PEOPLE have often looked to diet and exercise for a slimmer figure and a healthier physique, sometimes neglecting other crucial benefits of eating clean and sweating those machines. As the largest organ in the body, it only stands to reason that your skin will also benefit — much like your heart and liver — from a healthy diet and a sound exercise routine.
"You have those foods that have vitamin E in them and the foods that have the zinc in them which are good," said nutritionist Patricia Fletcher of the Health Profit Group off Haining Road in St Andrew.
The nutritionist said regularly consuming fibre-rich foods is a good way to get healthy-looking skin.
"Your fibre foods are your whole grains, ground provisions, fruits, vegetables, and legumes which will help you," she said.
"Between 30 to 40 grams of fibre would do you well and you will find that your skin is clean and clear."
Also essential to looking toned and healthy is getting sufficient rest, exercising, and drinking plenty of water.
"Your exercise will take care of your blood flow and water will take care of your hydration and cleansing and the movement of waste," she said.
If you are in the market for something that can give you that clear, wrinkle-free skin you've always longed for, put on your walking shoes because we are sending you shopping. But instead of turning to the skincare aisle, where lotions and potions are stored, head straight to the produce section and stock up some of these healthy foods.
1. Mangoes. Biting into a Julie or East Indian mango can do much more that satisfy your sweet tooth. As you enjoy this sumptuous treat, which is currently in abundance, think of the fact that you are flooding your body with a host of vitamins and minerals that can do wonders for your skin. 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 and give your skin a beautiful appearance.
2. Almonds. High in fibre, vitamin E and heart healthy essential fatty acids, almonds are great for getting you that clear, glowing skin you desire. Add some to your cereals in the morning or on your salads at lunchtime as part of your skincare regime.
3. Flaxseed. Foods with Omega 3 fatty acids such as flaxseeds, salmon and tuna are high in omega-3s. These healthy fats hold in moisture, thereby keeping the skin soft, plumped and wrinkle-free.
4. Brown rice. Having a steady blood sugar level can result in healthier-looking skin. So switch processed carbohydrates such as white bread, rice, flour, and pastries for more low glycaemic index foods such as brown rice. Apart from regulating your blood sugar level, brown rice also contains several antioxidants and B vitamins, protein, selenium and magnesium.
5. Callaloo and green leafy vegetables. Dark green, leafy vegetables such as callaloo, broccoli and lettuce are great in the treatment of acne, owing to their high vitamin A, C and K content. They 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.
6. Beetroot. This vegetable is high in vitamins, potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium which are essential for epidermal health and healing. Beets are an all-round body cleanse because they help to eliminate toxins from the body and lower cholesterol.
7. Coconut oil. "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. Coconut oil contains several beneficial properties which fitness experts go crazy for. It helps to keep the skin soft and moisturised and it contains several anti-fungal properties that help to ensure that the skin is well nourished and always looking good.
To ensure great results, also try out these fun skin-toning exercises too.
Running. If you have cellulite on your thighs or around the butt area, then try running, jogging or riding a bike. These are effective at toning the affected area so that your cellulite becomes less visible.
Sit-ups. If you have cellulite on your stomach, try doing more sit-ups which in some cases can help to remove it for good.
Strength training. Do strength-training exercises such as squats, leg presses and extensions to get firmer and toned thighs. For healthier looking arms, try doing push-ups, or do biceps and triceps curls with dumb-bells.