We often use the expression “skin deep” to say something is a bit shallow, but in reality your skin is your body’s largest organ – which means taking care of it is essential for true head-to-toe health.
While you can’t stop the clock on aging altogether, you can slow it down considerably at your skin’s cellular level. And it may surprise you to discover that to do just that, you should spend as much time in the grocery store as in the beauty aisle for optimal results. Here are four secrets for how you can get clean, fresh, supple looking skin:
Master the Basics
Be sure to remember the basics: get at least seven hours of shut-eye each night, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated (your skin is about 70% water), use broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF daily, don’t smoke, and if you drink, do so in moderation. This is because UV rays, cigarette smoke and alcohol all accelerate skin’s aging, both in the matrix between cells, on the surface and at skin’s lower layers (called the dermis).
Eat Omega-3 Fats
Feed your skin well by including salmon, sardines, flax, canola oil, walnuts or fortified eggs on your plate each week. These skin superfoods are rich in omega-3 fats, a group of essential fatty acids that your body can’t make on its own, but which are the secret to helping skin stay noticeably more elastic, supple and radiant. Here’s how: omega-3 fats help provide a protective barrier to cells, enabling them to hold more water. They keep skin cell membranes healthy and supple enough to enable nutrients to get in and waste to be removed. They also to play a role in suppressing the body’s production of pro-inflammatory compounds, which can accelerate skin aging.
Opt for Orange-Hued Fruits and Vegetables
Crave a tan? Skip the sun and reach for dark orange-hued fruits and veggies such as apricots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and butternut squash instead. Not only are they filled with the antioxidant superstar beta carotene, but a 2011 study found consuming several servings of brightly colored produce (surprisingly, beta carotene is also found in dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and chard) enhanced subjects’ natural glow and gave them the appearance of a warmer skin tone. Bonus points: these foods are rich in vitamin C, one of your skin’s main water-soluble antioxidants
Enjoy Edible Sunscreen
Research reveals that compounds in tea, chocolate, tomatoes and kale can act as a natural SPF for our skin, potentially helping to protect us from harmful, aging UV damage (but don’t forgo the sunscreen!). Check out my blog which covers each of these foods more in depth and be sure to add them to your next shopping list – your skin will thank you.