Think spots are something just teenagers get? Think again. Around 20 per cent of women suffer from acne well into their 20s and 30s, which can be caused by anything from stress to hormone fluctuations and more. All is not lost, however - aside from topical over-the-counter treatments, there are a number of foods long-heralded for their skin clearing properties that, added to your diet over time, may help to significantly improve the quality of your skin. Try combining the top 30 foods with fresh air, plenty of exercise, and a good skin care regime and see if they make a difference.
After the first group of foods on my previous post please find below - Part II of - My top 30 foods for a clear healthy skin.
Forget cabbage – kale contains a full range of vitamins A, B complex, C, E and K, as well as potent levels of manganese, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, protein, folate and phosphorus (phew!). I love adding a handful of kale into a soup with some of the other ingredients listed here for a real skin-clearing tonic.
This slippery green fruit is widely known to be a great source of vitamin E, which boosts the skin’s vitality and luminosity. However, it also possesses good quantities of vitamin C, which can be used to reduce skin inflammation, while avocado oil is thought to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin, which improves its tone and texture. Eating a regular portion of avocado (half a pear will do!) can also improve the skin’s ability to keep itself moisturised.
Each clove of garlic is full of a naturally occurring chemical called allicin, which, when digested, reacts with the blood to create a product capable of killing off many harmful bacteria and viruses your body might be harbouring – including that which causes acne and other skin infections. Couple this with a potent cocktail of antioxidants, and it’s almost unbeatable. To get the most out of garlic, eat raw, chopped finely into a salad or stirred into a meal before serving.
Heralded for centuries as a healing remedy, this herb contains high levels of calcium, potassium and magnesium, all of which are essential nutrients the body uses to support healthy skin. It also has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties – perfect for tackling the spread of acne as well as digestive problems. Burdock can be eaten as a vegetable, but the easiest way to take it is in tea form. Most good health food stores should stock it.
Apart from kale, we struggle to think of a vegetable more worthy of the ‘super’ title than broccoli. Antioxidants like vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and K all help to add luminosity to the skin and to revive damaged tissue, while omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and folate support the healing process and aid the proper function of skin cells. Eat raw in a salad or lightly steamed to get the most out of your florets.
Especially the yolks, which are full of skin clearing selenium, zinc and protein, among other vitamins.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, which helps to keep the skin firm and taut by aiding collagen production. They also contain lycopene: the red pigment which not only gives them their bright red colour, but also stimulates skin circulation.
Not only are berries jammed with skin clearing antioxidants, but they’re packed with fibre too: great for staving off hunger pangs and regulating insulin production.
For a high-protein, selenium-packed, skin clearing boost, consider introducing cottage cheese into your diet. Try adding a few spoons to a jacket sweet potato and serving with broccoli and spinach for a seriously skin-nourishing meal.
Drinking anti-oxidant polyphenol-rich green tea will improve your skin and boost your beauty.
There is evidence to suggest that high cortisone levels, one of the main hormones released by the adrenal gland in response to stress, can lead to break-outs. Regulating fluctuating blood sugar levels can help us to combat stress by lifting our moods. Try eating vitamin-packed complex carbohydrates, which release sugar slowly over time, like sweet potato. The root vegetable also contains beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A when it is digested, and can help to improve the circulation of oxygen to the skin.
If you want a glowing, radiant complexion and spot-free skin, increase your intake of oily fish, like mackerel. Each fillet is loaded with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which combat acne inflammation, as does…
… Salmon and other cold water fish. Also, the high protein it contains can help to speed up the skin’s natural healing process.
Oysters are packed with skin clearing nutrients for relatively few calories. Expect to find everything from vitamin A to zinc and selenium in these bite-sized sea-dwelling beauty bombs.
Not keen on seafood? Try sprinkling a handful of pumpkin seeds over your salad instead. Each kernel is high in vitamin E, zinc and omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, making them a good veggie skin clearing substitute.
Eat right and love your skin!
Think spots are something just teenagers get? Think again. Around 20 per cent of women suffer from acne well into their 20s and 30s, which can be caused by anything from stress to hormone fluctuations and more. All is not lost, however - aside from topical over-the-counter treatments, there are a number of foods long-heralded for their skin clearing properties that, added to your diet over time, may help to significantly improve the quality of your skin. Try combining my top 30 foods with fresh air, plenty of exercise, and a good skin care regime and see if they make a difference.
They get a bad rep for being a stingy garden nuisance, but taken in tea, you might be surprised to discover they have an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to calm the skin and improve conditions like eczema and acne. They’re also extremely detoxifying, thanks to high levels of antioxidants which protect the body from the over-production of free radicals – chemicals which can cause damage to proteins, fats, carbohydrates and DNA in the body. Stock up on nettle tea from your local health food shop and see if it makes a difference.
Regular consumption of these woody, fibrous vegetables has been linked to healthier skin, and in particular, improved skin luminosity. Artichoke is frequently used as an herbal remedy in creams and cosmetics because of their high antioxidant potency, but included as part of a healthy diet, can also benefit the body by easing digestion, lowering cholesterol and aiding the body’s natural immune system defences. Pick up a couple from your local supermarket, trim back the thorns and boil for around 25-45 minutes.
Tiny but mighty, each stringy sprout is packed with valuable, skin-clearing nutrients such as calcium, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium and zinc among others, as well as supplying a full range of vitamins A, B complex, C, E and K. Who needs multivitamins when you can sprinkle a few of these on your salad? They’re relatively inexpensive, too, and available from most health food shops.
It’s really hard to pick fault with a steaming cup of peppermint tea, which is known for its potent healing and calming properties. Not only can it help to aid digestion, relieve stress – a common acne aggravator – treat headaches and clear sinuses, but it’s seriously good for the skin, too. Try swapping it in for your usual cup of builders’ brew and see if it makes a difference.
They might stain your fingers, but the skin-clearing properties of beetroots are well worth the effort. The purple roots are particularly high in vitamin A, as well as potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E, which is essential for epidermal health and healing. Combined, these nutrients make a powerful all-round body cleanser, helping to eliminate toxins from the body and lower cholesterol too.
It is thought that red grapes – and their seeds – contain powerful natural chemicals and antioxidants that have been shown to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. As a natural antihistamine, grapes can also help to control the side effects of allergic reactions. Try popping a few washed grapes (with seeds) into a fresh salad, or enjoy a handful as part of a healthy snack between meals.
These tiny purple fruits are one of the most potent forms of antioxidants in the world, and as such, are fabulous for skin health, as they help to eliminate toxins and free radicals in the body. If you can’t get hold of them fresh, most health food shops tell concentrated juices and tablets – just be sure to go for natural products free from additives and artificial sugars.
Next time you make a salad, try substituting a few lettuce leaves for some peppery watercress. The leafy greens are jammed full of antioxidants as well as minerals manganese, carotene and potassium. This makes watercress a powerful cleansing agent, nourishing the skin while helping to flush out toxins and excess fluids in the process. Bonus!
If you’re not familiar with this liquorice-flavoured root vegetable already – get to know it. Aside from aiding digestion, reducing swelling in the body and helping to flush out excess fluids and toxins, it also works wonders for the health of your skin and hair, so pick up a box of tea or pick up a few roots for roasting.
There is some evidence to suggest that removing dairy products from the diet can ease the symptoms of acne in some sufferers. However, there is little way of telling whether this will work for you or not unless you try substituting milk for an alternative and monitoring your progress over time. Oat milk is high in fibre, lactose free and is particularly high in vitamin E and folic acid, which supports healthy skin and makes it a great milk alternative. Pick up a carton from your local supermarket to try it out.
Is there a better way to increase your protein intake than by working tofu into your diet? The soft, omelette-like substance made from soya beans is a good source of healing vegetable protein, calcium and healthy unsaturated fats – a killer combination for anyone suffering from a skin condition. It is also a rich source of antioxidants, as well as minerals iron, copper and manganese. I love my tofu freshly sprinkled over a salad or cooked into a stir fry. Try adding some of the other ingredients on this list for a super skin-boosting meal.
It has been suggested that steady blood sugar levels and skin health could be linked, so it makes sense to try swapping out processed white carbohydrates for brown, wholegrain, low glycemic index foods like brown rice. A portion a day not only provides a rich source of B vitamins, protein, selenium and magnesium, as well as several antioxidants, but also helps to regulate your sugar levels by releasing energy slowly throughout the day rather than all at once like processed carbs do.
Clear skin starts from within, and one of the best, cheapest and most effective ways to get there is to help your body flush out toxins by drink plenty of water. Not only will upping your fluid levels help to keep your brains fully functional and therefore better able to cope with stress, but it also replenishes water in the cells. Make sure you drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day, and drink more after exercise.
Deficiencies in minerals such as zinc and selenium have been linked to acne in some sufferers, which is why nuts – in particular pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts – are a good, healthy snack to get used to. Selenium helps to actively increase the number of infection-fighting white blood cells in the body and strengthens their fighting power, while vitamin E, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium and iron are all essential to skin health and function.
Any healing process needs protein and energy, and legumes – peas, beans, and lentils – have both these things in abundance. They also contain a potent cocktail of vitamins and minerals as well as being particularly high in dietary fibre, which aids the body’s natural digestion process and assists detoxification. All these things help in the battle for clearer skin, so try switching your usual portion of carbohydrates for a few spoons of beans and see if it helps.
End of part I - to be continued (part II to follow).
Eat right and love your skin!
Breakfast Sunrise Juice
vegan, serves 1-2
1 small-medium pink grapefruit, peeled
1 small apple
3-4 small organic carrots (length of a pencil, thickness of a £1 coin)
*Fresh carrots, not baby carrots
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 small lemon, peeled, de-seeded
1. Juice all ingredients in your juicer. Drink. Smile :-)
The eyes may be the window to the soul, but if you don’t take care of them they’ll also speak volumes about your age—and how late you stayed up last night. Before you know it, crow’s feet, dark circles, and other cosmetic facts of life can leave you looking older and less fresh than you feel.
Puffiness and bags
Lack of sleep, meals high in salt, high blood pressure, alcohol, and stress can all result in puffy eyes, particularly in the morning when the per orbital area retains fluid. Most often this is not a serious condition and usually improves as the day goes by mainly because being in a vertical position helps redistribute the fluid around the skin.
In some cases the puffiness is not caused by the skin retaining fluid but by the protrusion of the fatty pad under the eye. Your dermatologist or a plastic surgeon can recommend treatment options in this case.
Dark circles are caused by blood vessels showing through the delicate skin around the eye area giving the under eye area a bluish, purple cast, often a hereditary condition. Fluid and hemoglobin from leaky capillaries can pool under the eyes giving a bruised effect and nasal congestion dilates and darkens the veins that drain from the eyes to the nose. Dark circles can also be caused by anemia. The thinner the skin and the more deep set the eyes are, the worse the condition can appear. Skin can appear more pale due to lack of sleep, hormonal changes and pregnancy, which intensify the look of the dark circles though these factors do not actually cause dark circles.
Tiny white bumps
Also known as milia, these are dry, dead cells trapped under your skin. Often this is due to using heavy eye creams, which can clog pores. Clear and prevent them by switching to a cream containing a less greasy moisturiser such as hyaluronic acid.
The skin around the eye can be 1/10th as thick as the skin on the rest of the face. Due to the lesser amount of oil glands around the eyes, this part of the face is more likely to show premature signs of aging if it is neglected. It is therefore necessary to pay special attention to the eye area and treat it diligently and consistently.
Love your skin!