“Your complexion is one of the first things people notice about you – and the health of your skin says a lot about the way you eat. A healthy diet is really an “inside-out” approach to healthy skin. The healthier you are in the inside, the more it shows on the outside.
Pimples and breakouts
Pimples and acne are more common in adolescents due to hormonal changes, but adults can suffer from breakouts, too. In the past, it was thought that certain foods caused pimples – especially those favoured by adolescents, such as chocolate, pizza or other junk food. However, more recently the blame is being placed more on the individual’s diet as a whole – particularly in relation to the type and amounts of carbohydrates we eat.
Try to avoid sugary, starchy ‘white’ carbs that are highly processed and refined. Common culprits are foods like sweets, white bread, mashed potatoes, plain pasta and white rice.
Sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles
The texture and elasticity of your skin is determined, in large part, to the proteins, collagen and elastin that lie just under the surface of your skin. Anything that causes damage to these proteins can promote fine lines and wrinkles, which can make you look older than you actually are.
One reason it’s so important to protect your skin from sun exposure is because ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun promote the formation of free radicals that can do some serious damage to collagen and elastin.
And this is where diet comes in. Certain foods like colourful fruits and vegetables contain vitamins such as vitamins A and B2, which contribute to the maintenance of normal skin. They also provide minerals like selenium, manganese, zinc and copper, which contribute to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. Keeping skin cells hydrated is also important as it helps move nutrients in, and toxins out (e.g. through sweating). The best way to ensure you stay hydrated is by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.
Foods that promote healthy-looking skin
- Fish is an excellent source of protein, which your body uses to build collagen and elastin. Eating more fish will also help you get 30% of your daily calories from protein; as recommended by the Herbalife Nutrition Philosophy.
- “Good” carbohydrates such as those coming from vegetables, fruits and wholegrains are your friends! Try to clear out the refined ‘white’ carbohydrates and sugars from your diet as much as possible and replace with ‘good’ carbs instead.
- Colourful fruits and vegetables get much of their colour from compounds called carotenoids. Some of these can be converted into vitamin A, which is needed to help your skin cells reproduce – a vitally important function for skin health. Many fruits and vegetables are also good sources of vitamin C, which your body needs in order to manufacture collagen.
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds provide essential Omega-3 fats, as well as protein.
- Hydration is essential for all cells in your body (including skin cells) and to help the nutrients move in and waste to move out. When you’re exercising or the weather is hot, this is particularly important as when you sweat, your body relies on fluids to help remove waste products from your skin.
Try adding some flax or chia seeds (for omega-3s), mango chunks (vitamin C) and some baby spinach leaves (carotenoids) to your morning shake for a skin-healthy blend!”
Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.