What should you eat if you’re concerned about aging or your skin in general? Christine Bailey, Nutrition Expert for The Harley Medical Group shares her top ten ‘superfoods’ so you can add them to your shopping trolley.
Christine, an award winning nutritional therapist, chef, author and broadcaster, with over 18 years of experience, says these ingredients won’t just get your skin glowing, they’ll also help to address other skin concerns you may have.
Let’s start with her top tips for aging:
A popular trend in 2016. Bone broth looks like it will become one of the top foods for 2017 too. Bone broth is great for maintaining a smooth, plump looking skin as it’s full of collagen plus essential amino acids to maintain connective tissue. Collagen is what gives tissues their strength and keeps skin supple, smooth and elastic. When bones are simmered for hours, the collagen inside them cooks down into gelatin, which when ingested, gives our skin immediate nourishment and helps reduce inflammation which is associated with redness, swelling and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Worried about aging? Then you need to pack your diet with plenty of antioxidant rich berries. Antioxidants are one of the most important factors in maintaining beautiful skin. They help fight and neutralize free radicals (one of skin’s worst enemies), which are known to damage skin cells and collagen, causing wrinkles, dull and dry skin.
Berries like blueberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and A. Vitamin C is also essential for the production of collagen in the body while vitamin A can be helpful for acne prone skin. Berries are lower in sugar than many other fruits. Sugar is one of the major contributing factors to aging skin as it contributes to increased cell damage and inflammation. You can give your skin a super boost by adding super berry powders to your smoothies which are particularly rich in antioxidants – try acai berry or goji berry powders or snack on goji berries for a healthy treat.
A nutrition powerhouse eggs contains a range of nutrients important for our skin and hair. In fact some people apply raw eggs directly onto their hair to help with hair condition. A great source of protein needed to produce collagen they are also one of the best sources of biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin particularly important for healthy hair and skin If you suffer with dry, irritated skin or brittle hair or hair loss then you may be missing out on this important nutrient. Biotin is found exclusively in the yolk of the egg and is not at all present in egg whites so skip those egg white omelettes. Eggs also provide zinc and iron which are equally important for healthy hair.
If you’re concerned about… DEHYDRATION
Keeping your skin hydrated is essential for glowing skin. But if you struggle to consume enough water through the day why not add the juice of ½ lemon to a glass of warm water. This combination is ideal for giving your skin a fresh glow. Lemon is incredible for skin, not only because it’s packed with vitamin C, which helps us make collagen.
If you’re concerned about… REDNESS
Great topically applied as a face mask as well in your salad. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (like olive oil), which helps lower inflammation, reduce redness and keeps your skin hydrated and moisturized. They are a great source of vitamin E, carotenoids and vitamin C which are powerful skin protecting antioxidants. Beta carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A which plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin. It improves healthy cell turnover in the topmost layer of the skin (the epidermis), the nails and the hair. Vitamin A also nourishes and sustains the cells in the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that feed the skin this can help prevent thread veins which typically occur as we age.
If you’re concerned about… DULL SKIN
This fermented milk drink may be one of the best additions to your diet for glowing skin and healthy digestion. Packed with beneficial bacteria kefir can help support the body’s immune system, lower inflammation and improve detoxification – all important for improving the appearance of your skin. Probiotics are also important to support the skin’s barrier function. The skin acts as a physical barrier to protect the internal organs and keep out pathogens and other toxins. Not only are there microflora that live in the human gut, but there is also a skin microbiome, with friendly microorganisms to protect us.
A healthy skin microbiome helps protect against unfriendly bacteria, pollution and free radicals, all of which can accelerate aging. Studies have now been undertaken on adding probiotics to topical creams to help relieve skin conditions and reduce inflammation. So as well as adding kefir to your morning smoothie you could try applying it to your skin as a face mask.
If you’re concerned about… ACNE
Broccoli & Leafy Greens
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, red and green cabbage, watercress and Brussels sprouts are perfect for achieving a clear complexion. They contain a range of sulphur compounds including indole 3 carbinol which help support liver function including the metabolism of sex hormones like oestrogen.
During a normal menstrual cycle hormone level fluctuate and oestrogen levels drop and rise again. Many women find that they are more prone to skin breakouts around their period due to hormone changes so try adding in more leafy greens to keep hormones balanced.
If you’re concerned about… DRY SKIN AND ECZEMA
Oily fish in general, and salmon in particular, is packed full of omega 3 fatty acids another important fat for glowing skin. Omega 3 fats are converted into powerful anti-inflammatory agents in the body. It is therefore important to consume enough of them, especially if you are prone to inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, contact dermatitis, hives or psoriasis.
They help repair damaged skin, maintain healthy cell membranes and keep the skin looking supple and soft. They are also incredibly protective. One population study of almost 3,000 people showed, eating more omega 3 fatty acids is associated with a lower rate of sunlight-induced skin ageing. Omega 3s can be found in oily fish and plant oils such as flaxseed (linseed), walnut and pumpkin seed.
Known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties turmeric is a fabulous addition for improving skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. To optimize the absorption of the active compound curcumin in turmeric it is best consumed with a little oil and black pepper. Try adding to soups, stews and curries. It’s also delicious in a creamy smoothie.
If you’re concerned about… SCARRING
Sweet potatoes like pumpkin, butternut squash and carrots are packed full of a nutrient called beta-carotene. Beta carotene is converted by the body into Vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency often results in dry skin which can also affect your scalp and lead to dry irritated scalp and dandruff. If you are prone to acne, then including more beta carotene rich foods can be helpful. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C which can help speed up healing useful if you are prone to scaring, and supports the production of collagen to maintain our skin’s elasticity.