The skin is the largest organ in the body, and a big organ has a big job: acting as a barrier that protects the rest of the body from any harm on the outside. Nutrition plays an important role in skin health, with our diet having a significant effect on the health and ageing of our skin.
By including the foods in this blog in your diet, you can help to keep your skin healthy and ensure it’s doing its job properly.
Rich in healthy fats, avocados make a great addition to your diet for many reasons including skin health. Including healthy fats in your diet is essential for helping to keep skin soft and supple, with one study of over 700 women finding that a high intake of fat – in particular that found in avocados – was associated with an improved appearance of the skin.
Not only a good source of healthy fats, avocados are also rich in vitamin E – an antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from oxidative damage.
Rich in lycopene and vitamin C as well as all the other major carotenoids, tomatoes are a great food for maintaining healthy skin. Beta carotene, lutein and lycopene have all been shown to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, and in turn may also help to prevent wrinkling.
Walnuts contain various nutrients that can help support healthy skin. They are a good source of essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, as well as zinc, vitamin E and selenium. Zinc is essential for the skin to function properly as a barrier, and is also necessary for wound healing and combating bacteria.
Red grapes contain a compound called resveratrol, which is known to reduce the effects of ageing – in particular it may slow the production of free radicals, which can damage skin cells and cause signs of ageing.
Like tomatoes, sweet potatoes are a great source of beta carotene. Carotenoids like beta carotene act as a natural sun block, helping to protect the skin cells from sun exposure which could possibly help to prevent sunburn and wrinkled skin. Other sources of beta carotene include oranges, carrots and spinach.
Last but by no means least, you’ll be pleased to know that eating chocolate can be good for you – but only if it is the right type and in moderation. Cocoa has some impressive effects on the skin, according to some studies. One study found that after consuming cocoa powder high in antioxidants for 6-12 weeks, participants reported their skin felt thicker and more hydrated. Another study found that skin may withstand over twice as much UV radiation before burning after consuming 20g of high-antioxidant dark chocolate per day compared to consuming the same amount of low-antioxidant chocolate.
To maximize the benefits of chocolate, choose a dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa and keep added sugar to a minimum.