Healthy glowing skin is not only for beauty but also for staying healthy. Skin, in the medical realm, is considered to be an organ. It acts as a protective layer, enveloping our body and preventing entry of organisms that cause infections. Maintaining skin health is essential beyond beauty. It maintains our body temperature and fluid balance by controlling moisture loss. Our skin has sensors that feel pain which alert our body to danger. The skin also protects against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Skin health is also a mirror to overall health. Diseases, nutritional deficiencies, ageing all affect the skin quality.
Washing our skin with hot water, exposing it to the sun, having a unhealthy lifestyle, stress, sleep deprivation, dehydration, also takes away its glow and adds wrinkles. Eating a diet rich in skin nutrients like Vitamin A, E & C, minerals such as zinc selenium and copper and poly phenol rich vegetables and fruits that act as antioxidants improve overall health and skin too.
Here're 5 Foods That Are Natural Antioxidants For Your Skin:
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the most important ingredient for production of collagen - a protein that maintains skin structure. It is also a strong antioxidant that protects against ageing and cell damage.
Sources: Citrus fruits, guava, broccoli, bell peppers, papaya.
Use: Other than eating, oranges can be added to face scrubs and the juice can be used as a mask. Papaya pulp makes for a good face pack.
2. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is another strong antioxidant that reduces inflammation. It is essential for a number of body functions.
Sources: Almonds, sunflower seeds, sunflower and safflower oils, peanuts.
Use: Make a powder of almonds and sunflower seeds, you can add this to your fruits, breakfast cereal or yogurt. It also makes for a good face pack.
Lycopene is a compound found in good quantities in red and pink fruits and vegetables. It has strong antioxidant properties that have shown to protect against heart diseases, cancers and against sun damage for the skin.
Sources: Tomatoes, apricots, papaya, grapes, peaches, watermelon, cranberries.
Use: Tomato pulp is a good mask and exfoliator. Apply some after a day in the sun.
Retinol is associated with reduction of wrinkles, signs of photo ageing, it helps with collagen production.
Sources: Milk, cheese, yoghurt, fortified food.
Use: Raw milk has been a favourite traditional face pack or face wash. Now we know why. Both milk and yoghurt can be used for face wash, face packs.
Curcumin is found in haldi and is a strong antioxidant. It is capable of controlling inflammation at the cellular level. It helps with skin lightening and adds a glow. It has been used as a beauty aid for centuries, now we know why.
Uses: It can be used as a pack with milk, or added to besan for a scrub.
A plant polyphenol, it has been researched extensively for it antioxidant capacity in preventing heart diseases. It is associated with lower skin inflammation, lightening and brightening of the skin.
Sources : Grapes, blue berries.
Use: The pulp for a quick skin revival. It can be added to any scrub base too.
While these foods may be added to your daily skin care routine and are good replacements to cosmetics, you must understand that health is inside out. Have a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, hydrate well, sleep enough.
About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.