Try These Essential Foods For Healthy Skin
Fortify your skin from inside for a dewy complexion and supple texture outside, top experts advice.
The beauty counters are surfeit with creams and lotions filled with active supplements, and they do work for our skin; but what works even better is when you put these supplements not on your skin but into your skin via your stomach. You got it! We mean eat them.
We spoke to top nutritionists and dermatologists on how you can make the most of your body’s skin-stomach connection with these beauty foods.
“When your body loses nutrients, your skin is the first to show the lack. Complexion looks dull, without any lustre. So, it is important to reinforce your skin’s supple structure from side by taking in the right food,” says Dr Simal Soin, cosmetic dermatologist and founder, Aayna Clinic, New Delhi.
Add these foods in your daily diet through the week to get a healthy, glowing complexion while warding off a host of skin conditions.
Power Up With Probiotics
When the stomach’s natural flora gets out of whack because of stress, infection, or a course of antibiotics, you may experience digestive ills. That’s when skin also starts to act up – acne, dryness, dullness, dehydration patches, eczema can rear their ugly head. Dr Namita Jain, nutritionist and fitness says, “It’s easy to make the correlation. If our stomach is in a bad shape and our digestion is not right, then it shows on our skin in the form of dryness or acne. The moment we improve our digestion system, it stimulates our immune system which immediately has a positive effect on the overall health and skin.”
When your gut’s bacteria balance is skewed, the toxic bacteria can escape and travel throughout your body, including to your skin. This causes inflammation that prevents the skin from functioning properly. To prevent problems, keep your digestive tract populated with good bacteria, which coat the lining of your gut and help seal it “Probiotics or the essential gut flora help by neutralising the toxic products during digestion, thus stimulating the overall digestion process. They also produce nutrients in the body to help strengthen the immune system,” Dr Jain.
How do you get the good bacteria? The best way is to take a probiotic supplement that are available at most health-food stores. Also eat fermented foods such as yogurt, buttermilk, mature cheese like cheddar, and probiotic drinks. To stimulate the growth of good bacteria naturally in your gut, try prebiotic foods that have undigestible nutrients. Some prebiotics to add include whole grains, bananas, onions, and garlic.
Zone in on zinc
Zinc is an important mineral that is a powerful antioxidant for preventing disease, as well as melt fat cells. Zinc is also very important in strengthening the skin’s natural structure. Daily dose of zinc can keep your skin free of wrinkles and acne. It also fights photo damage of skin due to sun exposure. In fact, Zinc Oxide is one of the key ingredients in sunscreens. In her book Don’t Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight, celeb nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar writes, “Zinc is of paramount importance for good skin…to prevent acne and wrinkles.” She further explains that zinc and selenium protect the skin against the damage caused by free radicals. Get your dose of zinc from small to medium sized fish, whole grains, peanuts, dried pumpkin seeds, fresh vegetables, and dark chocolate.
Revel in red fruits
One of the best ways to neutralize free radicals is eating foods that pack an antioxidant punch, such as berries, beans, and leafy greens. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that are produced when skin is exposed to UV rays or environmental pollutants, such as carbon monoxide or cigarette smoke. They set off a chain reaction that can damage virtually any molecule in the body, including the important cellular structures in the skin. Red coloured fruits and vegetables like pomegranate, tomatoes, and cranberry are powerhouses of antioxidants that can fight free radicals. Dr Soin suggests eating fresh tomatoes daily to strengthen the skin cells. For variation you can also drink a glass of pomegranate juice or eat half the fruit. Avoid spitting out the seeds as they are rich source of fibre and iron. She also swears by the cleansing properties of cranberry juice, which is a natural diuretic that flushes out excess fluids from the body and negates the ill effects of extra sodium.
Pack-up on protein
Proteins are important for repairing and building the cells. The amino acids are the basis of all the cell in our body. In fact, structural proteins like collagen, elastin, and keratin create the connective tissues to keep our skin, hair and nails healthy. So it is important to take a daily dose of protein whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian. This will ensure that your cells stay healthy ad collagen firm for a supple skin. Says fitness expert Namita Jain, “Eggs, tofu and legumes are great protein alternatives to red meat. So, you can add boiled eggs, cooked legumes or steamed tofu to your vegetables during mealtime to get the right dose of protein.” Diwekar further emphasizes that to get maximum benefit from your protein source avoid eating it raw or undercooked as our bodies are unable to process this form.
Consume Omega 3 fat
The healthy fats known as omega-3s are like manna from heaven for dry skin. Not only are they anti-inflammatory, but they also moisturize skin so it stays soft and supple and fine lines are less noticeable. Research shows that eating more omega-3-rich foods may even help protect against sun damage and skin cancer. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are omega-3 powerhouses. For those who prefer not to eat fish, flaxseeds offer a great alternative. Dr. Rashmi Shetty, Aesthetic Dermatologist, Ra’s Clinic in Mumbai suggests sprinkling some flaxseed on your daily breakfast cereal; or two pills of taking cod liver oil supplements daily for glowing complexion.
Freshen up with fluids
We can’t stress enough on the beneficial effect of water on your skin. Try drinking at least three liters daily to keep your system flushed of all the toxins. If you cannot drink plan water then try taking in more fluids with green tea, diluted fruit and vegetable juices and clear soups. “Remember to nourish your skin from the inside too. Eat salads blanched in boiling water, vegetable soup and drink the usual 8-10 glasses of water. Your skin is always thirstier than you are!” says Delhi-based dermatologist, Dr Indu Tolani.