The Top Ten Foods for Glowing Skin

Glowing Skin

Top Ten Foods for Gorgeous Glowing Skin

If you really want to have a gorgeous, healthy glow, then one of the most important things to remember is that you need to nourish your skin from within. The cells in our body all rely on the diet we consume to get the nutrients that they need to survive. A healthy diet contains vitamins and minerals that help new cells to be created and grow, and existing cells to function correctly and be protected from damage.

We spend a fortune on beauty treatments in pursuit of beautiful skin and applying certain vitamins and minerals topically to the skin can have some successful results, as has been shown in many studies, but this is only half the battle. Unless we are also giving the skin cells the nourishment that they need through the diet, our money is being wasted.

On the whole, we are likely to get all the vitamins and minerals that we need by eating a healthy and balanced diet, with lots of colourful fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, seeds, nuts, lean meat and fish. Support the diet with plenty of water, frequent exercise and sufficient sleep and you are likely to be providing optimum conditions for radiant skin, but if you are in need of a particular boost, then check out the following top ten skin foods that contain different combinations of skin loving nutrients.


1. Spinach

Spinach is renowned for its nourishing properties, and is labelled as a superfood due to the high concentrations of many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids which all contribute in some way towards keeping our organism healthy. Its all round nutrient-richness really is unrivalled.

Antioxidant vitamins A, C and E are in good supply, and minerals selenium and zinc also have great antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are vital in the fight against free radicals - damaged molecules which attack the skin molecules and can cause a chain reaction of damage.

Folate is also in plentiful supply, a B-complex vitamin that plays a role in the formation of new skin cells. Alongside vitamin A, which supports the development and growth of the skin cells, our skin is more likely to look renewed and fresh.

Including Spinach in Your Diet

You are more likely to retain the more of its nutritional value if you eat spinach raw. Toss some leaves into multicoloured salads for maximum benefit.

However, grab a handful of spinach, and you may be overwhelmed by the portion size, however, the great thing about using spinach in cooking is that it reduces so dramatically. Add to currys, stews, stir fries and pasta dishes, and it can almost go unnoticed. Great for those who suffer from a phobia of leafy greens. Furthermore, lightly boiling the spinach will also release some of its acidity.


2. Broccoli

Broccoli again has been awarded the superfood label, and it is easy to see why. In particular, it provides an impressive quantity of vitamin C, but it also is one of the top providers of vitamins A and E, and provides a high quantity of folate amongst other nutrients. We are constantly subjecting our bodies to toxic stress, and broccoli, with its unique combination and high concentration of nutrients, is one of the key foods for detoxing. Our skin plays a huge role in the detox process as the toxins are eliminated through the skin. If we are unable to keep up with the detox process, then the results are likely to be visible on the skin, in terms of breakouts, sweating and rashes, excessive oil or dry skin. It is therefore important to support the detox process as much as possible.

Including Broccoli in Your Diet

The best way to get the maximum value from broccoli is to eat it raw. Chop into small portions and include in salads. Alternatively, it can be included in stir fries and cooked for just a short amount of time, which will ensure that not much of its nutritional value is lost.

Soups are also a delicious way to serve broccoli. Try this green vegetable detox soup recipe if you need a boost.

3. Sardines

Zinc has many functions, including helping to fight viruses and bacteria, make genetic matrials and proteins, and heal wounds. Its ability to help repair damaged skin cells and control sebum production, the skin's natural oils, makes it an ideal mineral for acne prone skin.

Skin cells are constantly renewing themselves, and when they die - a process known as aptosis, they should just drop off. A deficiency in zinc can lead to a delay in the pre-programmed death of skin cells, which causes them to stick together and clog pores.

In addition to the high concentration of zinc that can be found in sardines, they are also a good source of copper, which helps protect the skin from sun damage due to the role it plays in the production of melanin and its antioxidant properties. As zinc helps the absorbtion of copper, the combination of minerals is especially effective.

Sardines are also a good source of Omega-3 fats and a reasonable source of vitamin E, plus a their nutritional content includes a high dose of the mineral, selenium. This supports the liver in the detox process as it is a component of a very important antioxidant found in the body. Selenium has also been shown to help reduce sun damage and it helps the skin maintain its elasticity and firmness.

Including Sardines in Your Diet

Sardines on wholemeal toast, with tomatoes and spinach are a delicious and extremely nutritious combination.

4. Flaxseeds/Linseeds

Ground flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) are one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids you can find. Our skin cells are surrounded by a cell membrane consisting of fat. The types of fat we eat determine the composition of the fat surrounding our cells. The function of this cell membrane is to help rid the cell of harmful waste products and help essential nutrients pass more easily into it. Furthermore, it ensures water and vital nutrients to stay within the cell. In order to ensure the cell membrane is functioning correctly and our skin cells are receiving the nutrients they need to be healthy and radiant, sufficient omega-3 fatty acids are required in our diet.

The body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids and therefore we need to ensure we incorporate enough foods in our diet containing the nutrient. Because of their high omega-3 content, adding just a small amount of flaxseeds daily into our diet can be very beneficial for our skin.

Flaxseeds are also one of the best providers of lignans, a phytonutrient that, in addition to the fiber-like and antioxidant benefits it provides, is also a compound that acts like a mild form of estrogen in the body. A deficiency of this hormone has been shown to be linked to skin ageing, as it helps maintain the skin's moisture and elasticity, and prevents the reduction of collagen, at least in postmenopausal women.

Including Flaxseeds in Our Diet

Flaxseeds are easy to incorporate in our diet because they can be ground and added to virtually any meal, healthy smoothies, or can simply be sprinkled on salads and bread in their original form. Baking the seeds does not reduce their omega-3 value, so they can also be included in muffins and bread to be enjoyed.

For optimum benefits, combine flaxseeds with foods rich in vitamin E, such as spinach or sunflower seeds. As a fat-soluble vitamin (unlike vitamin C which is water soluble), vitamin E helps protect the omega-3 fatty acids from oxidation, the chemical process that results in free radicals.


5. Walnuts

Walnuts are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, and therefore help lock the moisture into skin cells by strengthening the cell membrane; and help eliminate unwanted toxins from the skin cells preventing damage. A deficiency of Omega-3 in your diet can also be a contributory factor to skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema, and can leave your skin feeling dry and itchy. Furthermore, good circulation is vital for healthy skin and Omega-3 fatty acids can help by keeping the heart's arteries clear.

Including Walnuts in Your Diet

Walnuts can be broken up and tossed into salads and pasta dishes to add some crunch. They are also a great addition to cakes.

Sweet Potatoes

6. Sweet Potatoes

There are unique nutritional benefits from sweet potatoes, with an unsurpassed level of the key nutrient, beta-carotene. This acts as an antioxidant, preventing cell damage from dangerous free radicals, which can lead to premature ageing.

In order to optimise the antioxidant benefits, be sure to include some kind of fat in your sweet potato recipe as this will help with the absorption of beta-carotene.

The best way to cook sweet potatoes in order to retain their maximum nutrition is through steaming. There is no need to retain the skin as unlike standard potatoes, the main benefits are in the flesh.

Using Sweet Potatoes

A sweet potato salad is a great dish for a summer garden party or barbecue. Simply toss the cooked potato with olive oil, red pepper and red wine vinegar. Top with parsley and black pepper and your dish is ready to be served.


7. Papaya

Papaya fruits are one of the best sources of vitamin C, which is renowned for its role in boosting the immune system, and its antioxidant properties are essential for healthy skin. Crucially, it is also vital for helping the body to manufacture collagen, which is an important protein that gives skin its strength, structure and elasticity. Collagen breakdown can therefore result in wrinkles and saggy skin, so plenty of vitamin C should be consumed to help tighten the skin. Just one cup full of raw peppers can give you nearly twice your recommended daily dose of vitamin C, and their low calorific value enables you to eat as much of them as you like.

The benefits of peppers don't stop there, with carotenoids - forms of vitamin A with significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, folate, and many other nutrients also widely available. Vitamin A supports cell growth and repair, and can protect against sun damage.

Including Papaya in Your Diet

Use papapya as an ingredient in a fruit smoothie, or toss pieces of papaya together with raw white cabbage, carrots and a few walnuts with a dressing of your choice for a lovely summer salad.

8. Avocados

Avocado is not just a top addition to your diet because of the vitamins it supplies us with, but also because of its ability to help the absorbtion of fat-soluble vitamins, including key carotenoids, lycopene and beta-cartone. This means you can get optimum nutrition absorbtion from your whole meal by simply adding avocaodos to it.

Avocado is known for its high fat content, but the fats in avocados are uniquely good for us. The oleic acid in avocados, which is a mono-unsaturated fat accounts for most of the fat in an avocado, is the reason we are able to absorb fat-soluble vitamins more easily, and the phytosterols are great anti-inflammatory agents.

Including Avocados in Our Diet

Avocados work especially well with brightly coloured salads, including grated carrot, tomatoes, spinach, rocket, sweetcorn and a vinagrette dressing with fresh garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Serve with either salmon or chicken and a sweet potato salad for a wonderfully healthy, supremely tasty and very simple meal.

9. Butternut Squash

Butternut squash, also known as winter squash, is another great way to include plenty of carotenoids in your diet. It is also one of the top plant-based sources of omega-3, supporting our skin health in many ways.

Manganese is a trace mineral that our body only needs very small quantities of, but it plays a significant role in skin health nevertheless. The skin protein, collagen, uses manganese in its production process, helping to keep skin firm and taut. Manganese plays a part in protecting the skin against UV damage, and butternut squash is a good source of this micronutrient.

Including Butternut Squash in Our Diets

Butternut squash is perfect in soups, or simply baked or roasted and served alongside your choice of meat. The seeds are also very nutritious and can be removed, dried and roasted, to be used in salads.


10. Asparagus

The great thing about asparagus is that it packs so many of the different nutrients our skin needs into this delicious spears.

With high concentrations of folate to help generate new skin cells, vitamin A to promote healthy growth, vitamin E to protect the outer fat membrane, zinc to repair damaged cells and control the skin's natural oils, vitamin C and manganese for collagen production and copper to keep collagen and elastin fibers healthy, this vegetable really is an all rounder.