Our skin is the body’s largest organ. It protects us against external stimuli and gives us the ability to perceive things through the sensation of touch. However, more often that not, we take our skin for granted. We don’t care for it, don’t keep it hydrated or don’t give it the essential nutrients it needs for its well-being. Ultimately, it starts to deteriorate. This process accelerates with aging and before we know it, we are left with damaged skin.
There are many causes behind skin damage.
- Exposure to extremes of temperatures.
- Sun’s radiations which can cause burning, and pigmentation.
- Lack of hydration.
- Air pollution.
- Hormonal imbalance due to excess physical exercise.
- Chronic stress
- Excessive smoking
- Lack of sleep or an irregular sleeping schedule
- A poor diet lacking essential nutrients.
Of all these causes, stress today has become an integral part of our lives.
Whether it is work, education, relationships, family or just life in general – from one source or another, everyone is experiences it.
In turn, stress deeply impacts different aspects of our lives too and can ultimately lead to the other factors mentioned above.
Stress can deeply damage our health, both mental and physical, cause hormonal imbalance, cause irregular eating and sleeping patterns, cause some people to take to excessive smoking and many more. All these factors accumulate and end up releasing their strain on the skin, causing it to dry, have pigmentation, lines, spots, irregulate chemicals and skin oil levels ultimately leading to what commonly terms as ‘bad skin’.
While it is not feasible to combat all factors at once, the one that we can start with as an initial step towards a healthy and glowing skin is maintain a balanced diet. Eating the right kind of meal and absorbing the right kind of nutrients can make a big difference to our skin, its tolerance levels and its capacity for damage control.
Here is a list of food items and how they can be consumed for a healthy skin:
- Water: No skin routine can be complete without stating the importance of hydration. Make sure your water and general liquid intake is high so as to maintain a good chemical balance in the skin, making sure it is not dehydrated and dry and is full of moisture. You should also eat fruits and vegetables to absorb natural moisture.
- Citrus Fruits: Eat citrus fruits for absorbing Vitamin C. A deficiency of Vitamin C can cause scurvy which can cause bleeding from gums and skin and also impact its healing power. Thus, a high amount of Vitamin C is essential in our diet, which can be obtained from citrus fruits> Citrus fruits include lemons, limes, oranges, green apples etc.
- Fish: Consume lots of fatty fish. Fatty fish is a great source of omega 3 acids, which are vital for maintaining the health of the skin. They help keep skin thick and moisturized. They also contain vitamin E which is a good source of antioxidants for the skin, quality protein which helps maintain skin’s strength and zinc which facilitates production of new skin cells. In turn, these nutrients also help fight skin disorders such as inflammation, lupus and psoriasis.
Fatty fish includes salmon, herring and mackerel fish types.
- Avocados: Eat avocados on a regular basis. Avocados contain healthy fats, vitamin E and vitamin C. These collectively helps keep skin healthy by keeping skin flexible, preventing dehydration, protection against harmful UV radiation, and keeping skin from being dry, rough and scaly.
- Walnuts: Keep a diet rich in walnuts. Walnuts contain both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids in a balanced ratio which help the skin prevent inflammation. These nuts also contain zinc, which helps the skin maintain its protective and healing properties. Walnuts also provide the skin with antioxidants.
- Olive Oil: Make sure your diet consists of olive oil. It helps reduce effects of aging.
- Sunflower seeds: Sunflower seeds provide the skin with vitamin E and antioxidants.
- Oats: Oats/Oatmeal helps the body produce an increased amount of insulin, which further absorb a hormone known as androgen. The excess of this hormone in the body can cause excess of oil secretion which can lead to pimples. Thus, oatmeal helps keep the skin clear.
- Kale: Kale is extremely healthy. It has a number of benefits for both, digestion and skin. With respect to the skin, kale helps provide protection against UV radiation, and also tightens the skin due to the presence of lutein and vitamins like A and c, respectively.
- Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are extremely important for healthy skin. These potatoes contain the carotenoid beta carotene which help replenish the body with vitamin A when needed. These carotenoids act as natural sun blockers and help prevent damage by sun’s radiation to the skin. These carotenoids can also be found in carrots, oranges, apples, and spinach. The antioxidants also help prevent cell damage and wrinkled skin.
Along with that, a high number of carotenoids also give the skin a brighter colouring avoiding paleness of the skin.
- Bell peppers: Bell peppers, both red and yellow, contain vitamin C which helps in the manufacture of collagen in the body. Collagen is further needed to maintain the firmness of the skin along with its strength.
- Broccoli: Consuming broccoli. Broccoli as a vegetable has many benefits. It is rich in iron, vitamin A, zinc, vitamin C – all of which help protect the skin and keep it from becoming dry. Along with that, broccoli has a unique compound called sulforaphane which helps in the production of collagen and may also have anti-cancer effects
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a good source of carotenoids which help in preventing wrinkly skin and protect against damage from the sun.
- Orange peels: Eating orange peels may sound odd however, these peels have a compound called limonene, which decreases the chances of squamous skin cell cancer. Limonene is neither found in orange juice nor the actual fruit. The peel is also rich in fibre.
- Soy: Soy contains a plant compound called isoflavones which have a lot of benefits. They protect the skin against UV radiation and wrinkles. They also improve upon the elasticity of skin. In postmenopausal women, they help avoiding skin dryness and increase the production of collagen.
- Dark chocolate: Cocoa from dark chocolate works great for skin! Cocoa is a rich source of antioxidants and helps make the skin less sensitive to sun burns, dry conditions, roughness and also increases circulation.
- Kiwi: Kiwis contain vitamin C which facilitates the synthesis of collagen in the body. As a result, eating kiwi helps keep skin less dry and makes wrinkles less prominent.
- Red Grapes: Eating red grapes has a lot of benefits, the most famous one of which is reducing the effect of aging. Reg grapes contain resveratrol, which helps slow down the production of damaged skin cells, making skin looking younger.
- Pumpkins: Consuming pumpkins is great for the skin as they make the skin smooth, soft and wrinkle free because of the carotenoids present in them.
- Leafy vegetables: Leafy vegetables are a great source of iron, which helps reduce dark circles and patches under the eyes and on the skin respectively. They are also a great source of many vitamins and minerals.
- Green tea: Green tea is popularly known for its many benefits for maintain good health. It helps with detoxification, digestion, and weight loss. When it comes to skin, green tea again has many benefits as it contains antioxidants and catechins. Because of these compounds, green tea helps moisture, roughness, thickness, and elasticity of the skin.
- Eggs: Eggs provide the skin with necessary protein without the fat which is great as fats can cause accelerated skin aging.
- Beans and chickpeas: Chickpeas and beans have a low glycemic index which helps reduce red spots and prevent acne.
- Lentils: Lentils contain high amounts of zinc which helps clear the skin of acne.
- Watermelons: Watermelons help reduce the water retention levels in the skin which can cause puffiness around the eyes. Along with that, they deeply hydrate the skin and are extremely low in sugar amounts which works great for skin!