How to Eat your Way to Glowing Skin on your Wedding Day
A study found that last year 65% of the UK suffered from serious skin conditions as a result of COVID 19. Although there have been no proven reason or fact behind it, we can ony assume this was down to the huge lifestyle changes we had to deal with, and the mental impact it had on all of us. I was one of those sufferers. Cystic acne hit me in March last year and it was one hell of a journey to say the least. Creams, antibiotics, dermatologists, doctors, you name it. I must have attended every appointment possible. However, although I like to think I'm pretty healthy, there was definitely room for improvement. It was time to re-assess my diet and really look at what I could include more of that would help my skin along the way.
We spend countless hours pressing on serums, rubbing in moisturisers, and applying masks (whilst we sit and watch our favourite Netflix series), in the hopes that our skin will appreciate our efforts and reward us by staying clear and spot-free. But what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on it.
A source from Healthline writes: ''Today, many people's diets consist of more saturated fat, trans fats, sugars, and more sodium than fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber. As scientists learn more about diet and the body, it's increasingly clear that what you eat can significantly affect the health and aging of your skin. Nutrition is important for health. What you eat not only affects important organs you rely on, but the biggest organ of all - your skin.''
I previously touched on this subject back in my 'Skin Perfecting Smoothies' blog piece, where I spoke about nourishing and cleansing the body from within, resulting in healthy, bright skin. However, not everyone has the time to make a smoothie and not everyone enjoys the texture when drinking them, so I decided to simplify the foods themselves right here in this blog, so you can stock up on all the best sources of protein, probiotics and vitamins ahead of your wedding day.
Let's get to the good stuff: Food.
Doctors I've previously spoken to about how I can help reduce painful bloating always recommend yogurt (I opt for the greek low fat yoghurt you can find in any supermarket) because they're full of good bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics for good gut health. If our skin is inflamed, sore, or breaking out, this could be a huge sign our gut health isn't what it should be. Yoghurt is also a great source of vitamin A, which promotes healthy cell turnover, helps acne and prevents wrinkles.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which serve as building blocks for healthy skin cells. These fatty acids are good fats and keep energy levels high throughout a long working day too.
Heard of selenium before? It's a mineral that helps promote skin elastin (which leads to better skin elasticity) and tuna is full of it. A super easy source of protien to add into a salad or sandwich 2-3 times a week!
This diverse fruit is full of monounsaturated fats that are used by your body to make strong skin cells. No wonder we reach for an avocado to make a quick and easy at-home facemask! Although these can be on the more expensive side of the fruit counter, 1 or 2 is well worth buying and adding into that tuna salad or a home-made burger.
Broccoli is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids that are important for skin health. It also contains sulforaphane, which may help prevent skin cancer and protect your skin from sunburn - sun damage being the biggest ageing contributor to our skin.
Another one I've touched on in my previous blog post. Get sipping! Green tea contains antioxidants that prevent UV-induced oxidative damage to your skin. If you're not keen on drinking it and can't stand the taste, Holland & Barratt sell green tea in a capsule form. Win win!
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of nutrients, including vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant for the skin. These can be purchased in small snack boxes on their own if you're on the go, a great healthy pick-me-up for busier days.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta carotene, which acts as a natural sunblock and may protect your skin from sun damage. I'd personally choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes any day. Far more tasty and they're great for making chips with too!
Blueberries are full of resveratrol, another powerful antioxidant that promotes a number of healthy heart benefits and takes your skin health to a whole new level: It fights free radicals, protects against UV damage and maintains collagen and moisture levels. If you're already on my smoothie hype, then you're covered, otherwise add these into your morning porridge or a protein shake before you hit the gym.
Dark Chocolate (minimum 60%)
Cocoa contains antioxidants that may protect your skin against sunburn. These antioxidants may also improve wrinkles, skin thickness, hydration, blood flow, and skin texture, so it's not all bad! Any time you feel the need to treat yourself or need a quick chocolate fix (when don't we) reach for the dark chocolate. You'll feel less guilty on your skin and overall blood sugar levels when you do.
So what do you need to avoid?
When it comes to foods that have a negative effect on your skin, we're talking about foods high in sugar and starch. These foods are associated with acne breakouts," warns Healthline "Plus, an increase in blood sugar can ultimately lead to loss of collagen. This is when sugar molecules attach to collagen, leading to collagen stiffening, loss of elasticity and skin wrinkles."
Errrrm ok we'll stick to our veggies then!
The bottom line
As I come to the end of my rather long list of beneficial foods for the skin, do you think there's room for improvement in your own diet? What could you change? It's not about changing your diet entirely, it's about recognising healthy sugars, fats, vitamins, minerals and slowly adapting to and adding them into your meals.
I know for us women, our menstrual cycles make it hard for us to maintain a consistent diet throughout the month - bloating and cramping, sugar levels fluctuating, hormones telling us we need stodgy foods to line the stomach...and by all means have a hearty meal when your body craves it! It's simply about balance and keeping skin in mind when you feel the need to raid the treat cupboard.
Making sure you're getting enough essential nutrients will help protect your skin. The foods on this list are great options to keeping your skin healthy, strong, and radiant.