Everything from environmental pollutants like smog, smoke and pathogens down to the foods we put on our plate contribute to the health of our skin. Here are 3 foods you won’t want to skip out on when it comes to protecting your skin from the toxins we come into contact with every day.
If you’re dealing with dry, damaged skin, it’s worth taking a look at what you’re eating – often, skin issues come down to nutritional blind spots. But it’s not just about your skin’s appearance – by eating for your skin's overall health, you also reduce the risk for deadly diseases like skin cancer.
Tomatoes are an unexpected skin-health hero with their impressive dose of vitamin C and other antioxidants known to fight inflammation and oxidative stress – the latter of which is known to promote premature ageing and spike our risk for cancer. Tomatoes are also loaded with carotenoids – these are responsible for a number of the fruit’s antioxidant properties – like lutein, beta carotene and lycopene. All of these carotenoids are known combatants against sun damage, thereby helping reduce premature wrinkling, the risks of skin cancer and dry skin. But remember to enjoy your tomatoes with some healthy fats – this is because carotenoids are fat soluble, meaning they’re best absorbed by the body with a bit of fat. For instance, some avocado, yoghurt or ghee would all enhance the nutritional properties of tomato. Go for a tomato, avo and egg sandwich or a tomato salad with some olive oil drizzled over the top.
There’s not much broccoli isn’t good for, and skin health is no exception to the many functions this cruciferous veggie can boost. It comes down to the dense dose of nutrients – from vitamins A and C, known for promoting healthy tissue and fighting free radicals in the body, to zinc, known for its anti-inflammatory properties. But that’s not the only reason you should add a little broccoli to your dinner tonight; this stuff is also loaded with lutein, one of those carotenoids we mentioned above that are so beneficial to our skin. Lutein has been found to combat oxidative damage from environmental pollutants and UV rays. Broccoli also has a good dose of sulforaphane – this stuff is known to fight cancer cells, thereby reducing the risk for skin cancer when consumed regularly. Sulforaphane has been proven to render free radicals harmless, along with reducing the amount of skin cells lost to UV exposure. One study found this compound lowered the amount of skin cells lost by almost 30%, with other research finding that it boosted tissue and collagen in the skin, thereby combatting wrinkling and dryness.
Walnuts are an impressive source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to protect our skin. But when looking for foods with omegas in them, it’s important to take into account the ratio between omega 3s and omega 6s, as too much of the latter is believed to result in inflammation and potential skin issues. Walnuts happen to have a good ratio between the two, making them an ideal source of omega fatty acids. Other foods with a decent ratio include fish, hemp seeds and chia seeds. But walnuts happen to provide an exceptional amount of other skin-healthy nutrients like zinc, vitamin E and selenium, all of which protect the skin barrier and fight inflammation. Zinc in particular is known to improve the skin’s barriers strength and defences, along with aiding the healing processes to prevent infection and inflammation.
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