In the last article it was promised that information on the foods that improve moisture and reduce dry skin and hair would be shared. This can be remedied in a myriad of ways (oils, creams, hydrating masks), but for a more holistic approach, take a minute to consider what you’re eating — and drinking.
We all know that eating well has its obvious benefits, but around this time of year when pie and stuffing consumption are at an all-time high, it can be, admittedly, a little hard.
But now with some down time from this most recent carb-filled holiday and the next one, try loading up on foods that will actually do some good by way of shiny, healthy hair and hydrated skin.
There is no magic food what will keep us looking hydrated and moisturised hence younger for longer, but diet and lifestyle and attitude does affect how your skin looks and ages.
Research is now showing that it’s possible to influence your looks simply by choosing specific foods. Hair growth (and fallout), skin collagen production, hormone balance and more are all tied to what you choose to eat.
First thing to know, don’t skimp on rich, healthy ingredients this season, even if you are trying to slim down or maintain a healthy weight. That’s important to understand with respect to eating whole foods because they contain tons of nutrients, phytochemicals and enzymes that work synergistically to keep us healthy.
Here are our must-eats to help you get your glowing skin.
Water and tea – fluid: Drinking lots of water hydrates the body and plumps up the skin, thus making it younger looking and moisturised. Non sugary tea adds up to this hydration as well. Our bodies are made up of over 50% of water. So we need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Work it up to 3 litres of water a day.
Protein foods – Skin, hair and nails are mostly protein. These proteins – keratin, collagen and elastin – ward off wrinkles and provide strength and elasticity. Most of us eat plenty of protein from meat, chicken, fish legumes, eggs and dairy foods.
Sea foods – essential fats:
The body needs fat- healthy fats, the essential omega -3 and omega -6 fats. Not the greasy pastry and pie type, or oil soaked African vegetable soup, this can be tweaked by reducing the amount of oil added to your vegetable soup. A suggested just measure of 2 laden spoons of oil to a 5 litre pot of soup would do. If you have dry, itchy scalp or skin, you may not be eating enough of these. They are called essential fats because the body cannot make them; you have to eat them.
Both omega 3 and omega 6 fats produce hormone- like substances called prostaglandins, which then change into other substances that affect immunity and inflammation in the body. Omega 3 fats suppress inflammation, immune responses and blood clotting. Omega- 6 fats are also essential for healthy skin, but too much can cause inflammation and allergic reactions.
Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids have incredible beauty benefits, including glowing skin and shiny strands. About three percent of the hair shaft is made up of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re found in cell membranes on your scalp and in the natural oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. While salmon is usually the superstar choice, Foy says mackerel, sardines and anchovies are even better. ‘They’re great because they’re at the bottom of the food chain, so they’re not living
Iron – vitality and lustre: Tired and lacking in energy? This may be a symptom of low iron. Hair nails and skin can also suffer if you’re lacking in iron. Skin may be very pale, become itchy, or there could be cracking at the side of the mouth. Nails can become brittle and develop vertical stripes, or even become spoon – shaped. You could shed more hair and it will be noticeably more dry, brittle and dull.
Meat is the best source of iron: the redder the meat, the more iron it contains. If you do not eat meat, you can get iron from legumes and whole grains but it is less readily absorbed, so add vitamin C from pure fruit juice, fruit and capsicum to meals to enhance absorption.
Muesli – whole grains, millet as well.
Nuts – nutrition nuggets – Walnuts – These nuts have omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help the body retain moisture, giving your hair a healthy-looking shine. The protein content of the walnuts helps boost hair follicles, making hair fuller and stronger. Nuts are packed with essential fats, vitamin E and B vitamins
Citrus fruits: Vitamin C is essential to make collagen, the structural cement of the body. Under the skin, collagen is the fibrous tissue that plumps it up giving support and shape. As skin ages it loses collagen.
When we breathe car fumes, cigarette smoke and lie in the sun, harmful oxidation reactions happen in our skin and body. Vitamin C, E and beta carotene are potent antioxidants that mop up the harmful by – products of oxidation and slow down damage to the skin. Large doses of vitamins C,E and beta help protect the skin from sunburn and improve its resilience to things that could irritate it. But when taken as supplements, sometimes the antioxidant activity shifts to harmful pro-oxidant activity. How to prevent this? Skip the pills and eat lots of antioxidant – rich fruits and vegetables. – Oranges grapefruits, lemons.
Orange, yellow, red and green coloured foods– vitamin A
Paw paw is super food for the skin. It is the betacarotene, which gives carrots, pumpkin, mango and spinach their healthy skin image. If you have dry hair and skin, take a look at how much coloured fruit and vegetables and other vitamin A rich foods you are eating. Go for liver, oily fish and egg yolk.
Melons and tomatoes which contain lycopenes are great for the skin for example carrot and watermelon juice would perhaps be a good option of juice for the skin.
Carotenoids (elements in yellow fruits and vegetables like carrots) and flavonoids help protect the skin against UV damage and can improve skin hydration and condition. For well hydration skin, hair and nails, drink plenty of water. Water aids circulation and delivery of nutrients.
Red Bell Peppers
Did you know that red peppers contain far more skin-boosting vitamin C than oranges? ‘Vitamin C is a pre-cursor to collagen production and is also an antioxidant. When light hits your skin, it creates free radicals. These bounce around inside your skin and lead to DNA damage, which turns into aging. The antioxidants attach themselves to free radicals and neutralize them so that they can’t do damage.
Berries are loaded with anti-inflammatory agents and vitamins that help protect you from premature aging. The antioxidants in berries help minimize the damage of free radicals, which can accelerate wrinkle formation and cause disease. Additionally, berries are packed with vitamin C, which helps produce skin that’s firm and strong. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a nutrient that’s essential to the production of collagen, a protein that aids in the growth of cells and blood vessels.
Sweet potatoes: It can help boost immunity and promote glowing, gorgeous skin. Full of beta-carotene, sweet potatoes can help maintain bright, healthy eyes and protect your beautiful skin from UV exposure. Sweet potatoes are bursting with Vitamins A, C, and E, which can help improve the look of your hair and skin. Enjoy these nutritious spuds steamed, baked, sautéed, or roasted into sweet potato fries (my favorite!).
Part 2 to be continued… stay hydrated. above all eat smart, move more.