Saturday, April 14, 2007

10 Foods Your Skin Will Love

Great Advice !

You want to have a brighter complexion that’s free from fine lines, dry, flaky bits, spots, acne and red blotchy patches; skin that doesn’t feel as though it’s dying a slow and painful death from exposure to all manner of evil elements.

Originally uploaded by Papa Razzi1.

Yes, you can nurture your skin with products designed to protect it on the outside, but it’s the internal nurturing you do that will really help make a difference. We have known for some time that our skin is a reflection of our nutritional status. What’s really exciting, though, is that we are beginning to understand much more about the best foods to consume to improve the health, functioning and beauty of our skin. Remember, you only get out of it what you put into it.

Here’s my guide to beautiful, healthy skin you’ll be proud of.

1. CARROTS: help protect against skin cancer

Carrots are an excellent source of the antioxidant group called carotenoids, the most common being Beta carotene. During prolonged exposure to UV rays, blood levels of B-carotene decrease. which can increase the risk of skin cancer. Studies have shown that consuming 30mg of B-carotene per day (that’s the equivalent of about four carrots) for two weeks before, as well as during, a “holiday in the sun”, prevents the drop in B-carotene associated with increased cancer risk. It may also increase the reflective capacity of the skin. The combination of increasing the amount of carotenoids in the diet, and using sunscreen, appears to enhance the protective effects of both.

2. FISH: involved in calming inflammation of the skin

Fish contains dietary compounds valuable for the skin. It’s a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that combat free radicals that damage collagen networks within the skin. Omega-3 is a substance that will invade areas with infected pimples, helping to reduce inflammation. Some studies also confirm its benefits for reducing inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis and psoriasis. Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna, are excellent omega-3 sources and need to be consumed about three times a week to ensure a good intake of omega-3. If you are allergic to fish or don’t like it, see the list below for some alternative sources of omega-3.

If you are not a fish eater, add one of the following for the same amount of omega-3 fats as a 150g salmon fillet:
2 tablespoons (40g) walnut oil
2 tablespoons (40g) wheat germ oil
2 tablespoons (40g) soy bean oil
1 1/2 tablespoon (30g) canola oil
3 1/2 tablespoons (18g) linseed
4 tablespoons (60g) walnuts
1 1/2 cups (300g) soy beans, uncooked


Nutrients in dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach, silver beet, Asian greens and dark-green salad mix have many skin rejuvenating properties. These foods contain the anti-oxidant B-carotene (that is also found in carrots), which has the capacity to destroy cell-damaging free radicals. Iron is also present in these vegetables, and together with the vitamin C they contain, ensures that oxygen is transported to the skin’s cells. An iron deficiency can result in large dark circles forming under the eyes. Broccoli also contains the anti-oxidant vitamin C, which helps to cross-link collagen fibres and prevents collagen from being destroyed by free radicals. Collagen networks support the skin, help promote elasticity and stop it from becoming loose. Collagen also reduces bruising. To enhance the absorption of B-carotene, drizzle a little nut, olive or seed oil over raw or lightly steamed vegetables. Remember that overcooking will destroy the vitamin C.

4. CITRUS FRUIT: keeps your skin elastic

These fruits, which include oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, mandarins and tangelos, contain two compounds that are beneficial for skin health: vitamin C and limonene. Vitamin C works to preserve collagen. Short-term supplementation, under medical supervision, with high daily doses of vitamin C (3g), together with vitamin E (2g), has been shown to reduce the effects of acute sunburn. Limonene, an anti-oxidant found particularly in the peel, may help to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

5. SOY: keeps your skin looking youthful

Phytoestrogens in soy foods, such as soy drinks, tofu, soy and linseed bread, have been found to act like the hormone oestrogen. They help to delay the onset of dry skin and the wrinkling associated with the ageing process. Another important component which is present in soy products is vitamin E, which boosts new cell growth. The exact quantities of phytoestrogens that need to be consumed in order to reap the benefits are unknown. However, including soy products in your diet several times a week is probably a good starting point.

6. WHOLEGRAIN CEREALS: eliminate toxins

The skin is a reflection of your internal health, and toxins within the body can result in unhealthy looking skin. Fibre found in whole grains acts like a purifying system by filtering wastes out of the body. This helps to boost the skin’s potential to be healthy and clear. Calcium may also have a role to play in the removal of toxins. So the combination of a wholegrain breakfast cereal and calcium-rich milk or soy may offer additional benefits. Isovitexin, which is an anti-oxidant found in wild rice, in particular, has been touted as having anti ageing properties for the skin and is also found in some skin creams.

7. TOMATOES: fight collagen damage and premature wrinkling

Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene, which has the potential to decrease collagen damage deep within the skin’s tissue, which is where wrinkles are formed. Many skin treatments and creams now contain lycopene, but there appear to be enhanced benefits from eating foods containing lycopene, such as tomatoes, watermelon, guava and pink grapefruit. The redder the tomato, the higher its lycopene content. Cooking tomatoes increases this level.

8. BERRIES: slow down the ageing process

Anti-oxidants called anthocyanins have anti-ageing abilities, as they are believed to protect the body against chemical carcinogens and ultraviolet light. They are found in berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and cranberries. These fruits also contain the anti-oxidant vitamin C, which helps to reconstruct damaged collagen. Berries can be eaten all year round. But if fresh berries are not available, try buying them frozen from supermarkets or drink blackcurrant juice to boost your anthocyanin intake.

9. PLANT AND SEED OILS: healthy glow, reduced dryness

Oils from olives, nuts and avocados provide the skin with a healthy glow. The essential fatty acids found in these foods reduce clogged pores by thinning out the oils secreted by them. It has been suggested that people affected by eczema have an abnormal essential fatty acid metabolism and may benefit from an adjustment of the types and quantities of the fat in their diet. However, this sort of dietary manipulation is complex. The presence of vitamin E in these oils ensures the production of new cell growth, keeping the skin supple, smooth and moist. The combination of this antioxidant vitamin with others such as Beta-carotene is believed to protect against redness of the skin and therefore may be useful for diminishing sensitivity to ultraviolet light and the effects of sun damage. How much do we need? Including small amounts of these healthy oils in your diet every day would be advisable for healthy skin.

10. SHELLFISH: promotes clear, smooth skin

The acne terminator zinc, found in oysters and other molluscs, decreases acne flareups. It also plays a major role in helping break down damaged collagen, allowing new collagen to form which, in turn, makes the skin look youthful. One of the clinical signs of zinc deficiency is dry, flaky skin. Most people need 12mg of zinc per day, so try some of these foods: ‘/2 dozen oysters (19mg), 100g lean lamb (Smg), l bowl of fortified breakfast cereal (2mg), 1 cup of baked beans (1.Smg), 1 cup of cooked spinach (lmg), 1 slice of wholemeal bread (0.4mg).

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