Whether you’re heading into autumn as we are in Sydney, or gearing up for spring in the northern hemisphere, studies show that clear, radiant skin is intimately linked to what’s on your plate. “Aside from genetics and lifestyle factors, eating a nourishing diet filled with healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals can often mean the difference between a fresh, glowing complexion and a tired, dull or puffy one,” says Canberra-based Accredited Practising Dietitian Georgia Houston from GH Nutrition.
Below, she breaks down the skin-loving nutrients you need to know about.
“As an antioxidant, it prevents oxidative damage to cells by helping to remove free radicals—the bad guys that contribute to illness and ageing. This means that it helps the body with the natural wound-healing process and helps to renew skin cells.
Foods rich in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, avocadoes, eggs, walnuts and green leafy spinach.”
“It helps to neutralise free radicals, such as that caused by sun damage. It also helps us to make the proteins collagen and elastin, which bind skin cells together, giving our skin its youthful elasticity and prevention of fine lines and wrinkles.
Foods rich in vitamin C include berries, capsicum, citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Fun fact, did you know kiwi fruit has three times the amount of vitamin C than an orange?”
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
“Powerful anti-inflammatory agents, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body and provide nourishment to the skin. Omega-3 fatty acids are also responsible for skin repair, moisture content and overall flexibility. Think of them as foods that make your skin glow.
Foods rich in omega-3s include salmon, mackerel, sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds.”
“Zinc is essential for skin healing and preventing infections. Upping your zinc not only helps maintain healthy, radiant skin, but it can also help with acne and other skin conditions, such as dandruff. If you have ance, zinc acts by controlling the production of oil in the skin and also helps to balance the hormones involved in developing acne.
While oysters are your best source of zinc, other foods rich in this mineral are red meat, baked beans, chicken and pumpkin seeds.
A note on zinc supplementation: talk to a health professional before supplementing as the absorption of zinc can interfere with other substances found in food, i.e. the amount and type of protein consumed in the diet. It is also not recommended to exceed the limit of 40mg per day for adults and 25mg (9-13 years) or 35mg (14-18 years) per day for teens.”
“It usually gets it applause for healthy vision, however, it is also essential for healthy, glowing skin. This fat-soluble vitamin is essential for skin repair and maintenance. If you suffer from dry or flaky skin, it could be a sign of deficiency in vitamin A.
Beta-carotene (what the body converts into vitamin A) is an antioxidant found in brightly coloured foods, think sweet potato and carrots. This antioxidant helps to reduce free radical damage, particularly those caused by damage from sun exposure.
Foods sources high in vitamin A and beta-carotene include sweet potato, beef liver, carrots, spinach leaves, rockmelon, egg yolks, red capsicum and mangoes.
Nutrition tip: Keep the skin on your sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots etc. as that is where a lot of the goodness lives, including fibre to aid in gut and skin health.”
“It’s a powerful antioxidant that is responsible for maintaining skin firmness and elasticity. This mineral not only prevents acne and the breakdown of collagen but also helps to promote the absorption of vitamin E. The end result is glowing, supple skin.
Food sources rich in selenium include brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, red meat, chicken, whole grains, brown rice and baked beans.”