Health Corner

Food for your skin

January 19, 2018 12:34 PM The Week Bureau

People fuss over their diet to improve their health conditions all the time. Whether it is to control diabetes or to improve blood pressure, we automatically focus on the food we consume because we know it is an effective way to tackle health issues in the long-term. But surprisingly, many people seem to forget that the same goes for our biggest organ as well. Our diet has an effect on our skin condition. So the question remains, is the way you eat helping or hurting your complexion?  Dr Sabina Bhattarai from Apollo Hospital helps explain it further.

Dr Bhattarai confirms that the impact of our diet isn’t limited to our waistlines. While diet alone can’t reverse certain skin conditions, they can help maintain its health and prevent problems. In fact, according to the doctor, complexion issues such as dryness, wrinkles and fine lines, and sun damage can all be tackled with the right food in your daily diet.  

Here is how. Basically, whenever we talk about healthy skin, your overall diet as well as weight matters. When you eat a lot of processed food i.e. junk, fried food, and aerated drinks which have high sugar and no nutrition, you have higher chances of having a glucose build up in your body. The condition is also known as insulin resistance. 

Insulin is supposed to unlock your cells so that glucose or fuel can get in but here, in these circumstances, it doesn’t work very well. So instead of disappearing into your cells, the glucose build up react with the skin’s collagen and other proteins causing damage. The reaction creates harmful waste products called AGEs (called advanced glycosylation end-products). So you can expect your skin to lose its elasticity, be prone to more wrinkles, sagging as well as UV damage.

Likewise, varied diets with lots of vegetables and fruits have been found to help your skin maintain its health. Anti-oxidant rich food, those with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as vitamin C is regarded as crucial for your complexion. Furthermore, it is worth hunting down food that have these nutrients because, in regard to improving your skin condition, Dr Bhattarai believes that natural food is a lot superior and more effective than taking supplements. 

So here are some food options that have earned quite the reputation for being great for the skin.

Consider Omega-3 fatty acids

These fatty acids are found in fish, walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds and especially, during winters like these, avocados. These fatty acids are regarded as essentials for healthy skin. They help improve the nerve and vascular function and also acts as antioxidants. It’s believed to even fight skin conditions such as eczema because omega-3 has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It helps calm skin conditions and also boosts the immune system. When you include them in your daily diet, they can help you fight acne, wrinkles and bring a healthy color/glow to your face.

Think colored food

We have heard this a lot. Your plate needs to have at least two colors on it, they say. Turns out, this can be very beneficial to the skin as well. Fruits and vegetables that have colors like carrots, capsicum, bell peppers, kale, pumpkin, and tropical fruits like pineapple, papaya, guava, in general can do wonders for your skin.

They are all rich sources of vitamin A and vitamin C. Carrots, for example, are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A inside the body and can help repair skin tissues. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that can replenish your skin as well as protect your skin from the harms of everyday pollution and sun damage. Later on, this will help you tackle wrinkles and age lines as well.

The right drinks

For once, turns out, the rumors were true. Green tea and lemon water can be some of the best remedies for healthy skin, especially if you aim to maintain good skin. Dr Bhattarai suggests green tea because of its high anti-oxidant properties that can even help you with skin damage. However, since green tea also makes your blood thin, she doesn’t recommend more than three cups of green tea a day.

Lemon water, on the other hand, has been known to help flush out excess toxins as well as provide you with a good dose of vitamin C that is bound to help your complexion become more radiant. Thus starting your morning with a glass of lemon water can have several benefits.

The guilty pleasure

While munching on broccoli for its vitamin C properties doesn’t exactly sound appetizing, you can indulge in a little treat while trying to improve the health of your skin. We are talking about dark chocolate, of course. 

Dark chocolate is rich in cocoa that is packed with antioxidants. It can help you hydrate the skin as well as improve circulation. Research has found those who consume dark chocolate regularly to have less skin roughness.

Pro tip: Dr Bhattarai says that it is important to take the necessary quantity of the recommended food. For example, one or two portions of antioxidant per meal are advised on a day-to-day basis. Excess of nutrients can have negative impacts on your health as well so if you are planning to include these food items in your daily diet. It might be a good idea to check out the recommended daily allowance before including any nutrient in your diet. 

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