as carrots, squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes contain particularly high levels of beta carotene, and other carotenoids, which give them their orange colour. Beta carotene converts to vitamin A in our body, which is one of the most important nutrients for keeping skin firm and helping it to heal quickly.
The oil in pumpkin seeds is also high in zinc, which is important in collagen synthesis. These orange vegetables are delicious in stews and soups in the winter, or roasted with other vegetables such as peppers, red onions and beetroot.
Oily fish in general, and salmon in particular, is packed full of omega 3’s, a good fat that does wonders for your skin. These polyunsaturated fatty acids protect the skin from sun exposure, help repair already damaged skin, and keep cell membranes healthy and hydrated, keeping toxins out and your skin looking supple and soft. Other fatty fish include sardines, mackerel and trout.
Adding a healthy dose of these delicious ingredients to your diet could mean the difference between average-looking skin and a glowing radiant complexion. We find that these superfoods do wonders for keeping skin healthy – with the bonus of adding variety, colour and deliciousness to our diet.