Good nutrition often means good health as following an unhealthy diet can cause us to put on excess weight and put stress on our organs including the heart, liver and skin. As we begin to discover more about how our diet affects our body, it has become increasingly clear that the foods we consume have the ability to affect both the health and appearance of our skin.
Here we take a look at some of the top late summer fruits and vegetables which can help keep our skin looking healthy:
These fruits are rich in healthy fats which can benefit numerous functions within the body, including skin health. By consuming these healthy fats, you can help your skin to remain flexible and moisturised (1). A study which followed more than seven hundred women found that having a high intake of healthy fats, specifically the ones which are found in avocados correlated with having supple and elastic skin (2).
Early evidence also suggests that avocados contain compounds which can protect the skin from UV damage caused by the sun. UV damage on the skin can accelerate signs of ageing which includes wrinkles (3, 4).
Vitamin E is found in avocados; this is an important antioxidant and protects skin from oxidative damage. I, t has been found that vitamin E effectiveness is optimised when combined with vitamin C (5). Vitamin C is understood to be essential for healthier skin as it is required to create collagen – the main structural protein which keeps skin feeling both strong and healthy (6). Approximately half of an avocado can provide you with ten percent of your recommended daily intake of both vitamin E and vitamin C (7).
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene. Once consumed beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A (8). Bysimply eating a half-cup serving of baked sweet potato you provide your body with enough beta-carotene to make four times the recommended daily intake of vitamin A (9).
Carotenoids such as beta-carotene can also act as a natural sunblock, as this antioxidant incorporates into the skin and protects skin cells from sun exposure. This protection offers prevention from sunburn, cell death and associated after-effects such as dry and wrinkled skin. (10)
Interestingly, eating foods which contain beta-carotene can also give your complexion a warm, orange colour which can help to contribute to an overall healthier appearance (5).
Just like sweet potatoes, bell peppers also contain beta-carotene and carry similar benefits as outlined above. Bell peppers also are a strong source of vitamin C, an antioxidant which is necessary for the synthesis of the protein collagen, which helps keep skin firm and strong. One cup of bell pepper can provide you with ninety two percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A and more than three hundred percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C (11)!
Raspberries contain generous amounts of vitamin C and also antioxidants, which mean that raspberries can powerfully fight free radicals and protect the body against inflammation (12). They also have a high concentration of ellagic acid, an antioxidant which is linked with lower risk of cancers of the colon, oesophagus, liver, lung and skin (13).
Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and also contain high amounts of anthocyanin (14), an antioxidant which gives blueberries their signature deep blue colour.
The antioxidant anthocyanin protects the skin from sun damage, stress and pollution by moderating the body’s inflammatory response (16) and also by preventing loss of collagen (17).
For more information on the top fruits and vegetables for healthy skin, see our weight loss management course.