Food for skin care

Food for skin care

By NADINE WILSON All Woman writer

Monday, July 08, 2013

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THEY say you are what you eat and so it therefore stands to reason that you are likely to have healthy glowing skin when you eat clean, and a blotchy-looking appearance if you allow only junk to pass your mouth.

In fact, just glancing at the ingredients listed in some of the most expensive skin care lines will show a clear link between certain nutrients and common skin problems like wrinkles and acne.

"The skin is the largest excretory organ of the body. If the body is toxic (full of toxins), it will definitely be reflected in the skin. I have noticed that people who eat healthy foods usually have a good skin tone," said fitness expert and nutritionist Donovan Grant.

If you have reasons to be concerned about your skin, then a stop at your local farmers' market or at your favourite supermarket might just provide you with the best solution for getting that glowing skin you've always wanted. Here are some of the foods you can look out for that have been shown to be excellent skin-care options.

1. Calalloo and green leafy vegetables. Eating green and yellow vegetables regularly have been shown to result in fewer wrinkles around the eyes. Green leafy vegetables are also a great source of folate, iron and calcium which can contribute to you having a more youthful complexion for a longer period of time. Calalloo, broccoli and lettuce, especially, are great in the treatment of acne, owing to their high vitamin A, C and K content.

2. Oatmeal. This is more than a breakfast staple. It can effectively help to remove oil and bacteria from your skin and is therefore a great exfoliating agent. You can make a rejuvenating facial mask right in your kitchen by blending this ingredient with baking soda and water to make a paste and applying to your face to remove dead skin. Oatmeal is also rich in fibre, which nutritionist Patricia Fletcher believes is essential for healthy looking skin. "Between 30 to 40 grams of fibre would do you well and you will find that your skin is clean and clear," she said.

3. Mangoes. They are plentiful this time of year, but apart from just tasting and looking good, mangoes also provide the body with a host of vitamins and minerals that help to give a beautiful appearance. The high vitamin C and calcium content in mangoes can assist with the tightening of the capillary vessels, leading to a soft and luminous complexion. It also contains amino acids, vitamin E, beta carotene, potassium, magnesium and iron that help to unclog pores.

4. Cucumber. You've probably heard the phrase "cool as cucumber" before, and might have observed that they have been a crucial part of the spa experience. But apart from being used on the eyes during a facial, cucumbers contain both vitamin C, which boosts collagen and elastin, and caffeic acid and antioxidants which fight off wrinkles and protect against sun damage.

5. Flaxseed. Flaxseeds, salmon, tuna and other such foods that are high in omega-3s help to provide moisture and therefore help to keep the skin soft, plumped and wrinkle-free.

6. Beetroot. Beets are an all-round body cleanser because they help to eliminate toxins from the body and lower cholesterol. They are also high in vitamins, potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium, which are essential for epidermal health and healing.

7. Coconut oil. It helps to keep the skin soft and moisturised and contains several anti-fungal properties that help to ensure that the skin is well nourished and always looking good. "I am definitely an encourager of coconut oil, and particularly the virgin coconut oil, which can be ingested or used for cooking as well as to rub on your skin," said Fletcher.

8. Brown rice. Apart from regulating your blood sugar levels, brown rice also contains several antioxidants and B vitamins, protein, selenium and magnesium. It is also a better alternative to processed carbohydrates such as bread, rice, flour and pastries which help to block your system and make your body toxic. "I have found in my practice that the chances of getting clear skin can be greatly improved by proper nutrition, reducing or eliminating starch, sugars and days-old foods," said Grant.

9. Almonds. Almonds are great for getting you that clear, glowing skin you desire because they are high in fibre, vitamin E and heart-healthy essential fatty acids. These nutrients are essential for the clearing of toxins and free radicals from your body.

10. Sunflower seeds. This all-natural ingredient has calming and emollient (moisturising) properties that makes it good for skin care. As such, sunflower seeds are used in several medicinal and cosmetic products for those suffering from acne, eczema, inflammation, general redness and irritation of the skin.

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