Dr. Willie T. Ong
There’s an old saying that “we are what we eat.” Eat lots of fatty foods and you could get a heart attack. Eat mostly vegetables, fruits and fish, and you’ll probably live longer. But did you know that there are special foods that can help you exude radiant skin? Yes, it’s true. Check out our top ten beauty foods:
Avocadoes are packed with the B vitamins, which help nourish your skin. Vitamin B3 (called Niacin) acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and may help smoothen reddish and patchy skin. One avocado contains 3.8 mg of niacin, which fullfills 27% of your daily needs.
According to authors Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz, polyphenols in green tea may prevent sunlight damage and improve the elasticity of the skin’s outer layer (the epidermis). Studies show that green tea may prevent various cancers, including skin cancer, because of the high concentration of catechins. Drink one to two glasses a day.
Green leafy vegetables contain many vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals known to provide health benefits. It also help flush out toxins from the body. An international study shows that people who eat more vegetables and fish have less wrinkles compared to those who eat less. Locally, we have cabbage, pechay, kangkong and camote tops (talbos) and spinach.
A German study finds that tomato paste with olive oil helps participants prevent sunburn within ten weeks of taking it. Tomatoes are extremely high in antioxidants, especially carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene. Studies show that lycopene may help slow down cellular damage from free radicals. Lycopene is readily released by cooking tomatoes and better absorbed with a little oil added.
Watermelon’s beneficial effect comes from its component citrulline, which is converted to arginine in the body. Arginine helps flush out ammonia and other toxins from the body. The deep-red watermelon variety also contains the pigment lycopene, which helps counter the bad effects of free radicals circulating in the body. Once we reduce these free radicals, we can theoretically slow down aging and gain a healthier-looking skin.
Soybeans contain proteins, which break down into smaller amino acids upon digestion. These amino acids, in turn, help repair the skin cells and collagen beneath the skin. In addition, soybeans contain essential fatty acid that help moisturize your skin naturally. Soybeans are also rich in calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Hence, they’re good for your heart, bones and digestion. You can add soybeans in your diet by drinking soya milk or adding tofu to your soups, stews and salads.
Endorsed by the American Heart Association, oily fish like sardines, tuna, mackerel and salmon, are filled with healthy omega-3 fatty acids – a type of fat that makes your blood less likely to form clots. Salmon, in particular, contains astaxanthin, which is a carotenoid that improves skin elasticity. A study in the Journal of Lipid Research in 2005 shows that fish oil can limit skin damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Fish oil may also alleviate conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and dry and flaky skin. To get the full health benefit, fresh oily fish is better than canned fish where omega-3 levels are reduced.
Cottage cheese and milk products
Low-fat milk products are good for your heart, bones and skin. Cottage cheese contains calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium and selenium. The selenium component is a potent antioxidant, which can help promote a more beautiful skin. However, don’t eat too much cottage cheese because they can be fatty, too.
The rich oils in nuts helps moisturize the skin while its vitamin E component may protect your skin from damage and premature aging. Don’t worry since the fats found in nuts are the good fats —monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. You can try our local nilagang mani (boiled peanuts) and cashew nuts. Walnuts and almonds are more expensive but they are specially packed with healthy oils. However, some nuts are salty and high in uric acid. Just eat a handful as a snack.
Our bodies are composed of mostly water and it’s the water that keeps the skin soft and radiant. Just as a dehydrated person will have deep-set eyes and wrinkled skin, so will a fully hydrated person exhibit a normal and firm skin tone. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of clean water every day.
Aside from the above ten skin-friendly foods, don’t forget the basic rules for having a beautiful skin:
(1) drinking lots of water to flush out toxins, (2) having some form of daily exercise, (3) avoiding the sun and applying sunblock, (4) avoiding stress and getting plenty of rest, and (5) taking a multivitamin may help, too.
By the way, if you want to know the unhealthiest food for the skin, it’s heavy alcohol-drinking. Binge drinking makes you prone to sunburn and skin cancer. So don’t drink, don’t smoke, and eat right to gain a more beautiful skin. Quite simple, isn’t it?