We spend so long coating ourselves in serums, lotions and potions we sometimes forget that what we put inside our bodies can have an effect on our looks too.
In fact, what we eat can be more important in keeping us looking young and beautiful than any facial. We all know the basics – burgers, chips and chocolate = bad; fruit and veg = good – but which foods can really make us look our shiny, beautiful best?
We asked expert foodies to tell us what we should be putting in our shopping baskets to enhance our looks.
Papaya, Spinach and Kale:
It might seem like a random combination, but papaya, spinach and kale all provide a phytochemical called lutein, which according to experts from the Department of Dermatology at the University of Naples helps to boost the skin’s antioxidant capacity thereby protecting against damage from free radicals.
Researchers at Hirosaki University in Japan have just completed an intensive study which shows that blackcurrants can actually help reduce dark circles under the eyes.
The tests proved that the consumption of blackcurrants improved the blood flow around the optical nerves and drastically reduced the effect of ‘sagging eyes’.
The good news is that it’s not just fresh blackcurrants that can help, blackcurrants in any form will do the trick – including in jams and pies!
READ 7 MORE AFTER THE JUMP!
Red Bell Peppers
These colourful crunchy creations are found in most fridge salad boxes because they taste great (as far as vegetables go) and they can be added to so many dishes, from spag bol to curry, or just cut up cold with salad.
Like citrus fruit, “red peppers are bursting with vitamin C,” says Fiona Hunter, Simple Nutritionist and member of the Simple Advisory Board, “which is essential for the manufacture of collagen. Vitamin C also helps protect the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals and slow the progress of ageing.”
“Barley grass helps to rejuvenate your skin and slow the ageing process due to its abundant minerals, enzymes and vitamins that revitalise the body’s cellular structure,” says Nutrition & Health Consultant, Julie Hotchkiss, “It also supports natural weight balance by activating the body’s natural fat-burning process”.
In short, taking barley grass can help you stay young, beautiful and slim. Not only that, but because of the high level of chlorophyll it contains, it’s actually a natural body deodorant, so you’ll smell nice too! Barley powder can be mixed with water, juice, or yogurt or sprinkled on cereal.
Salmon & Other Oily Fish
The omega 3 fats found in the salmon, says skin care guru, Dr Nicholas Perricone, encourage the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds which help to slow and even reverse signs of ageing in the skin. Salmon also helps to increase muscle tone and prevent sagging skin.
While some dermatologists are sceptical about these claims there are plenty of other reasons why it makes good sense to eat oil-rich fish such as salmon regularly, not least because of the weight of evidence that suggests it helps keep our heart and mind healthy
A lot of people avoid eating too many nuts because they’re ‘fattening’ but according to Fiona, Brazil nuts in particular, could do wonders for your skin.
She says, “Brazil nuts are a fantastic source of the mineral selenium (just four Brazil nuts will provide over 100% of the recommended daily amount) which helps protect the skin against sun damage and age spots. In one study people with the lowest intake of selenium were most likely to develop age spots.” Much better for you than a chocolate bar at snack time…
Avocados, Nuts and Seeds:
If you’re looking for a healthy snack, you could do a lot worse than an avocado pear. Peel it, halve it and fill with cottage cheese, or simply eat it sliced with a squeeze of lemon.
“Avocado pears, nuts and seeds are all rich in vitamin E,” says Fiona, “which helps protect against free radical damage and essential fatty acids keep the skin supple.”
Beans, Pulses and Porridge:
Carbohydrate has become a buzz word in the world of diets with the introduction of Atkins and similar low-carb diets, but not all carbs are bad.
In his most recent book, 7 secrets to Beauty, Health and Longevity, Dr Perricone suggests if you want great looking skin you need to choose low GI carbs and shun high GI carbs like biscuits and sugary drinks, which result in the over production of insulin which damages collagen and accelerates wrinkling.