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Skinlabs Direct is a strong believer that the idiom “you are what you eat”, particularly in respect to healthy skin care. A healthy diet in conjunction with the regular application of quality skin care products and the reduction of stress delivers a three-pronged attack on the ageing process.

The science behind healthy nutrition and good skin care is irrefutable. Nobel Prize winning research conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn demonstrated the effect on telomeres, the tips of chromosomes found in our DNA, of vitamins and antioxidants in delaying the ageing process and maintaining healthy DNA.

Vitamins are primarily found in fruits and vegetables. So if you're trying to work more fruits and vegetables into your diet, make sure you get the most out of them. How they're prepared can make a big difference in the nutritional punch they pack. The right type of heat can bring out the nutrients in some, but you'll need to eat others raw to get the biggest benefits. Listed below, are but a few of the many nutritious and healthy foods that directly benefit our skin. All contain antioxidants (vitamins), to reduce the prevalence of harmful free radicals. The presence of free radicals is the largest contributor to the ageing process.

Finally, make sure that you drink plenty of water each day. Good skin hydration starts from within.

Raw Garlic

This is one powerful plant. It's rich in selenium, an antioxidant that may help control high blood pressure and possibly lower your chances of some cancers. You can mix it into veggie stir-fries, casseroles, or tomato sauce for pasta, but you'll get more nutrients if you eat it raw or add it just before the dish is finished cooking. Excess heat can reduce garlic’s skin benefits. Garlic gets its antibacterial , antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic properties from allicin. Allicin helps to kill the bacteria causing acne. It also helps to reduce swelling and inflammation, and improve blood circulation. These beneficial effects allow the skin to receive and metabolise more nutrients.

Fresh Fruit

This is a healthy snack that's rich in fibre, low in fat and calories, and packed with vitamins. The best choices are Blueberries, an Antioxidant Superfood, packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Filled with Vitamin C and antioxidants, grapes can help to revitalize your skin. In fact, they can even protect your skin from cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation and free radicals that can, on a lesser scale, cause wrinkles and dark spots. The peel of an apple is rich in vitamins and minerals. It contains polyphenols, an antioxidant that helps to protect against ultraviolet radiation and leads to younger looking skin. Apple peels are also rich in vitamin C, which prevents premature aging, and enhances skin glow.

But the same can't be said for most commercially-made fruit juices. They lack the fibre of whole fruits and usually have a lot of added sugar. Juices need to be made fresh. The vitamins and antioxidants deteriorate quickly when exposed to light, reducing their goodness.

Make Tomato Sauce

Pasta tossed with rich tomato sauce is an easy classic that's good and good for you. Cooking fresh, diced tomatoes helps your body take in and use lycopene, a natural chemical. Lycopene is found in plasma and tissues of the human body, including skin, where it exerts an effective action in detoxifying free radicals. Lycopene, along with other natural antioxidants, significantly improve skin texture.

Cook Carrots

These popular veggies have natural chemicals called carotenoids. They give carrots their orange colour. Carotenoids help stimulate epidermal regeneration helping to soften and smooth skin. They also reduce water loss so help hydrate. Carotenoids can help reduce skin pigmentation by decreasing the size of melanocytes and melanin levels. Thus addressing hyperpigmentation caused by UV radiation, hormones or even acne. Heat makes carotenoids easier for your body to metabolise, so steam or lightly roast fresh carrots to get the most out of them.

Steam Broccoli

If you think raw broccoli is tough or tasteless, a quick steam can soften it up while still preserving many of its nutrients. Unlike boiling or stir-frying, steaming lets it hold onto most of a healthy compound called glucosinolate. As we digest, our body breaks down the glucosinolates and produces many compounds, one of which is called sulforaphane.  A powerful antioxidant, sulphoraphane activates the body's natural detoxification and antioxidant enzymes. Essentially, it supports your skin in the same way it does your body's detoxification processes, flushing away all the harmful players.

Use Pressure With Mushrooms

These fungi are very low in calories and offer a unique flavour along with fibre and antioxidants. They are a good source of Vitamin D. You can slice them raw to add to a salad, but if you prefer the texture of cooked mushrooms, steam them or heat them in a pressure cooker. Quick cooking can raise the amount of antioxidants in some types of mushrooms.

Bake Sweet Potatoes

These are rich in fibre, Vitamins A and C, Calcium and Magnesium that help you build strong, healthy bones and other tissue such as skin. Its high levels of beta-carotene mean sweet potato benefits skin by fighting the free radicals that cause skin ageing. Sweet potatoes are also rich in Vitamin E, which is crucial to keep skin healthy, glowing and supple.

But how you cook your sweet potato can change the amount of starch and sugar in it. The best way to prepare one of these filling, naturally sweet gems is to bake it and serve it up with the skin in place.

Omega Fatty Acids

Omega Fatty Acids (or essential fatty acids) are fats that are required by our bodies and necessary to good health but which we’re unable to produce biologically. That means we have to obtain them through our diets.

Omega fatty acids replenish the lipid structure of the skin and are vital to maintaining your skin's barrier, keeping it smooth, moisturised, supple and elastic. Food with high contents of omegas are :

  • Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines)
  • Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts)
  • Plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, avocado oil and canola oil)
  • Fortified foods (such as yogurt, juices, milk, soy beverages, and infant formulas)
  • Eggs


How You Cook Matters

When you boil vegetables, both the water and high heat can drain some nutrients. But stir-frying or sauteeing can preserve more of the beneficial goodness. A quick zap in the microwave lets the veggie hold on to even more vitamins.

What About Steaming?

This can be a good way to keep the nutrients in fresh produce without adding any fat from oil or butter. And as a bonus, you can enjoy the steaming liquid as a veggie broth that's full of all the nutrients from the veggies you cooked. But steam's intense heat can destroy some nutrients in certain veggies, like kale, bell peppers, and Brussels sprouts. You might use these in a crunchy, healthy salad instead.

Watch the Timing

When you use heat on any fresh vegetable, you want to keep as much of the flavour, look, texture, and nutrients as you can. Cook them only until they're tender but still crisp, not mushy. If you're making a lot, it can be a good idea to whip up small batches instead of big piles. That helps make sure they're all cooked over the same amount of heat.

Good skin care consists of a healthy diet, regular topically applied skin care products, rich in active ingredients and the reduction of stress in our lives.


The Skinlabs Team

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