Make your skin glow!
Everyone has a favourite face cream or treatment, but beautiful skin starts on the inside. Eat the correct balance of foods and you'll feed your skin the vital nutrients to help it stay soft, supple and blemish-free.
- Eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C such as blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes; they all help to produce collagen that strengthens the capillaries that feed the skin.
- Make sure you get enough omega-3 and omega-6, both essential fatty acids. You will find omega-3 in oily fish, but plant sources like linseeds and flax oil are excellent, too. For omega-6 try safflower, sunflower and corn oils.
- Eating foods that contain sulphur can help to keep skin smooth - garlic and onions are ideal.
- Go for foods rich in vitamin E, such as almonds, avocado, hazelnuts, pine nuts and sunflower and corn oils.
- Zinc-rich foods, such as wheatgerm, liver, pumpkin seeds, sardines and oysters, help to repair skin damage and keep it soft and supple.
- Foods rich in vitamin A help new skin to grow. Liver, eggs, milk and oily fish are good sources along with fortified cereals and margarines.
- Eat a few dried apricots every day. They're full of iron to help improve your skin tone. So are sesame seeds - add them to cereals and muesli.
- Drink plenty of water to rehydrate your skin - aim for eight glasses a day. Tea, coffee and juices do count, but for really great skin stick to plain water and don't smoke.
- Of all the B vitamins vital for great skin, vitamin B2 or riboflavin helps your skin glow. Best sources include beef, cheese, eggs, liver and Marmite.
- Finally, once you make changes to your diet, don't expect an overnight miracle. It takes six weeks for new skin to emerge up to the surface, so the visible benefits from dietary changes will take just as long. So it's never too soon to start.
Beat your skin problems
Is it very dry? Dry, rough skin combined with coarse, dry and brittle hair (as well as tiredness) can be a sign of an underactive thyroid, so if you're worried, check with your GP. But for general dry skin problems, try increasing your intake of foods rich in beta-carotene (such as yellow and red peppers and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach) and upping your intake of omega-3-rich oils. Add a teaspoon of flax oil to salad dressings or sprinkle some linseeds on your cereal daily.
Is it itchy? Get some relief by opting for foods high in B vitamins, such as eggs, fish, lentils, nuts and wholegrains. B vitamins improve poor circulation, which is sometimes associated with itchiness.
Is it oily? Cut down on processed and junk food as well as foods high in sugar, such as cakes and biscuits as well as hard fats. Dip bread in olive oil or hemp seed oil for a tasty treat instead of using butter.
For acne? Try selenium-rich foods, such as Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, fresh tuna, sunflower seeds, walnuts and wholemeal bread. Combine with vitamin E for the best effect.