Updated 11 June 2014

Eat foods that feed your skin

When it comes to your skin, you really are what you eat

There is much evidence to support that eating antioxidant-rich, healthy foods not only improves your health, but also reflects positively on your skin, giving you a more youthful, fresh appearance.  

Healthy skin affects beauty

Yet while a healthy skin is most desirable to reflect a healthy body, one study found that people with a healthy glow to their skin were more attractive and desirable to others.

Researchers reported in the International Journal of Primatology that the colour of a person’s skin “affects how healthy and therefore attractive they appear”.

The researchers used specialist computer software and asked a group of people to manipulate the skin colour of male and female faces to make them look as healthy as possible.

What they found was that most people chose to increase the rosiness, yellowness and brightness of the skin, which the researchers interpreted as “skin that is slightly flushed with blood and full of oxygen suggests a strong heart and lungs, supporting our findings that rosier skin appears more healthy”.

Foods to eat for a healthy glow

So how does one achieve this healthy glow which is not only a sign of good health, but attractiveness too? Fortunately, the solution may be fairly simple – eat more fruits and vegetables.

One study found that fruit and vegetable consumption is directly related to changes in how red or yellow the skin appears. The researchers monitored the fruit and vegetable intake of 35 people over six weeks and found that skin redness and yellowness increased with more fruit and vegetable consumption.

This was further confirmed by another study in Evolution and Human Behaviour  which found that eating vegetables can give you a healthy tan. The study showed that eating a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables can actually provide your skin with a healthy golden glow even more so than the sun.

Read: Sunscreen 101

What’s more, the research showed that the more portions of fruit and vegetables consumed each day, the more golden your skin colour becomes. This is due to substances called carotenoids, which are antioxidants that soak up damaging compounds produced by the stresses and strains of everyday living.

So, to ensure you’re feeding your skin with the best possible foods to make it healthy and glowing, these are considered skin-friendly foods to eat in abundance:

- A wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including more dark green and orange vegetables such as spinach and carrots;
- Calcium-rich foods such as legumes and nuts and some dairy;
- Low-fat or lean meats, poultry and fish;
- Healthy fats such as salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish.

Amy Froneman (ACE-certified Personal Trainer, The KettleBelle Personal Training)

Image: Shutterstock

; Science Daily

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Skin expert

Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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