Our body needs complete nutrition to promote healthy skin. Make these changes to your diet and see the difference for yourself
Foods to include
Drink plenty of water as it helps reduce acne by flushing toxins out of your system and keeping your kidneys, liver and bowel functioning effectively. A sluggish digestive system is often linked to acne. Water will also help keep your skin supple and hydrated. Dehydrated skin can become dry and flaky as the skin’s natural exfoliation slows down and pores become blocked.
Include loads of yellow and orange coloured foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow and orange bell peppers, oranges, tangerines, mangoes, papayas, lemon and apricots. These foods are rich in vitamin A and C. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant to neutralise harmful elements in our skin, helping to prevent wrinkles, resist infection and keep our skin youthful. Vitamin C promotes and protects collagen, which provides support and elasticity to your skin thus delaying the onset of wrinkles. Berries like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, beets, plums, and red grapes are a great source of polyphenols—antioxidants that are known for their anti-ageing capabilities and for lending a pink glow to the skin.
A daily dose of vitamin E is a basic requirement for a glowing skin. Vitamin E is found naturally in almonds, asparagus, avocados, fish, brazil nuts, broccoli, canola oil, corn, cottonseed oil, fortified cereals, hazelnuts, soy bean oil, spinach, sunflower seeds, walnuts, wheat germ and wheat germ oil. Vitamin E, an antioxidant, helps avoid cellular damage by preventing the formation of free radicals. It also enhances healing and tissue repair process .It slows down cellular ageing and prevents formation of wrinkles.
Green tea is another delicious way to include antioxidants in our diet. Having two cups of green tea can do wonders to the skin. The polyphenols in it are 100 times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times more effective than vitamin E.
Eat at least 50g of greens per day. You can have veggies like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, green bell peppers, kale, kiwi and spinach. These greens are rich in iron, which helps tp prevent dark circles.
Use oils rich in poly and monounsaturated fats like sesame, mustard and olive oil for cooking to overcome skin dryness. Good fats are required to maintain the texture of our skin. These oils provide the added benefits of being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for the heart.
Include high-fibre foods like oats, barley, ragi, bajra, whole wheat grains, different variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Fibre helps to promote the digestive process and remove toxins from the body leading to clear skin. These are also rich in B vitamins, which aid new skin-cell growth.
Foods to avoid
Refined and sugary foods
Excess consumption of sugary foods like chocolate or sweets is one of the main causes of acne. Refined and tinned foods are considered to be huge skin sinners. A diet that is high in sugar makes your body susceptible to bacterial infections, which may further aggravate spots and other skin conditions. Instead, have wheat bread, oats and other grains or substitute white rice with brown rice, and white sugar with honey or brown sugar.
Fried and spicy foods
Excess consumption of fatty foods can cause sluggish digestion, cloudy thinking and stimulate the sebaceous glands to secrete more oil leading to an oily skin. Eating spicy foods can also lead to acidity, which can cause dullness of skin. Instead, substitute spice with ginger, and herbs, which stimulate digestion and in turn promote healthy skin.
Tea and coffee
People who drink a lot of tea, coffee, cola, hot chocolate and any kind of aerated drinks are more likely to have tired-looking skin and suffer from conditions such as greasy skin and spots. This is because these drinks contain caffeine, which increases the excretion of vitamins and minerals from the body. It is better to limit our intake to not more than two cups of coffee, tea or other caffeine-containing drinks in a day.
Excessive alcohol intake may lead to skin problems such as split veins. Alcoholic beverages are diuretic and increase the water loss from the body leading to dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skins develop wrinkles very easily. Hence, alcohol is best avoided.
Nicotine does not help to keep a healthy skin. It attacks the blood vessels that feed the skin with nutrients and oxygen, as well as those that drain away the waste products from the skin. Lack of oxygen causes faster ageing of the skin.
Try to make these few modifications a part of your daily routine and enhance your natural beauty.
This was first published in the December 2009 issue of Complete Wellbeing.