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5 diet essentials for maintaining healthy skin

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Busy lives, stress, the weather, the demands of work – plenty of everyday factors can have a detrimental impact on our skin. As with many things related to our health and wellbeing, one of the best places to start is our diet. The daily rigours of life mean that our skin requires a regular supply of nutrients to contribute to our day-to-day wellbeing as well as keeping our skin soft and supple.

A balanced diet provides the essential groundwork for healthy skin. This means combining good sources of protein with healthy fats from fish and nuts alongside antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables.

When it comes to maintaining healthy skin, there are a number of nutrients you should pay particular attention to, so we’ve rounded up some of the most important foods you should be including in your diet:

Monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fats

It’s a common misconception that all fat is bad fat. Whilst saturated fats should generally be avoided, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are excellent for our skin. These essential fatty acids act as a natural moisturiser to keep skin supple and to help ward off dryness. Avocados are a fantastic source of monounsaturated fat, as are olives and olive oil. Cashews, almonds and hazelnuts are also easy to introduce by the handful.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids encourage the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds, which are particularly good for tackling certain skin conditions. These fatty acids can’t be produced by the body, so it’s essential we include them in our regular food habits. It is well known that the best sources of Omega-3 are oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring but, for plant-based sources of Omega-3, look to chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts.

Selenium

Selenium protects cells from damage by neutralising skin-damaging compounds, making it a vital everyday nutrient for healthy skin. Just four Brazil nuts provide the recommended daily amount of selenium, whilst fish, shellfish, eggs, tomatoes and broccoli are also good sources.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is probably the most well known on this list and its super-antioxidant properties provide vital support to the immune system. When it comes to skin health, vitamin C is essential in collagen production, which strengthens the small capillaries supplying the skin. Oranges are famously rich in vitamin C, whilst other good sources include blackcurrants, blueberries, guava, kiwi fruits, papaya and strawberries. Vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli and cabbage are also great choices.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E works alongside selenium to safeguard the protective membranes coating cells. It also protects the skin from oxidative cell damage. To optimise your diet with vitamin E, look to fish such as tuna and salmon, wholegrains such as rye, brown rice and oats, and vegetable oils from sunflowers and pumpkins.

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