We often talk about how nutrition impacts our internal organs’ function. But, we frequently forget that our diet can affect our largest organ - the skin. If you are looking for youthful and glowing skin, then look no further. This article features some of the best superfoods to keep your skin looking radiant and most of all, healthy.
One of the most potent superfruit sources of antioxidants in the world is the Aronia berry, also known as the chokeberry. Thanks to their high levels of polyphenols (micronutrients packed with antioxidants) the Aronia berry can provide a whole host of health benefits while leaving your skin glowing. Antioxidants have been shown to reduce inflammation, easing the symptoms of acne to provide a clearer complexion.
Chokeberries also contain high levels of the mineral zinc, essential for the body’s production of skin cells, they can ease irritation and aid in healing acne wounds. The Aronia berries high levels of vitamin C also help your body to produce collagen. Collagen supplies your skin with elasticity and helps reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. This little berry definitely packs a powerful punch when maintaining beautiful radiant skin.
This leafy green is often overlooked when discussing superfoods, but watercress is nutrient-dense and supports both your internal and external organ health. Packed with vitamins A, C, K, B-1, and B-2, as well as Calcium, Potassium, Manganese and Phosphorus, what was once considered a weed is now a health food powerhouse.
As well as supporting your immune system, improving bone density and helping to lower blood pressure, watercress can also keep your skin looking youthful. Exposure to the sun breaks down the Elastin and Collagen in your skin. The compound Isothiocyanate (ITC) along with vitamin C found in watercress not only stops this breakdown but also aids the production of new collagen, reducing signs of ageing.
A fantastic source of healthy fats, avocados have taken the health food world by storm. The fatty acids help to keep your skin supple and moisturized while reducing inflammation. They are also a great source of Vitamin E, which helps protect your skin from oxidative damage while keeping it hydrated. Avocados also provide good levels of Vitamin A that helps you to shed dead skin cells, keeping your complexion fresh and glowing.
The range of fats, vitamins and compounds found in avocados have been shown to not only protect against UV rays but help to repair the skin and improve chronic conditions like acne or eczema. One of Instagram foodies’ favourite toast toppers, this superfruit can also be used topically as well as eaten. However you incorporate it into your regime, you are sure to have smoother and healthier radiant skin as a result.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts are another great source of fatty acids, which provide your skin with natural moisture and elasticity. Some nuts, like walnuts for example, also contain Omega-3s which have shown anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce the swelling and redness associated with acne.
Other nuts, such as Almonds, are particularly good sources of vitamin E. This helps them to support cell function and strengthen your skin barrier. Studies have also shown that Vitamin E has a protective quality that works against UV damage caused by sun exposure. Although it is important to note that food should not replace the use of sunscreen.
Many of us won’t need much convincing to incorporate chocolate into our diets. But if you have concerns about time spent in the sun and the damage that is having on your skin, you may want to add some to your shopping list. Studies have shown that the high levels of antioxidants present in 70% cocoa dark chocolate could help your body withstand high levels of UV radiation before burning.
These rich antioxidant levels are a result of flavonoids, a diverse group of phytonutrients found in plants and vegetables that are also present in the cocoa bean. Incorporating dark chocolate into their diet, saw individuals reporting improved skin hydration, along with a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles. Dark chocolate can therefore clearly be added to the list of superfoods.
This cruciferous vegetable is another potent source of antioxidants that are important for maintaining your skin health. A bonus of broccoli to get radiant skin is that it contains glucoraphanin, a compound that can help regenerate sun-damaged skin. When eaten the glucoraphanin is converted to sulforaphane, and that also has some amazing health benefits.
Sulforaphane activates the body's natural detoxification and antioxidant enzymes, defending your skin against harmful toxins and flushing them out. Studies have also shown sulforaphane’s have some anti-cancer effects, which can help protect against types of skin cancer. It has also been suggested that topical application of broccoli extract to the skin can work as a natural sunscreen against UV exposure.
Another fantastic source of omega 3 fatty acids is fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel. Dry skin can sometimes be caused by a deficiency of omega 3s in your body, so adding fish into your diet can naturally boost the levels of moisture, regulate oil production and reduce acne breakouts. Its ability to soften rough skin and ease irritation has been known to be beneficial to those suffering from dermatitis.
Another benefit of fish is that it’s a rich source of protein, an essential macronutrient for generating plump, healthy, skin tissue. Protein is an element of all cell production, so a boost of fatty fish in your diet can encourage the repair of damaged skin as well.
To Sum Up - Superfoods for Radiant Skin
What we use to fuel our bodies not only impacts our health on the inside but our health on the outside as well. Choose foods that are high in vitamin C, vitamin E, fatty acids and protein to support healthy skin cell production and improve collagen levels to keep your skin smooth and supple. Incorporating these superfoods into a varied and balanced diet can help you eat your way to glowing and radiant skin.