Want radiant, beautiful skin? You already know that your daily skincare routine is super important. Sunscreen is a must, at any age and in any season. So is thoroughly removing your makeup before bed. Yes, every time!
However, no amount of moisturising can beat a bad diet. Your diet is the building block for your body’s ability to deal with everyday aggressors like sun, wind, pollution and bacteria, and for it to regenerate cells. Here’s a simple rundown of the best nutrients for skin – and the best foods you can eat.
1. Vitamins E, A and K
What do they do? Vitamin E protects your skin from UV rays while keeping it soft. Vitamin A also acts as defence while increasing cell renewal, and vitamin K helps with circulation.
Where can I find them? You can find vitamins E and A in extra virgin olive oil, nuts, tomatoes, and avocados. Vitamin K only comes from animal sources like ghee or fatty fish.
Try them in: GHEE EASY (£6, nationwide Sainsbury’s stores) – made from grass-fed, organically reared cows. It’s high in all three, and quite a few of the other nutrients on this list as well. Because some of the vitamins are fat-soluble, eating them in ghee makes it easier for your body to absorb them.
2. Omega 3s
What do they do? Omega 3’s fatty acids help cell membrane health. This barrier keeps harmful things out and lets nutrients in. Omega 3’s also help boost the cells’ ability to retain water, keeping the skin hydrated and soft and reducing wrinkles.
Where can I find them? Seafood, especially tuna, salmon and mackerel; walnuts.
Try them in: itsu has stores nationwide serving super-fresh, calorie considered, delicious meals that are loaded with fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Try the itsu Sushi Festival Box (£5.99, nationwide itsu restaurants)which includes a stellar line up of 17 sushi pieces.
What do they do? A type of antioxidant compound, polyphenols are thought to protect the skin and enhance skin growth.
Where can I find them? Tea, particularly green and white tea, coffee, and dark chocolate. In other words, in all the best things.
Try them in: A cup of green tea is great, but it won’t pack the same punch as Clearspring’s Organic Matcha Shot (£6.25, available from www.clearspring.co.uk) This vibrant green powder comes from only the best green tea grown in a remote region of Japan.
What does it do? Another type of polyphenol, research suggests that resveratrol neutralises free radicals, promotes longer cell life and reduces cell damage.
Where can I find it? Red wine, white wine, balsamic and red wine vinegars, peanuts and pistachios.
Try it in: Red wine is great, but if you don’t partake or would prefer to steer clear of alcohol’s dehydrating effects (not great for the skin), then we recommend a glug of Seggiano’s resveratrol-rich but alcohol free artisan vinegars. (£8.20 250ml bottle, available from www.seggiano.com )
5. Complex carbohydrates
What do they do? It’s more what they don’t do. Processed and refined carbs lead to sharper rises and drops in blood sugar, which in turn triggers a cascade of different aging hormones and sometimes insulin resistance. Eating slow-release carbs can avoid this, and also many whole foods contain healthy minerals that help boost skin health.
Where can I find them? Oats, pulses like lentils and chickpeas, lotus seeds.
Try them in: Nairn’s Rough Oatcakes (£1, nationwide Sainsbury’s stores) are some of the healthiest snacks on the market. You can pile them high with nut butters or fatty fish, or have them on their own instead of crisps.
What does it do? We don’t need to tell you how important water is for health. While drinking loads of water may not be the skin panacea experts once claimed, there’s no doubt that dehydration will have an effect on your appearance. Try pinching the skin on the back of your hand to see if the skin bounces back right away. If it doesn’t, you might need to set a reminder on your phone to drink more throughout the day.
Where can I find it? Come on now.
Try it in: If you need to jazz up your hydration, steer clear of fizzy drinks and opt for a fizzy, probiotic choice like Equinox Kombucha (£1.80 nationwide Waitrose stores). Low in sugars and naturally carbonated, it contributes to a healthy gut while keeping you hydrated.
What does it do? Sugar is terrible for your complexion! It’s known to cause ageing through inflammation, it inhibits collagen production and it’s addictive, so the more you have, the harder it is to turn away from. If there’s one thing that experts all agree on, it’s that sugar should be avoided except as a rare treat.
Where can I find it? Avoid high-sugar sweets and pastries, but also beware of hidden sugars: they pop up in staggering quantities in processed foods like pastries and ready meals. Refined carbs are more or less going to be absorbed by the body as sugar, so avoid those as well.
Try: For those times you’d like a treat, opt for a product that has health benefits and uses less refined sugar like coconut sugars, such as Ombar Raw Chocolate (£1.99 from www.ombar.co.uk), which is dairy-free and full of beneficial nutrients – and you can buy a 30g bar to avoid further temptation.