Everyone wants glowing and flawless skin. Unfortunately, as we age, extrinsic skin damage develops due to exposure to UV radiation, stress, poor nutrition, alcohol intake and environmental pollution. Although good skin is partially influenced by our genes, having a balanced diet that is packed with antioxidants can help your skin glow and maintain its youthful appearance for as long as possible. Here are my top five favourite “beauty foods”.
Guava is rich in vitamin C, a crucial antioxidant for wrinkle prevention as it promotes collagen formation and skin regeneration. One guava (55g) contains 125.6mg vitamin C which meets the daily requirement for adults; 75mg for women and 90mg for men. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C, including red and green peppers, raw tomatoes, broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries and oranges.
It's important to note that the potency of vitamin C can be diminished by cooking and prolonged storage, but steaming may lessen such losses. In general, consuming five varied servings of fruits and vegetables each day can provide an adequate amount of vitamin C to meet your daily needs.
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, which help regulate inflammation, maintain skin moisture and prevent dryness. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week, with a recommended serving of 3.5 ounces; preferably of oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, eel, and albacore tuna. Vegetarians or individuals who don’t eat fish can choose flaxseeds, walnuts and canola oil as an alternative.
Germinated Brown Rice
When brown rice is germinated, its nutritional content is greatly increased. Germinated brown rice is rich in GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), lysine, vitamin E, niacin, magnesium, vitamin B1 and B6, ferulic acid and zinc. All of these nutrients contribute to healthy skin due to their antioxidant and skin-protecting properties.
Research shows that GABA can help improve sleep - another key to great skin - and its levels in germinated brown rice were found to be 10 times more than that of white rice, and two times more than that of regular brown rice.
Edible seaweeds are good sources of dietary fibre, vitamins A and B, iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and phenolic compounds. These nutrients have remarkable anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Enjoy seaweeds in moderation in noodles, salads, soup or sushi. However, seaweeds - particularly kelp - are rich in iodine, and eating too much over a long period of time can adversely affect thyroid function. It is recommended to consume kelp no more than once a week.
Turmeric has long been known to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and wound-healing properties. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which works by scavenging free radicals that could potentially damage our skin cells.
Fresh or dried turmeric can be added as a spice to soups, seafood, chicken, rice, lentils, and vegetable dishes. Other herbs and spices such as cloves, oregano, ginger, and cinnamon are also good sources of antioxidants. Whatever you like, the key is to consume a variety.
Drink at least six to eight glasses of fluids daily to keep your skin hydrated.
Limit your sugar intake. Sugar can speed up signs of ageing by producing advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Accumulation of AGEs can affect the structure of the skin, leading to increased stiffness and reduced elasticity.
Drink sensibly, as drinking too much alcohol can dehydrate your skin and form wrinkles.
Smoking has been proven to damage collagen and elastin, leading to dull skin and premature signs ageing.
Sleep seven to nine hours each night to allow your skin to rest and regenerate.