5 FOODS TO EAT FOR HEALTHY SKIN
By Sally Shi-Po Poon (Dietitian)
Everyone wants glowing and flawless skin. Unfortunately, as we age, extrinsic skin damage develops due to exposure to UV radiation, stress, poor nutrition, alcohol intake and environmental pollution. Although good skin is partially influenced by our genes, having a balanced diet that is packed with antioxidants can help your skin glow and maintain its youthful appearance for as long as possible. Here are my top five favourite “beauty foods”.
Guava is super rich in vitamin C, a crucial antioxidant for wrinkle prevention as it promotes collagen formation and skin regeneration. One guava (55g) contains 125.6mg vitamin C which meets the daily requirement for adults – 75mg for women and 90mg for men. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C, including red and green peppers, raw tomatoes, broccoli, grapefruits, kiwis, strawberries and oranges. The level of vitamin C can be diminished by prolonged storage and cooking because it is water soluble and can be destroyed by heat. Steaming may lessen cooking losses. In general, consuming five varied servings of fruits and vegetables a day can provide adequate amount of vitamin C to meet our daily needs.
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, which help to regulate inflammation, maintain skin moisture and prevent dryness. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two servings a week and each serving is 3.5 ounces cooked. Preferably oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, eel, and albacore tuna. Vegetarians or individuals who don’t eat fish or seafood can choose flaxseeds, walnuts and canola oil.
(3) Germinated brown rice
When brown rice is germinated, its nutrient content is greatly increased, such as GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), lysine, vitamin E, niacin, magnesium, vitamin B1 and B6, ferulic acid and zinc. All these nutrients contribute to healthy skin due to their antioxidant and skin-protecting properties. Research shows that GABA can improve sleep and its amount in germinated brown rice was found to be ten times more as compared to white rice and two times more than that of brown rice.
Edible seaweeds are good sources of dietary fibre, vitamins A and B, iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and phenolic compounds. These nutrients have remarkable anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Enjoy seaweeds in moderation such as in noodles, salad, soup or sushi. However, seaweeds are rich in iodine, particularly kelp; and overeating for a prolonged period of time can affect the thyroid function adversely. It is recommended to consume kelp no more than once a week.
Turmeric has long been known to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and wound healing properties. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which works by scavenging free radicals that can damage our skin cells. Fresh or dried turmeric can be added as a spice during cooking; and it goes well with soup, seafood, chicken, rice, lentils, and vegetable dishes. Other herbs and spices such as cloves, oregano, ginger, and cinnamon are also good sources of antioxidants. Whatever you like, the key is to consume a variety.
Extra tips for skin health:
- Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of fluids daily to keep your skin hydrated.
- Limit sugar intake – sugar can speed up the signs of skin ageing by producing advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Accumulation of AGEs can affect the structure of the skin, leading to increased stiffness and reduced elasticity.
- Drink sensibly – drinking too much alcohol can lead to skin dehydration and form wrinkles.
- Quit smoking – smoking can fasten the ageing process of skin and contribute to wrinkles.
- Sleep 7 to 9 hours each night to let your skin rest and regenerate.
Sally’s Nutrition Blog @ Hong Kong Tatler: https://hk.asiatatler.com/life/5-foods-to-eat-for-healthy-skin-1#slide-1