Mum was right: beauty starts on the inside. You can spend your paycheck on skincare prods (oops), and lovingly work through a step-by-step skincare routine every night – but when it comes to good skin, what you eat counts too. Our bodies are amazing machines, and our skin is so delicate. When we’re stressed, it shows in the form of dull, patchy skin. When we eat pizza and packaged food for a week, we end up with breakouts. The joys! For that clear, radiant skin we all know and love, try making these tweaks to your diet.
ENJOY [FOR GOOD SKIN]
Load up on these babies – they’ll boost your skin the au naturale way.
Wholefoods. The closer your food is to its natural state, the better.
Greens, greens and greens! Mum strikes again. Green, leafy veggies (like spinach and kale) are chock-full of fibre, which gets things moving and helps to nix toxins. We can talk about gut health all day, but for now, just know this: your gut affects EVERY bodily system, so give it a helping hand whenever you can.
Fibre-rich foods – e.g. brown rice, quinoa, beans, lentils, oats and chia seeds. Think of fibre like a broom: it sweeps through the digestive system and cleans it up, leaving you feeling a little lighter. When your gut is healthy, your skin is happy.
Protein – e.g. eggs, chicken, fish, seafood, turkey, tofu and lentils. Protein contains amino acids, which helps to repair and regenerate skin. Basically, our skin cells turn over every 28 days, and eating protein makes this a smoother process.
Antioxidant-rich foods – e.g. berries, tomatoes, pomegranates and citrus fruits. This rainbow of fruit and veggies are packed with antioxidants, and they also have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is the root cause of skin issues like acne and rosacea, and you can reduce it by changing what you eat. These foods work together to fight free radical damage, which is the effect your environment (pollution, stress etc) has on your skin. They also brighten your skin and protect it from premature ageing. It can’t hurt to get a head start!
Tomatoes. Sure, the seeds are annoying, but tomatoes pack a pretty powerful punch. Along with antioxidants, they contain methylsulfonylmethane (aka MSM). That ingredient boosts collagen and keratin to keep skin soft and supple. Corn, legumes and Swiss chard are also high in MSM.
Seafood. That seafood platter is loaded with zinc, omega-3s and selenium, all of which give skin that glow, plus a hit of moisture. Oily fish is the best for this – think salmon and ocean trout.
Good fats – e.g. avocado, fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil and coconut oil. Now you have an excuse to eat all the avo you want! These foods are high in essential fatty acids, which are key to keeping good skin hydrated and plump. Yes, please.
Zinc-rich foods – e.g. eggs, sesame seeds, chickpeas and seafood. Zinc revs up the skin’s repair process, and it can help to reduce the damage from acne scarring. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, which can calm down your breakouts.
Foods high in vitamin C – e.g. strawberries, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, oranges and capsicum. You’ve probably stocked up on vitamin C to combat a cold, but it’s also a natural skin booster. It stimulates collagen production, which improves the texture and firmness of your skin. You might not care about this now, but you will later!
Foods high in vitamin A – e.g. carrots, and orange, yellow and leafy green veggies. Sneak these into your salad. They work hard to reduce oil and pesky pimples, and prevent wrinkles from forming.
Himalayan salt. This isn’t good ol’ fashioned table salt. Found at supermarkets and health food stores, it works wonders on hydration. It’s also great for puffy eyes. If your complexion is looking a little lacklustre for your liking, boost the benefits by adding a little Himalayan salt to your water bottle and sipping all day.
Healthy oils – e.g. olive oil, coconut oil and ghee. These are all-natural and soothing for the gut – and you know what that means. ☺
Probiotic-rich foods – e.g. kombucha and sauerkraut. We’ll stop talking about your gut soon, promise… Probiotics balance out gut bacteria, making you feel less sluggish and, uh, blocked up. Those things are fab for your skin, so enjoy! Greek yoghurt contains probiotics too, but avoid it if you’re prone to pimples.
AVOID [FOR GOOD SKIN]
Your skin will love you for steering clear of these foods. You’re going to hate us, so just remember – it’s what you do most of the time that matters!
Processed and packaged foods. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the label, it’s probably not natural. For some people, artificial colours and preservatives can cause their complexions to flare up.
Dairy. Do you get painful hormonal breakouts on your cheeks and chin? Or itchy red patches? Dairy contains hormones that can worsen acne- and eczema-prone skin. Try cutting it out for a month and see if you notice a difference.
Excess alcohol. If your skin is playing up, do a dry July/October/December. That’ll give your body the chance to clear up any toxins that are clogging up your skin. If you can’t give up alcohol right now, drink tons of water with it.
Sugar and artificial sweeteners like Equal. They damage collagen and cause dullness. No, thanks! If you have a sweet tooth, use honey, maple syrup and stevia to sweeten your food.
Salty foods – e.g. table salt, chips and salted nuts. Salt draws water out of the skin, which is why you always feel crappy and dehydrated after eating an entire bag of pretzels. Hey, it happens. Look for ‘low sodium’ on the label.
Red meat. You don’t need to give it up completely, unless you want to (if so, here’s our guide to going vego). Too much red meat can slow down digestion, and spotty skin is a sign of that. If that sounds familiar, just cut down to 1-2 serves a week.
Soft drinks. They’re high-GI and high in sugar, which can impact your skin’s texture and oil. When you’re on a good skin mission, skip the Coke.
While we’re talking about food and good skin, mash up a face mask with these ingredients!
- Avocado, lemon juice and Greek yoghurt. Hello, hydration.
- Apple cider vinegar. It’s an all-natural toner – a little bit goes a long way.
- Honey. The sweet stuff is antibacterial, so pop a bit on your breakouts.
- Tomato. Sunburned or stressed-out skin? Place tomato slices on your face to brighten and calm your complexion.
- Cucumber. You know this one! Cucumber is great for reducing puffiness around the eyes.
Do you have any special tips at getting good skin!? Be a doll and share below.
Gal with good skin - Katia Iervasi.