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Fitness & Health

06th Jul 2018

How your diet can give you clearer skin

The food you eat impacts heavily on your complexion. Here's what you need to eat for healthier skin

Alex Roberts

The food you eat impacts heavily on your skin. If your face is in need of a refresh, pay attention to what’s on your plate

It doesn’t matter what scrubs or washes you’re using – a bad diet can’t be beaten by any skincare products. Nutrition provides the foundation for your ability to deal with everyday stressors such as sun, wind, pollution and harmful bacteria. These can all impact on your skin.

Here’s a simple rundown of the best nutrients for your skin – and the best foods you can eat.

1. Omega 3s

The fatty acids found in omega 3 foods protect the health of cell membranes. This keeps harmful bacteria at bay and allows nutrients in. Omega 3s also boost the ability of skin cells to retain water, keeping you hydrated and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Omega 3s are best found in seafood sources – especially tuna, salmon and mackerel. Walnuts are also particularly high in this nutrient.

2. Polyphenols

These are a type of antioxidant compound, generally believed to protect the skin and enhance skin cell growth. They are best found in what you typically sip on during the day: tea (particularly the green and white kinds), coffee and dark chocolate.

Another kind of polyphenol, resveratrol neutralises free radicals, promotes longer skin cell life and reduces cell damage.

You can find it in red wine, white wine, balsamic and red wine vinegars, peanuts and pistachios. Don’t overdo it on the alcohol, though. Excessive amounts can dehydrate the skin. 

3. Vitamins E, A and K

Vitamin E protects your skin from UV rays while also adding a moisturising effect. Vitamin A acts as a defence barrier, increasing skin cell renewal, and Vitamin K helps with circulation.

You can find vitamins E and A in extra virgin olive oil, nuts, tomatoes, and avocados. Vitamin K only comes from animal sources such as ghee butter or oily fish. 

4. Complex carbs

High-GI carbohydrates (simple sugars) such as those found in bananas and honey are ideal for fast-acting energy, vital when a big workout is on the cards. Too much simple sugar that isn’t used for energy is less beneficial, though.

Prolonged rises in blood sugar can potentially trigger a cascade of different aging hormones and even insulin resistance, whereby your body fails to effectively use the glucose from carbs.

Eating complex, slow-release carbs can avert this, with many specific varieties containing minerals that help boost skin health. Oats, lotus seeds and pulses such as lentils and chickpeas are all worthy examples.

5. Spinach

This food fuelled the growth of Popeye’s massive forearms, but it probably did his skin a great deal of good too.

Spinach boasts a rich portion of carotenoids and antioxidants that protect against free radical damage. These compounds also form a barrier to fend off the elements – particularly useful when the sun is blazing down.

6. Water

You’re probably familiar with how important hydration is to skin health. There’s no doubt that dehydration will effect on your appearance, so aim for about three to four litres of water a day.

Try pinching the skin on the back of your hand to see if it bounces back right away. If it doesn’t, you might need to set a reminder on your phone to drink more throughout the day.

As for finding water, well – come on, guys.