At Birch & Wilde, we are big believers in eating a varied and balanced diet and obtaining raw, natural nutrients in this way where it's possible and convenient! So, when it comes to keeping your skin looking and feeling fabulous, there are definitely some nutrient dense foods that can help!
You can also find some super nutritious and yummy recipes in our Travelling Vegan blog recipe series. But first, here are our top 10 easy and convenient foods to nurture your skin and help you look and feel your best as you glow from within!
1. Kiwi Fruit
Kiwis are beneficial for a healthy glow in multiple ways. They are rich in vitamin C which helps to lay down and preserve collagen. They also contain fibres known as ‘prebiotics’ which feed and support the healthy bacteria in your gut. When these probiotics are in healthy numbers, they produce a substance called short chain fatty acids which get absorbed and are excellent for keeping the skin healthy and moisturised.
Eggs are great when consumed in moderation. The protein they provide promotes the synthesis of collagen, and the yolk provides a healthy dose of vitamin A, needed by the skin cells for their division and function. Vitamin A deficiency contributes towards many skin disorders and premature wrinkling. Some individuals cannot convert beta carotene into vitamin A and a direct source of vitamin A is required.
3. Oily fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines are rich in omega 3 fats which are used for skin cell flexibility, moisturisation and as an anti-inflammatory. Low-grade systemic inflammation in the body results in large pores, skin redness and an increased tendency to acne. Omega 3 helps the body make anti-inflammatory hormones and to preserve the function and flexibility of the skin. Aim for 2 portions of oily fish per week. Omega 3 fats have been shown in one study to decrease the sensitivity of your skin to the suns UV rays, protecting your skin from damage.
4. Natural yoghurt
Natural yoghurt contains probiotics which reach the gut and promote healthy bowel movements. These healthy regular bowel movements transport toxins out if the body before they are re-absorbed and pushed out through the skin triggering redness and acne.
5. Whole grains
Whole grains such as brown rice, brown bread and brown pasta contain fibre and B vitamins. The fibre supports probiotic colonies in the gut and promotes the elimination of toxins. The B vitamins are needed for the regeneration of skin cells and for proper blood flow to the skin, where it provides nutrients that help it to glow.
6. Poultry & beans
Foods such as poultry, fish and beans provide protein which breaks down into amino acids and is then used to build collagen to maintain skin structure and integrity. Collagen is needed for elasticity and for the prevention of wrinkles. The average person needs around 1g of protein per kg of body weight (0.8 g / kg if you are not exercising). That is around 65-75 grams of protein per day for the average weight person. Be careful when calculating, however, as 100g of chicken does not provide 100g of protein. It’s worth checking the labels and protein per portion of your chosen foods.
Avocados are rich in fats called monounsaturated fats which support skin health, flexibility and moisturisation. Studies have also found that these types of monounsaturated fats increase the suppleness and elasticity of skin. Avocados also provide vitamin E which helps to protect the skin from oxidative damage, including the damaging effect of the sun’s rays.
8. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds including walnuts, chia seed and flax seeds, contain alpha linolenic acid, which converts into active omega 3 in the body. These fats help to maintain the flexibility of the skin cell membrane which prevents cracking and flaking. Walnuts particularly are a good source of zinc which is used for the growth of new skin cells and to help protect the skins barrier function and to prevent infections. Zinc is also used to regulate hormones in the body and can potentially prevent or lessen hormonal acne.
9. Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes contain beta carotene which converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for the normal turn over of skin cells and for maintaining skin integrity. When cooked, the beta carotene in sweet potatoes is intensified and converts provides a wealth of antioxidants to keep your skin glowing. When consumed regularly, the beta carotene is used in the skin where it provides a healthy colouring and glow.
10. Seeded grapes
Not only are grapes packed full of antioxidants, but their seeds are also even more rich in them. Although they may be bitter to eat, it really is worth eating them for the benefits they provide. Antioxidants are needed for the protection of collagen and to maintain the integrity and elasticity of skin. Red grapes particularly contain resveratrol which helps to combat the affects of ageing. Although red wine also contains plenty of resveratrol, the alcohol has negative affects on the body, so you are far better off just consuming more red grapes.