If a radiant complexion is at the top of your wish list this summer, it’s time to start thinking about how to nourish your skin from the inside out. Eli Brecher, recipe developer, food stylist and nutritionist shares with By Terry her top tips for a glowy skin this summer.
As the body’s largest organ, the skin’s condition is often a reflection of what we eat. It’s important to consume a healthy balanced diet, which includes getting your 5-a-day to ensure a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Protein intake and healthy fats (specifically omega-3) also play a key role in glowing skin.
Many factors contribute to skin damage and premature aging, including sun exposure, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, high stress levels and even your genes, but by focusing on our diets, we are able to feed our skin with the nutrition it needs. There are no quick fixes when it comes to the health of our skin (or the rest of our body), so consistency is key and will pay off in the long-term!
A diverse and colourful diet is essential, and summer is a great opportunity to try different seasonal foods. If you want to get glowing skin with food, here are some of the most important nutrients you’ll need – and what foods you can find them in.
1. Load Up On Antioxidants
The sun’s UV rays lead to harmful oxygen free radicals in the body, which damage the skin’s structure, contributing to wrinkles over time. Antioxidants can help combat these free radicals and are found in colourful fruits and vegetables – so challenge yourself to eat the rainbow every day! Plus who needs to sunbathe when you can just spritz on BY TERRY’s Tea to Tan anyway?
Good dietary sources of antioxidants include: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, beetroot and mushrooms – and all of these are all in season throughout the summer!
2. Keep Your Vitamin C Levels Up
Vitamin C plays two important roles when it comes to skin. Firstly, it’s an antioxidant (as described above), so helps to fight free radicals and repairs oxidative stress (which leads to fine lines).
Vitamin C is also required for collagen production in the body. Collagen is essential for the skin’s elasticity. To help keep your skin firm and supple, ensure you’re getting an adequate intake of vitamin C so that collagen can be manufactured efficiently by the body. Take advantage of delicious summer foods like strawberries to get your vitamin C.
Good dietary sources of vitamin C include: Oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, blackcurrant, broccoli and parsley
3. Speed Up Skin Cell Reproduction With Vitamin A
Vitamin A is essential for skin cell reproduction, and comes in two forms. Beta-carotene (provitamin A) is a potent antioxidant, found in red and yellow fruits and vegetables. Retinol (vitamin A1) is found in animal products and may reduce wrinkle formation and help with acne. In addition, retinol has a photoprotective effect, which means it prevents the skin from absorbing UV rays.
Good dietary sources of vitamin A include: Beta-carotene: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, red and yellow peppers
Retinol: oily fish, liver, cheese, butter
4. Get Enough Zinc
Zinc helps the skin to heal after injuries and keeps cell walls stable. It is important for the skin’s oil-producing sebaceous glands, and maintains soft and supple skin.
Good dietary sources of zinc include: Fish, poultry, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and shellfish
5. Eat Your Greens
Lutein is a major carotenoid (another type of antioxidant), which helps protect against UV rays and reduce premature signs of ageing, so that you can maintain that youthful complexion.
Good dietary sources of lutein include: Green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, pistachio nuts, green peas
6. Add Oily Fish To Your Diet
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies and herrings are among the best foods for skin. Firstly, they are rich in protein, which is required for collagen and elastin to support the integrity of the skin (as well as for healthy hair and nails too!)
The second benefit of consuming these fish is that they contain vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant for protecting the skin against free radical damage as well as inflammation.
Finally, oily fish the most bioavailable (best absorbed) source of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 helps to reduce inflammation and provides vital building blocks for the skin cells to keep it healthy and moisturised.
Other sources of omega 3 include: Walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds
7. Stay Hydrated
Mild dehydration can result in a dull complexion, so drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day is key for healthy and hydrated skin. If you’re exercising or sweating, you’ll need even more, especially in the summer months. All fluids count, so herbal tea and green tea (another great source of antioxidants!) keep you hydrated too.
Foods also contain water, so filling up on juicy fruit and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber and tomatoes will contribute to your water intake.
While certain skincare products can help give the illusion of clear glowing skin (CC Serum I’m looking at you!), I truly believe that no cleanser, toner or moisturiser can substitute a healthy and diverse diet. The key to a truly radiant complexion is not found in your makeup bag, but in your kitchen.
I created this Glowing Skin Smoothie recipe below, to incorporate some of my favourite skin-loving ingredients including:
Banana – rich in potassium which helps hydrate skin. Bananas also contain vitamin C which plays a vital role in maintaining the elasticity of the skin keeping it youthful.
Avocado – a healthy monounsaturated fat, which helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins so vitamins A, D, E and K. It also gives the smoothie a delicious creamy consistency.
Strawberries – high in vitamin C, which reduces inflammation that can damage skin tissue. Vitamin C helps with collagen production, which gives our skin its firmness.
Spinach – Loaded with vitamin B, C, E, potassium, iron and calcium just to name a few!
Almond Butter – a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, fibre and protein.
Eli’s Glowing Skin Smoothie
1 frozen banana
¼ cup frozen strawberries
Large handful of spinach
1 tbsp almond butter
½ cup almond milk
Blend all ingredients, pour into a glass and drink up!