You probably don’t need me to tell you that fruit and vegetables are the main ingredients to a healthy, youthful skin. The reason for this is that they contain lots of vitamins and minerals that perform an antioxidant function. Antioxidants mop up reactions caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules created by such things as stress, pollution and certain foods. Free radicals sound like a new political party that we should all be voting for, but instead they’re electrochemically unbalanced chemicals which ultimately can be the cause of degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease, not to mention premature ageing (which is where your skin comes in). The main antioxidant vitamins are vitamins A, C and E together with the minerals selenium, manganese and zinc. Some B vitamins also have antioxidant properties together with some amino acids (building blocks for protein). Most of these important minerals can be found in a wholefood, fresh food diet.
Berries and fruits and vegetables with red, purple and blue colouring are particularly good because they’re stuffed with antioxidants and contain a group of flavonoids called anthocyanidins, thought to be much more powerful than vitamin E. Antioxidants sometimes work together. For example, vitamins C and E work together – vitamin C allows vitamin E to be recycled in the body so that it can carry on working longer.
Water Your Face Daily
Drinking pure, fresh water flushes toxins through your system and hydrates cells carrying essential nutrients to every part of your body. I probably didn’t need to tell you that either. Aim to drink about 2litres (3.5 pints) daily. Don’t overdo it though or you could end up flushing minerals out of your system, especially if you’re gulping rather than sipping.
The other essential ingredient to healthy skin is fat. Not any old fat, but essential fatty acids (EFAs). One group of EFAs is especially important: omega-3. EFAs work as a kind of waterproofer because they stop fluids escaping from your body’s cells. In this way, your skin is kept plumped up and moisturised. Do an experiment – take a good quality fish oil supplement for three months (or flax seed if you’re vegetarian) and note the quality of skin on the back of your hands. You’ll notice that they’re better moisturised!
You should also decrease the amount of saturated and processed fats in your diet, as these compete with the good fats and make their job more difficult. In general, the fresher the food and the more unprocessed it is, the wider the vitamin and mineral range and the more good it will do your skin!