Your skin is the largest organ in the body and it reflects your overall state of health. If you eat well and give your body the nutrients it needs then your wellbeing shows in your face. On the flip side a poor diet will show up in your skin, with acne, blemishes and dry skin giving the game away1. Your body is constantly regenerating skin cells, meaning you should see the effect of any changes in your diet relatively quickly, usually within two to six weeks2. Read on for our advice about how to eat a healthy diet with particular consideration for your skin.
1. Make your plate colourful
The vitamins in fruit and vegetables perform a range of vital functions in your skin, just as they do throughout the body. Red foods such as tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant which helps to protect your skin from sun damage and skin cancer3. Load up on citrus fruits and leafy greens to get your fill of vitamin C. Vitamin C strengthens the capillaries that supply blood to your face and can help to avoid scarring. Dark green vegetables are also rich in vitamin A which helps your skin to retain elasticity2 and prevent the signs of aging.
2. Keep your blood sugar steady
There is some evidence that keeping the level of sugar in your blood constant throughout the day can help prevent acne and break outs. Spikes in blood sugar trigger insulin production, which may aggravate acne2
. The best way to avoid spikes and dips in your blood sugar level is to base your diet on food with a low glycaemic index (GI) which release energy slowly.
Wholegrain carbohydrates, brown rice and many fruits and vegetables are good sources of slow-release energy, but there are many more. You can also keep your blood sugar and insulin levels steady by eating small meals every two to three hours – eat before you get hungry and stop before you get full1. Refined sugary foods like sweets and biscuits are the worst culprit for accelerating insulin production and they may also damage the collagen in your skin – causing wrinkles and premature ageing2.
3. Make friends with fats
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids act as natural moisturisers. No cream you apply to the surface of your skin is as effective at keeping it moisturised from the inside1
. If you have a dry skin condition such as eczema, you should pay particular attention to eating a diet rich in omega-3 fats. Oily fish, walnuts, rapeseed oil and avocados are great sources of mono and poly-unsaturated fats containing omega-32
4. Drink more water
Drinking plenty of water steadily throughout the day helps to hydrate your skin. There are structures in your skin which support collagen and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and these require water to function effectively4. Staying hydrated can also help to prevent spots by decreasing the concentration of oil on your skin. Aim for the recommended eight glasses of water a day, but space them out – if you down a litre of water and wee it all out again immediately then your skin won’t get the
5. Keep your hormones in balance
A hormone imbalance in your body can cause acne and break-outs of spots. You can help to control your hormone balance by eating a diet rich in phytoestrogens. These are naturally occurring chemicals found in plant-based foods such as oats, brown rice, fruits and vegetables2.
6. Ask an expert
If you have problematic skin and want more advice, you can schedule a dietary consultation to chat through the best diets to follow for keeping your skin healthy. If you’re not happy with your skin and want more drastic results, consider dermabrasion or speak to a dermatologist.
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