Our skin is the largest organ of our body. We often think of organs as being internal, tucked away where we can’t see them, so it’s easy to forget that our skin is also an organ and needs looking after with nutrition just as much as any other part of our body. In this blog post I will share some of the nutrition needed for healthy and beautiful looking skin.
As we can see this organ externally, we also want it to look great! Proper nutrition can provide protective properties for our skin that helps it to look amazing as well as function properly. Luckily most of the foods that fit into a well-balanced plant based diet will provide protective agents that can help to strengthen our skin and protect it from aging and environmental factors.
Whilst many people spend a small fortune on trying to improve their skin through creams, serums and other beauty products, nutrition should not be overlooked. Like the saying goes ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’ I think you also can’t disguise a bad diet via your skin! No matter how much you spend on beauty products, if you aren’t eating or drinking the right things to nourish your skin, then it will never look its best.
It’s like Debra Soufleris says on 1and1 Life “The skin care industry is big business. People are spending mega bucks on creams and cleansers in hopes of having beautiful, glowing, radiant skin. While some of these products can be very helpful, many of us discount the fact that what we eat, and environmental factors, play a major part in influencing the appearance and integrity of our biggest organ—our skin.”
Here are some tips on how to get glowing skin naturally:
Stay well hydrated
We know we need to drink more water to stay hydrated, but this water is also needed to hydrate our skin. Of course we can put moisturiser on which we hope will add moisture to our skin, but it’s much more important to naturally hydrate our skin from the inside out by drinking plenty of pure water each day. I love to drink distilled water so it’s as pure as possible.
Drinking lots of water can make skin more soft and supple which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also prevents the skin from looking so dry and aged.
You don’t just have to drink water though. You can also drink fresh smoothies, antioxidant rich teas and even eat high water content fruits and salads to up your water intake. Some vegetables such as cucumbers are pretty much just water anyway!
Wherever you get your fluid intake from, just make sure it’s natural and healthy to keep your skin the same.
Drink green tea
One of my favourite hot drinks is green tea. Not only does it contain caffeine when I need perking up, but it also contains loads of skin loving antioxidants called catechins.
Catechins can help to protect skin from sun damage, reduce redness and even improve hydration and elasticity of the skin.
Green tea can also provide anti-inflammatory effects that can prevent and improve acne.
Use coconut oil
Raw virgin coconut oil has many benefits for the skin for most people. For many skin types it can be applied directly to the face and used as a moisturiser, makeup remover or to soothe dry skin. It can help to make the face look more dewy if you have dry skin, but if you have oily skin then it can make your skin worse.
It has lots of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which can help to relieve some skin conditions. It also contains high amount of lauric acid which can help to kill acne causing bacteria, however if you have oily skin then it can make it worse so it does depend on your skin type.
Coconut oil applied topically to the skin can work wonders for many people, but it may not work if you have oily skin.
Increase collagen production
To maintain tight skin, the production of a protein called collagen is essential. As we age this production reduces which is why our skin becomes less taut and shows wrinkles, fine lines and can even sag.
Whilst you can buy collagen creams and powders, you can also choose to eat collagen promoting foods to naturally increase your supply.
Vegan collagen promoting foods include:
- Fruit – kiwi, papaya, blueberries
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Seeds: pumpkin, sesame, chia, sunflower
- Dried fruits – prunes, apricots
- Vegetables – carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, red peppers
- Leaves – kale
- Nuts – hazelnuts, cashews, peanut, pistachio
- Cocoa Powder
- Soy – tempeh, tofu, soy protein
- Legumes – black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas
As you can begin to see there are plenty of plant based foods that promote collagen production, so a vegan diet rich in these will provide plenty of opportunity for healthy skin with anti-aging effects.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
Sometimes our diets can slip and our skin will suffer for it. The best way to improve your skin is to consume a diet full of different coloured fruits and vegetables as they’ll provide your skin with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive.
Vitamins A and C are particularly good for healthy skin and collagen production, so make sure you consume a lot of the following foods which contain high amounts of these vitamins:
- Brussels sprouts
- Green pepper
- Red pepper
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
Staying active not only keeps us fit, but also benefits our skin! Working up a sweat can instantly bring a rosy red to the cheeks as well as glowing skin. The sweat itself helps the body rid itself of toxins which can aid clear skin – just make sure you shower after working out to wash these toxins right off the skin!
The stress hormone cortisol can cause acne and can also reduce levels of collagen which results in wrinkles and saggy skin. Exercise can help to reduce the levels of the cortisol hormone in the body as it’s an effective stress buster!
Leading a healthy active vegan diet full of a variety of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and plenty of water, will ensure your skin stays glowing and healthy!
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