In the quest for a flawless complexion, most of us will spend hundreds of dollars to find the right cleansers, treatments, serums and moisturisers. And while the products we use will definitely help keep our skin clear, smooth, and bright, our diet can go a long way to help the cause, too.
“Certain foods can help supercharge the glow and texture of your skin,” says Lyndi Cohen, from The Nude Nutritionist. And so, because we are essentially what we eat, we asked her to share the top foods to eat for a better complexion.
How it improves your skin: “Sweet potatoes are naturally loaded with vitamin C, a nutrient essential in the production of collagen, which is key to maintaining an even skin tone and texture,” says Cohen. On top of this vitamin C can also help brighten the skin and improve radiance. Another benefit of eating more sweet potato? “Colourful fruit and veg, like sweet potato, carrots and spinach, are naturally high in skin-loving vitamin A, a nutrient, which can improve skin colour and appearance,” explains Cohen.
How to eat more of it: Cohen suggests adding sweet potato to salads, using it in a quiche, or simply serving it mashed as an alternative side to regular white potato.
How it improves your skin: According to Cohen, the leafy greens of this superfood are packed with nourishing antioxidants, as well as the minerals manganese, carotene and potassium, all of which can help protect your skin from freedicals, helping you maintain a youthful glow.
How to eat more of it: For the base of your salad, swap out your iceberg or cos lettuce, or add it as a garnish to your meals.
How it improves your skin: Oily fish, like salmon or mackerel, are “loaded with healthy omega-3 fats including EPA and DHA, which can help combat skin inflammations associated with acne, eczema and psoriasis,” says Cohen. On top of that, oily fishes are loaded with biotin and selenium, which helps keep skin smooth and tight.
How to eat more of it: Cohen suggests the following: “Enjoy a tin of mackerel on crackers in place of cheese, or order some fresh sashimi for a yummy meal or snack.”
How it improves your skin: If problematic skin is your biggest concern, you’ll want to start eating more flaxseeds. Cohen explains, “These potent seeds contain a mega dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which can prevent acne spots and help reduce wrinkles. Many skin issues are aggravated by hormonal imbalances and flaxseeds are also loaded with phytoestrogens, a natural chemical found in plant foods that may help balance hormones.”
How to eat more of it: “Add a teaspoon of flaxseeds to your salads, smoothies or yoghurt for extra glow. Alternatively, try sautéing veggies with a teaspoon of flaxseed oil,” suggests Cohen.
How it improves your skin: Yes, you have read this correctly! Not only can dark chocolate help with those circles under your eyes, but it can help your skin, too. Cohen says, “According to research, dark chocolate may help create smoother and softer skin thanks to the special ingredient, flavanols.” The tasty treat is also rich in antioxidants and may also help protect against skin-damaging UV rays from the sun, warding off rough, dry skin.
How to eat more of it: We imagine you don’t really need advice on how to eat more chocolate, but it’s probably worth mentioning that not any old dark chocolate will do. Cohen recommends choosing 70-90 per cent dark chocolate and enjoying it in moderation.
How they improve your skin: Loaded with vitamin E, which is an incredibly nourishing ingredient, Cohen says the healthy snack is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good fats that help maintain the moisture and texture of skin. She adds, “They are also especially rich in zinc and selenium, which actively increases white blood cells in the body and protects against skin infections like acne.”
How to eat more of them: Take some to work and snack on them between meals. Cohen suggests, “Eat a handful of brazil nuts to satiate your hunger and keep cravings at bay.”
Above and beyond all of these, you should also be drinking plenty of water to help fight the premature signs of ageing and maintain a radiant complexion. While drinking throughout the day is the best way to go, not everyone enjoys the taste of plain water. So if you’re not a fan of it, Cohen suggests trying herbals teas and sparkling waters. You can even try jazzing up your water (still or sparkling) with lemon, mint or cucumber.
Main image photography: Edward Urrutia
Inset images: @nude_nutritionist