You may have heard the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While we cannot promise any magical powers to keep diseases at bay or to increase your lifespan, we can tell you that apples are a chock full of antioxidants, a key to promoting healthy skin. Maintaining a phenomenal external appearance is more than just about topical treatments and fancy cosmetics. Beauty begins from the inside out, so it’s crucial to sustain well-balanced, nutritious eating habits.
Over time, pollutants in the air and body can cause skin to age faster than your genes intended. If you’re a fan of seafood, incorporate fish into your diet. Fish contain essential omega-3 fatty acids that help to preserve cell membranes which contain water, and therefore, healthy ones will be sure to retain moisture. By eating such foods you will increase your chances of exhibiting soft, supple skin.
Omega-3 also works to reduce inflammation that causes skin to appear damaged over time. Plus, the benefits to your heart are just fabulous. If seafood isn’t your thing, include walnuts or flaxseed, which are also high in fatty acids, in your daily meals.
For those of you with vegetarian leanings, stock your fridge with carrots, the best source of vitamin A which is vital for skin cell development and a deficiency can cause dry, scaly skin. Carrots also contain a great amount of antioxidants which, along with vitamin A,help plump your outermost layer leaving it looking youthful.
Another great source of vitamin A are green vegetables that are rich in beta-carotene. Some of you may shy away from your mother’s saag, but spinach is imperative for healthy skin. Beta-carotene is converted by the body into Vitamin A and assists in cell regeneration. You can also get similar benefits from mangoes but we encourage you to supplement your diet with leafy greens to round out your meals.
Vitamin C is also a requisite component of your daily intake. Many skin creams contain vitamin C because this nutrient helps your body create collagen. As you mature, collagen begins to breakdown, and your skin does not seem as firm as it did when you were in your teens. Fight aging with fruits like oranges, apples and grape fruits.
If you can get your hands on them, buy some berries while you’re at it. Vitamin C not only reduces inflammation, but has antioxidants that will spur along protection from cell damage. Not into sweet things? Take a bite of some tomatoes or green peppers that contain the same sag-fighting qualities.
Wash down your food with a piping hot cup of green tea, full of polyphenol (a great anti-inflammatory) and phytonutrients (that help fight acne). Or, gulp down some pomegranate juice available at your local stand. Pomegranates work to stop spider veins in their tracks and are great for your overall health. Just be sure your ‘juice wala’ is using the cleanest methods available, we don’t want you getting food poisoning in the name of beauty!
The bottom line is that healthy skin springs from a healthy body. To quote another famous saying, “you are what you eat.” Results won’t be dramatic or sudden, but a nutritious diet will produce an effect that will last you a lifetime.
Maria Saadat is author of the popular desi beauty site Lipstick Masala.
Do you have a question about make-up? Can’t figure out a hairstyle for an upcoming wedding? Do your attempts at smoky eye make-up leave you looking like a raccoon? Have no fear! E-mail your questions and issues to [email protected] and Maria Saadat will respond to them in an upcoming column.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2010.
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