With skin issues like acne, eczema, and psoriasis, the redness and irritation you see is caused by inflammation. You may have taken Ibuprofen in the past to fight against inflamation, but the body has its own natural anti-inflammatory compounds. Oily fish help the body make these compounds, so increasing your fish intake will reduce the soreness and rawness of bad skin.
Omega 3 is the key oil here (it also has benefits for just about every other body system you can think). Fish like mackerel, herring, trout and salmon are great sources of the oil – they’ll noticably improve the quality of your skin very quickly.
Try to get the freshest fish you can to maximise the power of the omega 3. Don’t worry too much about how you prepare the fish – fry it, bake it or grill it – just make sure you eat it on a regular basis.
If I had to choose one ingredient for overall skin improvement, oily fish would be it.
Orange coloured foods are another group of champions on the skin health front. Sadly pick ‘n’ mix doesn’t come into the equation here. Its orange coloured fruit and vegetables only.
The orange colour in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and mangoes is given by a compound called beta carotene. This is a type of antioxidant that actually builds up in the skin, helping to reduce inflammation. The beta carotene also serves to protect the proteins in our skin that keep it supple, which adds a nice anti-ageing benefit to the mix too. Increasing your intake of these foods will help keep the skin smooth.
The great thing about many of these foods is that they are portable or quick and easy to prepare. Snack on raw carrots during the day or bake some sweet potato wedges in the oven at night. Simple, quick, and easy!
To really enhance the positive effect of orange foods, combine them with something fatty. A little olive oil drizzled on raw carrots, or some cheese melted on sweet potato, will go a long way in aiding the body’s absorbtion of the beta carotene.
Prawns and shellfish are particularly good for acne sufferers. This is because they are packed with zinc, which helps speed up the rate at which wounds and infections heal. I’ve seen so many cases of acne clearing fast once the sufferer gets enough zinc in their diet.
Zinc also carries the added benefit of helping to even out oil production. If the skin is too oily, then zinc will reduce the amount of oil that is produced.
Fresh or frozen prawns are a great source of the nutrient. If you are a vegetarian or not a seafood fan, then pumpkin seeds and pulses are excellent substitutes.
Onions and garlic
Sulphur is often referred to as �the face lift nutrient’. It strengthens the fibrous strands in our skin, which helps skin cells hold their shape, reducing wrinkles and sagging. Increasing sulpher intake makes skin a little tougher and more resilient to environmental damage.
Several studies have also shown that sulphur-rich foods can improve acne, although how and why still remains unclear.
I try to include these foods in as many dishes as possible. Any savoury dish will be brought to life by the simple addition of a bit of garlic or onion. A little tip though: when you do use them in dishes, add them first and salt immediately. The salt brings the flavour right out and will gives greater depth and dimension to your dishes. Try it, you’ll see what I mean.