We teamed up with Lucy Jones (ANutr) from Harley Street at Home to bring you the four antioxidants to help support your skin.
Did you know your skin is the largest organ in your body? Just as diet can influence other organs such as your heart and digestive system it, can help skin health too.
Ultimately, a healthy balanced diet, made up of all the food groups is essential to maintaining good general health, but some vitamins and minerals are particularly related to skin health. But before we go into more detail, there are two molecules you need to understand first…
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
These powerful molecules truly are your best friend. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are ‘destructive’ molecules which we, unfortunately, can’t escape. They’re everywhere – from pollution to sunlight. In fact, you even produce them when metabolising food and exercising. But how are they destructive? Free radicals cause ‘oxidative damage’, which damages proteins within our body… and even parts of our DNA. Subsequently, this can lead to the ‘aging’ of skin, as well as inflammation, cancer and heart disease.
Free radicals are destructive since they’re missing one of their building blocks (an electron). Fortunately, antioxidants have an electron to spare and this ‘calms’ free radicals down, reducing the risk of oxidative damage and therefore cell damage. A diet rich in antioxidants is crucial and we can seek these out from some of our vitamins and minerals.
A master of many trades, selenium is one of the best-known antioxidants with its abilities to protect skin cells, as well as support your immune and reproductive system. Found in foods like eggs, fish, poultry, nuts and seeds, you can easily pack this nutrient in. Sprinkle nuts and seeds onto breakfasts or salads. Better yet, just 3 Brazil nuts gives you all the selenium you need for a whole day!
It’s no wonder vitamin E is found in numerous skin care products and supplements, given its ability to support healthy skin, through protecting skin cells against free radicals. In particular, vitamin E has been linked to reducing the ageing caused from UV light from the sun.
As a fat-soluble vitamin, our fat-containing foods have never been so important to include in our diets. Without fat, we wouldn’t be able to absorb our fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Find this skin supporter in oils (such as olive, sunflower, and rapeseed), avocados, olives, sunflower seeds and almonds. It is a key ingredient in our Gradual Tanning Drops and our Moisture Rich Face Cream.
You might be noticing a pattern with antioxidants by now. Vitamin A maintains healthy skin, as well as linings within the body, such as the nose. But, if that wasn’t enough, vitamin A also supports your night vision and immune system.
Occurring in two forms in your diet, you’ve no excuse to not pack your vitamin A in. The first type is retinol, found in animal-based foods such as oily fish, dairy, eggs and particularly liver, which should be avoided if you’re pregnant. The other is beta-carotene found in plant-based foods, including sweet potatoes, spinach, papaya, mango, red peppers and the all famous carrots. Essentially, look for yellow, red and green veg! Our bestselling Rose Otto Face Oil and our ‘dewy skin in a bottle’ Radiance Face Oil both contain Vitamin A, to help restore radiance and vitality to dull, tired skin.
Famous for its role in supporting the immune system, vitamin C also helps form collagen. Collagen is a protein important for maintaining healthy skin, bones, teeth, gums, and blood vessels. Not only does it support skin through collagen production, but as an antioxidant, it protects skin cells against free radicals. Some research even suggests vitamin C helps protect against UV light damage from the sun.
As a water-soluble vitamin, including a daily source of vitamin C is crucial for your skin health. Mix your diet up with citrus fruits, berries, green leafy veg, peppers and even the humble white potato.
What’s the easiest way to increase my antioxidant intake?
There really is a reason why your 5-a-day is important – vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Eating the rainbow will ensure you’re having a hearty dose of all three.
Some research suggests people who eat more fruits and vegetables have reduced risks of certain diseases. Although, scientists can’t be too sure that fruits and vegetables are the only ‘heroes’ here. Often, those with more fruits and vegetables in their diet also have a healthier lifestyle, which also reduces disease risk. But that doesn’t mean you can just avoid fruit and vegetables, since they’re fantastic antioxidant sources!
This blog post was written by Registered Associate Nutritionist Lucy Jones (ANutr), the nutritionist at www.harleystathome.com, an online menopause support group, which is packed full of nutrition, exercise, wellbeing and emotional health support and advice for those in the perimenopause or menopause. Find more out at @harleystreetathomemenopause and @lucy.nutritionn on Instagram.