In the quest for youthful, radiant looking skin, you’d be surprised at what people are prepared to do. Kim Kardashian thinks nothing of spending more than $2,000 a week on face, hair and body treatments, and she’s also been known to indulge in more ‘out there’ tactics such as the “ vampire facial”. And she’s not alone – Demi Moore is known to be a fan of blood-sucking leech therapy, and visitors to the posh Japanese day spa, Shizuka New York, can pay $180 US to have their face painted with bird poo!
So are these the secrets to youthful skin, or can it be much simpler? You bet it can.
Eating your way to youthful skin
If you don’t like the idea of shelling out thousands of dollars on crazy trends, the good news is that food can be your ticket to youthful looking skin. Actually, according to top nutritionist and skin specialist Karen Fischer, it’s the number one ticket for youthful and radiant skin.
Let’s say you treat yourself to a facial at your nearby day spa. You follow that with a deep tissue massage, and then end it with a trip to the hairdressers for a trim and deep condition. Now let’s say that you started your day with buttered rice cakes (which speed up the formation of wrinkles), topped your energy up by snacking on a Snickers bar and finished your day by stopping at the drive through to grab a burger. How do you think your food choices will affect all that time and money you spent on treatments?
Specialised beauty treatments are fabulous for your skin and overall health, but with the right foods to complement them, you can achieve much more. That’s why it’s crucial you understand how to eat your way to healthy, youthful and radiant looking skin.
12 foods you should be eating
Did you know that in China, almonds are the symbol of beauty? Almonds are packed with vitamin E, an antioxidant that defends against sun damage and helps us maintain a healthy weight. Almond oil is one of the most commonly used natural oils in the cosmetic world, so why wouldn’t you try to eat more almonds in your daily diet? Every nut contains a combination of two essential fatty acids, which help to create healthy, supple skin.
Lycopene, the compound that gives tomatoes their rich colour, is a powerful antioxidant that eliminates skin-ageing free radicals from ultraviolet exposure. Fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids also colour the skin with a healthy glow.
Sweet potatoes are one of the oldest vegetables known to man, and have the ability to raise our blood levels of vitamin A (especially in children) while carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease. They also contain important anti-inflammatory properties which when passing through our digestive tract, may lower the potential risk posed by free radicals. Plus, the presence of high levels of vitamin C produces collagen to maintain skin elasticity while giving the skin a healthy glow.
Chia seeds are excellent for your skin, providing vitamin E to combat inflammation and wrinkles, omega 3 fats to combat acne and promote smooth skin, fibre to keep your hormones healthy and skin looking great, and zinc to keep skin looking taut and supple.
Spinach is rich in folate, a B vitamin that aids in the repair of DNA and may reduce the risk of skin cancer. Greens like spinach, kale, turnip greens, broccoli and asparagus are rich in vitamin A, which keeps skin cells healthy, iron to aid circulation and vitamin K to prevent varicose veins.
Sunflower seeds are rich in selenium, which preserves elastin to keep skin smooth and tight. Sunflower seeds also contain vitamin E, which works well with selenium to enhance the effects of both.
Cocoa helps reduce stress hormones, which means less collagen breakdown in the skin and fewer wrinkles. Cocoa also contains naturally occurring plant substances called flavonoids, which help your skin look its best by protecting it from UV damage and free radicals. Flavonols in chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content can even improve skin hydration and thickness, both hugely important for young-looking skin.
Whole grains are rich in B vitamins that assist cells in processing fats to hydrate and revitalise skin. The complex carbohydrates mixed with fiber in whole grains are digested and absorbed slowly and don’t result in the sugar spikes that can contribute to acne. Because whole grains promote a healthy digestive system, whole grains are a great way to combat skin problems that are a reflection of an unhealthy gut.
Blueberries are rich in vitamin A, C and E, three antioxidants that are vital for young, healthy-looking skin. Vitamin A reduces wrinkles and eliminates dark spots and blotchy skin. Vitamin C neutralises free radicals to combat premature ageing, and vitamin E tackles the effects of the harsh sun. Blueberries are also able to fight acne by controlling hormones, allowing you to say goodbye to period-induced breakouts.
Sesame seeds contain high levels of zinc, which can not only reduce the oily sebum that leads to clogged pores, but can promote collagen production required for youthful-looking skin. Many skin care products call on sesame seed oil to pull toxins from your skin.
Capsicums are rich in vitamins and minerals and offer a whole host of skin benefits. Rich in vitamin C, capsicum helps in the formation of collagen and fights against oxidative damage. They offer antifungal and antibacterial properties too, making them great for the healing of many skin conditions. It’s said that a daily capsicum and carrot juice can clear all blemishes from the skin and will make your skin smooth and glowing.
Add luster and softness to your complexion by feasting on salmon, a fish with one of the richest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats nourish the skin by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory substances, decreasing clogged pores, and averting fine lines and wrinkles.