Best Foods To Feed Our Skin

Best Foods To Feed Our Skin

When I talk about feeding our skin I’m not suggesting mushing strawberries into your face or rubbing avocado skins on the soles of your feet. Though I do have some great homemade food cupboard recipes for face scrubs which you can check out on my Instagram. But no, when I talk of foods that feed our skin I’m referring to those foods that help our skin to glow. This can be because of vitamins and minerals that keep our skin hydrated and encourage cell growth. It may be because of the healthy fats that encourage the natural oils in our skin to do their best work.

Best Foods To Feed Our Skin

It’s true, of course, that there are foods (and drinks) that, if consumed too often can have a negative effect on our skin health. That’s likely because they’re generally not having a positive impact on our overall health and the skin tends to be one of the first parts of the body to ‘speak up’. Whether that’s through acne breakouts or by just seeming a little duller than usual. There is a relationship between regular alcohol consumption and the appearance of our skin and those with rosacea-prone or just very sensitive skin, may find that spicy foods can irritate and escalate problems.

However, here at Olive & Joyce, we’re all about positivity. So I’m not going to list all the bad foods for your skin. Partly because everyone reacts differently to different diets so there’s no definitive ‘bad food’. Also though, because we spend so much time focusing on what’s ‘bad’ that we don’t focus on what we should be eating. Personally, I know thinking about the food I can have loads of, is much better than thinking about foods I might want to avoid.

So, let’s look at some of the best foods for skin known for generally having a really positive effect. Hey, I’ll even set you a challenge - why not see if you can eat at least one thing from these food groups every day for two weeks and see if you notice a change in the appearance or feel of your skin?

Lovely, Goodness-Packed, Growth-Enhancing Fats

There is much talk about ‘good fats’ vs ‘bad fats’. Basically, the bad fats include a lot of the heavily processed foods we tend to enjoy including crisps, sausages, bacon, chips, cakes, etc. They contain saturated fat which has been proved in some cases to plump the skin but has also been found to cause or increase acne outbreaks. Therefore, the fats that are far better for our skin are the essential fatty acids that spur on the skin’s natural oils, helping to keep the skin hydrated and supple.

Omegas For Good Skin

Essential fatty acids include omegas-3s and omega-6s. These assist the growth of cell membranes, responsible for the skin’s elasticity and keeping us looking young.

Omega-3s can be found in oils including sunflower and olive oil, soy and walnuts. Omega-6s are found in grains, brazil nuts and avocados. Many of these foods contain both omegas. Additionally, as well as being some of the best foods for skin, they also offer the same lovely gifts to our hair, helping its natural shine and boasting the natural oils in our hair follicles too.

Non-Dairy Alternatives

It’s not that dairy alternatives are necessarily good for our skin that gets them on our best foods for skin list. It’s more that some dairy products can have a negative effect on some people's skin. Now, this doesn’t apply to everyone and it’s difficult to know why, but some people find that milk and - I’m so sorry - ice cream, can cause them acne break-outs. If this is something you’re suffering from, one thing I would suggest is switching to plant-based alternatives for a couple of months and seeing if you find your symptoms easing.

Although we’ve traditionally been encouraged to consume milk for its many benefits, many are finding that dairy milk is an irritant to not only their skin but also their digestion. Also, the benefits of dairy are found in many other plant-based foods.

If you do decide to try a switch please do so for at least a month, preferably two. It takes longer than a few days for your skin to adjust to any change in routine. In fact, the change can inflame skin initially. This can also happen when swapping out chemical skincare for natural skincare products. However, once your skin has adjusted is when you will either see an improvement or not. This can take a few weeks so try to be patient and don’t change anything else in your diet or skincare routine at the same time if you wish to test the effect of eliminating one specific product.

There are many non-dairy alternatives to milk including almond milk and soy milk that are rich in omegas, which make our list of some of the best foods for skin (see above).

Antioxidant-Rich Berries

You cannot protect your skin from damage completely. It will dry out at times, crack and will be exposed to toxins and pollution, unfortunately on a regular basis. So something we need to focus on is the best food for skin to repair and restore.

Antioxidant Foods For Your Skin

Antioxidants protect our skin, and other organs, from toxins. Antioxidants basically do battle with free radicals that get into our body. Yes, free radicals - isn’t scientifically terminology cool sometimes? These radicals are nasty little buggers that can cause anything from minor to severe illnesses and our antioxidants are locked in a perpetual battle with them. When we’re healthy you can be assured our antioxidants are winning and when we’re run down, tired and getting poorly, it’s a sign that they're being outnumbered. So, we need to do all we can to keep those antioxidants of ours high in numbers and fighting fit.

As you know, our skin suffers early on when we’re getting fatigued or our body is busy focusing on other things and hasn’t the time to regenerate skin cells at the rate it can when it’s fully functioning. One of the most antioxidant-rich foods we can absorb is berries, which is great news because most of us love berries - especially on top of dairy-free ice cream. If you’re trying for a healthier lifestyle though, perhaps mixing your berries with some wholegrain cereal would be wiser. 

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and pomegranates have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, containing lots of lovely vitamin A and vitamin C. However, antioxidants can also be found in broccoli, carrots, potatoes and lots of the leafy green vegetables we’re about to put on a pedestal too.

Leafy Green Goodness

Whilst berries are high in Vitamin A and C, leafy green vegetables will provide essential Vitamin E and much more besides. Get ready for some serious science because the benefits of leafy greens, including spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage and more, are vast.

Leafy Greens That Are Good For Skin

Firstly, like berries, leafy greens are high in vitamin A responsible for flushing out toxins and keeping tissues healthy. Vitamin E is combatting those free radicals and folate is taking care of cell regeneration. They also contain nutrients and lutein, an antioxidant that boosts hydration and, of course, there’s chlorophyll which is naturally anti-ageing. Coming directly from plants, these vegetables also are experts at dealing with the sun’s rays and are a natural protector against sun damage, which makes them one of the best food for skin in the summer months especially.

Snack On Nuts For Glowing Skin

If you are fortunate enough to be able to eat nuts then these are a great boost for your skin. They are so easy to get into your diet and can be added to stir fry, curry cereal and salad or just be a great healthy snack food. They are also superb at filling you up quickly if you find yourself hungry between meals. But why are they good foods for skin?

Best Nuts For Skin

Apart from containing vitamins A, C and E, as already mentioned, they also contain minerals. Especially copper and zinc which maintains our skin's elasticity, smoothing wrinkles and assisting our skin’s natural self-healing. Walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, pistachios and almonds are some of the best nuts for our skin but seeds are also high in minerals and fatty acids which are the building blocks for strong, supple skin. Similar to nuts, seeds can be easily added to salads, cereal and smoothies and can even be d on top of roasted vegetables and added to dips such as hummus. I find it’s best to keep them close to things you use regularly in the kitchen, such as oil and salt, as a visible reminder whilst you get into the habit of adding them to your meals.

Final Word On Best Foods For Your Skin

A good diet is so important for preserving your skin’s natural defences. When we’re fighting off illness, struggling with stress or when the weather or environment changes, it is often our skin that suffers first. Or at least it shows up in our skin early on. This is because our body is preoccupied elsewhere keeping us healthy and so shedding and growing new skin cells and hydrating skin takes a back seat whilst the body focuses on other organs and takes up arms against toxins and other nasties. Whilst this is exactly what the body should do, we can help our skin to stay radiant by giving it everything it needs to ensure it’s resilient. A healthy, balanced diet that includes predominantly whole foods is essential for this and, whilst healthy habits can be hard to establish and maintain, it really is a gift that your amazing, miraculous body deserves more than anything else.

Oh! And drinking lots of water is very very important too - did you think I was about to finish an article without mentioning water? Not a chance!

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