To put it simply, the skin is an organ. Rather than just sitting on the surface to look pretty, our skin is in charge of regulating temperature, protecting us from the sun, being the first stage of the immune system, and carrying information about the world to our brains via touch. It’s remarkable.
As we age, our skin is affected by the choices we make and the lifestyles we lead. Aside from natural thinning - by about 1% each year after 20 - poor nutrition and exposure to toxins can speed up this damage.
In the same way we would care for our hearts or livers by abstaining from unhealthy foods, a diet for glowing skin can be just as effective. In fact, combined with a regular skincare routine, the following foods can improve the quality of our skin and reduce the signs of ageing:
1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is very much in vogue at the moment. With new health benefits appearing daily, chocolate’s darker, richer cousin could play a defining role in your skincare routine.
Flavonols are the secret ingredient found in dark chocolate that work to protect and replenish. Being antioxidants, they bind with harmful free radicals to prevent damage from environmental toxins.
Sounds too good to be true? It’s important you find the right kind of chocolate. Anything with less than 70% cocoa content won’t have the health benefits of a richer mix.
The flavonols in dark chocolate increase blood flow while reducing blood pressure. They do this by relaxing vessels, allowing more blood to circulate, and improving hydration.
The final weapon in chocolate’s arsenal is stress reduction. By reducing stress hormones in the body, dark chocolate limits collagen breakdown, which is the leading cause of wrinkles.
Source: Alexander Stein
Have you been overlooking the health benefits of eggs? It’s easy to forget that this humble package of complete protein can enrich and revive skin.
Protein plays a vital role in the formation of new skin cells. In fact, proteins form some of the skin’s most important structural elements: elastin and collagen. The amino acids in eggs work to build these proteins among other things.
To make sure these cells function properly, the body uses choline - another chemical supplied by eggs. Choline is responsible for ensuring proper cell signaling and fat metabolism. These things are fundamental to almost all other bodily processes!
Often, the hype surrounding a food’s beneficial properties can mask its true effectiveness. Soybeans have been a staple ingredient of skincare products and plant-based diets for decades.
Whether you’re consuming soy as an oil, tofu, or protein powder, this versatile food can help your skin in a number of ways.
Simply put: isoflavones in soybeans are what create glowing skin.
This class of phytochemicals resemble human estrogen, a female hormone, and work by reducing the appearance of wrinkles and smoothing pigmentation. This creates smoother, fuller skin.
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Surely oily, greasy substances are bad for my skin? Far from it.
Extra virgin olive oil is extremely good for our overall health. Because EVOO is unrefined, it features a host of natural vitamins and nutrients.
In the same way, an emollient skin cream reduces dryness when ingested, olive oil creates a moisture barrier. This barrier stops our skin becoming dehydrated, while the natural antioxidant vitamin E repairs damage.
Vitamin E releases from the sebaceous glands, alongside protective oils. This helps nourish and protect our skin, most noticeably on our faces.
You can imagine why olive oil has been popular in warmer climates for thousands of years. It naturally rejuvenates skin and protects against sun damage.
In fact, research has shown that Greeks, who consume a large amount of olive oil, are considerably less likely to get skin cancer than Australians, who live in a similar climate but consume less.
Salmon features regularly as one of the best foods for glowing skin, having attained mythical status thanks to its various benefits.
With a perfect balance of Omega-3, EPA and DHA, this tasty fish is actually responsible for improving brain functioning and protecting the epidermis.
These essential fatty acids can have a powerful effect on skin conditions. It’s been shown that EPA alone can reduce the symptoms of eczema, while fish oil might be effective against psoriasis.
What about ageing skin? Fish oil plays a significant role in reducing inflammation, the leading cause of wrinkles. As skin swells as part of the healing process, this creates sagging. Salmon can prevent and repair this.
There’s also some controversy over whether DMAE - a molecule found almost exclusively in fish - has miraculous powers of skin recovery. The jury is still out, but some research suggests that DMAE can improve skin elasticity.
Broccoli is widely regarded as one of the world’s healthiest foods. Boasting a list of nutrients that rivals any other plant, cruciferous greens are considered essential to healthy diets.
One of its main benefits comes from glucoraphanin, a chemical found exclusively in broccoli and cauliflower. This compound regenerates skin damaged by the sun, which makes sense given this plant’s Mediterranean heritage!
Aside from this, incredibly high stores of vitamin C and E work to promote collagen production. This protein is a structural element used to keep skin and connective tissues together. As we age, reduced collagen leads to sagging.
As if this wasn’t enough, broccoli is also rich in vitamin A, which is responsible for protecting cell membranes. This works in tandem with glucoraphanin to repair and protect your body’s building blocks from UV damage from the sun.
Broccoli will keep your skin younger, healthier, and glowing for longer.
7. Brazil Nuts
Found in the upper reaches of the Amazon rainforest, the delicious, fleshy Brazil nut is actually a kind of seed. Rich in selenium and unsaturated fats, this pseudo-nut can be a boon to your skin routine.
Roughly 3 brazil nuts make up our entire daily recommended intake of selenium, but why is this nutrient important?
Selenium plays a vital role in the immune system, helping the process of cell regeneration. This naturally improves complexion by rejuvenating our skin.
Beyond this, selenium is also responsible for the functioning of glutathione, a chemical which keeps collagen strong and skin firm.
Whether the thought of its taste fills you with dread or you eat it every morning, the grapefruit is one of the most powerful plant foods available.
A popular addition to many beauty products, grapefruit has some truly wondrous effects on skin.
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant found in these fruits which the body converts into vitamin A. This is vital for normalising blood flow: stimulating the collagen, elastin, and vessels of the dermis to heal wounds, increase hydration and smooth the skin.
Fruits with darker flesh tend to have higher concentrations of this chemical; pink grapefruit are a great source.
By including some of the top foods for glowing skin in our diets, we can reap serious benefits. From improving circulation to repairing cell membranes, nutrients play a vital role in regulating and caring for our bodies. Along with good skin care, foods can help protect against premature ageing.