Eat the correct balance of foods and you'll feed your skin the vital nutrients it needs to help it stay soft, supple and blemish-free.
- Eat your five-a-day: Papaya fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are caused by smoking, pollution and sunlight and can cause wrinkling and age spots. Eat a rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables and aim for at least five portions a day. Betacarotene, found in pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes, and lutein, found in kale, papaya and spinach are potent antioxidants, important for normal skin cell development and healthy skin tone. Ingredient focus - strawberries.
- Vitamin C is also a super antioxidant. It is needed for a strong immune system, radiant skin and helps blemishes heal properly. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes. They all help to produce collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the skin.
- Cut out crash diets Crash diets, repeatedly losing and regaining weight can take its toll on your skin, causing sagging, wrinkles and stretch marks. Crash diets are often short in essential vitamins too. Over long periods of time this type of dieting will reflect on your skin.
- Vitamin E protects skin from oxidative (cell) damage and supports healthy skin growth. Foods high in vitamin E include almonds, avocado, hazelnuts, pine nuts and sunflower and corn oils.
- Drink up: Skin needs moisture to stay flexible. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day - all fluids count towards your daily allowance, but water is the best. If you work in an office, keep a large bottle of water on your desk to remind you to drink. Herbal, caffeine-free teas are good too. Try to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, both can age the skin.
- Don't be afraid of fat: Spiced roast side of salmon, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats - the types found in avocados, fish, nuts and seeds - provide essential fatty acids which act as a natural moisturiser for your skin, keeping it supple.