By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Even though many people spend tons of money on cosmetic treatments and expensive skin creams, skin health is largely about what you eat and drink! No amount of treatments, scrubs, serums and creams can hide a bad diet.
One of the most common side effects of a Reboot? A glowing healthy complexion that’s softer to the touch! Due to the increase in phytonutrients, antioxidants and carotenoids that support healthy red and yellow tones within the skin, you get a slightly tanned glowing complexion with a clearer appearance. This is also true for people that start incorporating juice regularly combined with a healthy diet.
There are many skin conditions such as acne, acne rosacea, eczema, contact dermatitis, urticaria and psoriasis. These problems can be associated with hormonal health, stress, medications, gut flora, hydration, chemical exposure, food intolerances and food allergies. Even including these factors, diet often plays the strongest role!
Here are the top foods for a healthy complexion:
Berries contain nutrients which have an anti-inflammatory effect along with providing antioxidants that neutralise oxidative damage to support healthy skin. Berries are also high in vitamin C, particularly strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Vitamin C is involved in connective tissue health and is said to reduce wrinkles and aging skin. This is why cigarette smoke is highly implicated with more wrinkles due to the high oxidative damage.
2. Tomato & Watermelon
These foods contain high amounts of lycopene a phytochemical that provides a red pigment. Lycopene helps eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays.
3. Leafy Greens
The expression ‘greens cleans’ is one of my old favourites. The high mineral content combined with the specialised compounds and carotenoids supports skin tone and elimination of metabolic waste ‘toxins’. A study demonstrated that women who consumed a higher intake of green and yellow vegetables had a lower incidence of wrinkles.
4. Coconut and Olive oil
Both of these oils have been associated with improved appearance of skin health. In a 2012 study, 1264 diets of women were analysed, and a higher consumption of olive oil (> 2 teaspoons a day) was associated with 31% fewer signs of aging compared to people who ate less than 1 teaspoon.
5. Omega-3 Rich Foods
Foods like such as oily cold-water fish, walnuts and other nuts support healthy skin cells and act as an anti-inflammatory agent which is beneficial since inflammation is said to be a common root cause of acne.
Common seeds like hemp, flaxseeds, and chia all provide excellent omega 3 fatty acids that support the good oil within the skin to give it a soft, healthy texture along with an anti-inflammatory effect. These foods also provide minerals such as zinc and selenium which support healthy cell regeneration and hormonal balances.
7. Pomegranate Seeds
The seeds of this brightly coloured fruit are full of punicic acid which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to promote cell regeneration and renewal. They are known to help tighten and brighten up your skin.
8. Orange Fruits & Veggies
Pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, papaya and mango are full of beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that absorb and neutralize the free radicals created by UV light as well as supporting healthy skin tones. These vitamin A rich foods helps keep the skin soft, smooth and wrinkle-free. A 2011 UK study found that people who eat a higher amount of carotenoid-containing fruits and vegetables, like carrots, have more yellow tones in their skin, giving them a complexion that others rated as more attractive.
9. Green and White Tea
Drinking anti-oxidant polyphenol-rich tea supports healthy skin. The tea’s catechins like EGCG (antioxidants) boost blood flow and oxygen to the skin, which delivers key nutrients to keep your complexion healthy.
10. Medicinal Herbs
Herbs such as nettle, peppermint, blue flag, yellow dock, burdock and calendula help support healthy skin regeneration, improve cleansing actions of the skin and reduce inflammation. These are commonly seen in skin complexion teas. Drinking 2-3 cups per day of these skin herbs can significantly help the complexion.
Hydration is also so important for healthy dewy looking skin! If your skin is dehydrated, your skin will have less elasticity and may appear wrinklier.
By adding these foods to your diet, you’ll support skin cell regeneration, retain moisture, provide sun protection and reduce the amount and severity of wrinkles.
It can take approximately 6 weeks for the skin to improve with healthier dietary choices although a big dramatic change such as a Reboot where you are ingesting a huge amount of nutrients combined with a complete avoidance of all unhealthy foods along with 100% fruit and vegetable intake, you will see quick changes in your skin as early as 5 days and beyond.