When it comes to having an amazing complexion with radiant, glowing skin, the fact is that anti-wrinkle cream and illuminator can only do so much. Your diet plays an integral part in both the function and appearance of your skin, and if you arm yourself with a little know-how and a nutritious pantry, you will nourish you skin from the inside out and be rewarded with an amazing complexion.
“Our diet provides us with nutrients to nourish our skin, including zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C and bioflavonoids to name a few,” says respected Sydney-based nutritionist and naturopath Tania Flack. In addition to nourishing our bodies and our complexions, our diet also also provides us with a range of antioxidants that help us fight the ageing process by combating free radicals (molecules which are a leading cause of skin stress, inflammation and accelerated skin ageing).
“If our diet is poor and we are eating processed foods that contain a high level of chemicals, additives, herbicides and pesticides, then this accelerates the ageing process,” says Tania. Continue reading to discover more of Tania’s top nutritional tips, and learn how you can eat your way to gorgeous, glowing skin.
BEWARE THE SWEET STUFF
While we all worry about that chocolate fudge brownie with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate syrup going straight to our hips, it turns out that it could be contributing to our crow’s feet as well.
“Sugars occur naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains and are part of a healthy wholefoods diet. However, extra sugars added to the diet are associated with accelerated ageing,” says Tania. Accelerated skin ageing can be caused by a number of things like sun damage and smoking, but one of the major causes is glycation.
Extra sugars added to the diet are associated with accelerated ageing
Glycation is a natural process that occurs within our bodies, and it involves protein molecules linking up with sugar, which triggers an inflammatory and oxidative process that damages the collagen and elastin within our skin.
While this process is normal and natural, an excessively sugary diet will intensify glycation, which will in turn speed up the ageing process – hence why sugar is one of your skin’s biggest enemies. “Ideally we should all try to avoid added sugar in our day-to-day diets and use it as a treat occasionally for special celebrations such as birthdays,” says Tania.
DAIRY – A FACTOR IN ADULT ACNE?
If you’ve well and truly left your teenage years behind but still struggle with acne and blemishes, reducing your dairy intake might help you on your way to a glowing, spot-free complexion.
“I do see significant improvements in skin when people eliminate dairy from their diet as part of a detoxification program to improve skin,” says Tania. “In clinic I have observed that dairy consumption seems to be associated with skin congestion, however the reasons for this are unclear. It is possible that the milk proteins including casein and whey may cause problems for some people and impact gut function.”
Impaired gut function can cause a whole host of problems for you and your skin, as it can ultimately interfere with your body’s detoxification processes, which will in turn put more pressure on the eliminatory function of your skin.
If you do decide to ditch dairy in an effort to reduce skin congestion, it’s important that you still consume plenty of calcium to keep your bones healthy and happy. Eating foods like canned salmon and sardines, kale, bok choy, watercress, almonds, calcium-fortified soy milk and tofu, chia seeds and sesame seeds will help boost your calcium intake.
EAT YOUR WAY TO GLOWING SKIN
Upping your intake of fibre and wholefoods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds will give your diet a massive nutritional boost and ensure that your skin (and body) is getting the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it’s craves.
In addition, eating the healthy fats will also improve your complexion. “Essential fatty acids found in fish and seafood provides an array of benefits for the skin. They are strongly anti-inflammatory and help to slow the ageing process,” says Tania.
Essential fatty acids can specifically help your skin by nourishing cell membranes, which will in turn strengthen your skin. Essential fatty acids have also been shown to support healthy hormone balance as well, which is a fantastic added benefit for women.
Great sources of essential fatty acids include fresh sardines, mackerel, salmon, prawns and scallops. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, all isn’t lost – foods like avocado, coconut oil and chia seeds will help boost your intake of the good, skin-loving types of fat.
H20 TO THE RESCUE
We’ve all heard the old ‘eight glasses of water a day’ adage, but does your daily water intake actually play that big of a role in how your skin looks? According to Tania, the answer is a resounding yes.
“Dehydration can cause skin to look dry, and we should aim for a minimum of 1.5 litres of water per day and avoid excess alcohol and caffeine, which accelerate dehydration.” If you can’t part ways with your daily cup of tea or coffee or that cheeky glass of pinot on a Friday night (hey, we get it), make sure you have an extra glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you drink.
In addition, if you’re exercising you should aim to drink an extra two glasses of water for every half hour of exercise you do.
SUPPLEMENT YOUR SKIN
While supplements should never be used as a substitute for eating healthily, they can help give your diet and your skin a helping hand.
One of our favourite supplements for amazing skin is The Beauty Chef’s Glow Inner Beauty Powder. This tasty berry-flavoured powder combines a blend of organic and natural ingredients that are bio-fermented for gut health and packed full of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and amino acids, which nourish your skin from the inside to help give your skin a healthy glow on the outside.
Another supplement we love is Amazonia Raw Prebiotic Women’s Multi. Not only does this wholefood-loaded supplement boost your intake of vitamins and minerals, but it also contains fermented ingredients that act as powerful pre- and probiotics that promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Healthy intestinal flora help your body extract maximum nutrition from the foods you eat, which in turn boosts your overall health and wellbeing, and can also improve the appearance of your skin.
We know that antioxidants are one of your skin’s best friends when it comes to anti-ageing, but ensuring that you eat enough antioxidant-rich foods to create a noticeable improvement in your skin can be a tricky task (how many blueberries can one person eat in a day, right?). Enter Matcha Maiden Green Tea. Made entirely of stone-ground organic green tea leaves, this vibrant green powder contains the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of antioxidant-rich green tea, which helps your body combat age-accelerating free radicals.