Spring is officially here! If you haven’t already, you will soon start seeing lots of colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Did you know that what you eat affects your skin health and appearance? It does! To help restore or maintain healthy skin and a more youthful appearance, start with small steps. Here are three easy tips to follow:
Tip 1: Add more fish to your diet
Fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel and herring) are excellent for supporting healthy skin. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these fish help keep your skin thick, supple and moisturized. Omega-3 fats in fish also help reduce inflammation and can even make your skin less sensitive to the harmful UV rays of the sun. Dry skin can be one sign that your body is not getting enough omega-3 fats.
Fatty fish also contain vitamin E – an important antioxidant that helps protect skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation. By incorporating more fatty fish into your diet, you get the benefit of high-quality protein that helps maintain skin’s strength and integrity.
Tip 2: Eat a rainbow of fruits & vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain an array of powerful antioxidants that help protect skin from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals from pollution and sunlight can cause wrinkles and other signs of early aging. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals we encounter in our everyday lives.
To get the biggest benefit, choose a colorful rainbow of fruits and vegetables, and aim for five portions a day. Vary your choices, and get as much color on your plate as possible. Berries (including blueberries, black berries and raspberries) are particularly rich in antioxidants. Carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin contain beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Kale, papaya and spinach are excellent sources of lutein, another potent antioxidant that is also good for maintaining eye health.
When you fill your plate, cover half of the plate with fruits and vegetables; one fourth with lean protein and one fourth with complex, healthy carbs (such as brown rice or whole grain pasta).
Tip 3: Indulge in dark chocolate
Yes, we saved the best for last, and the news is great! Cocoa is phenomenally beneficial to skin health.
A study reported by the National Institute of Health tells us that consuming cocoa powder on a daily basis for six to 12 weeks can result in thicker, more hydrated skin that is less sensitive to sunburn. Other studies have shown improvements in the appearance of wrinkles.
Specifically, you need to select dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa in order to maximize the benefits to your skin and keep added sugar to a minimum.