Eat your way to perfect skin! Biologist reveals the 11 nutrients that will do more for your face than expensive creams – including vitamin A for repair and B12 for elasticity
Many of us will not think twice about splashing out on expensive products to beat blemishes and ageing and make skin glow.
But according to Mandi Nyambi, a US beauty expert, with a background in stem cell biology and nutrition, knowing what you eat and its effects on your skin can save you incalculable worry and money.
In her new book, Fresh Face, released today Mandi gives an extensive account of what to eat and what not to eat depending on your skin type.
On top of avoiding sugar drinking plenty of water and focus on eating the right kind of fats, she’s revealed the 11 essential nutrients that could save you a fortune on expensive products and treatments.
What it does: Eating food that are rich in vitamin A is great to protect the longevity of your skin, as well as to quicken your skin’s ability to repair itself. On top of its beneficial effects on the skin, its consumption is also important for vision, the immune system and reproduction.
Where to find it: Fish, eggs, beef and dairy are all filled with it, as well as spinach, carrots and sweet potato.
What it does: Also known as cobalamin, Vitamin B12 is present in the metabolism of every cell of our body, and plays a role in how we absorb protein. It’s important for our nervous system and the production of red cells in bone marrow.
When it comes to the skin, B12 helps preserve its elasticity.
Where to find it: Meats, poultry, eggs, shellfish and dairy all contain Vitamin B12.
What it does: Being one of the most famous vitamin there is, vitamin C needs no introduction. A very well-known antioxidant, it is also plays an important role in the production of collagen.
Collagen is a major component of our skin, but over time, its production decreases, which causes wrinkles to appear. Taking collagen supplements or eating foods that are rich in Vitamin C can help prevent the appearance of crows feet.
Where to find it: Fruits, especially oranges, strawberries and blueberries are rich in Vitamin C, as well as vegetables lie spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes and Brussels sprouts.
What it does: Also well-known, Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate present in the body.
The vitamin can also help fight infections.
Lack of Vitamin D can result in muscle and bone pain, as well as acne. Eating foods rich in this particular vitamin will keep pimples and blackheads at bay.
Where to find it: Fortified foods, such as milk, cereals and orange juice can help avoid vitamin D deficiency. And a bowl of sunshine will do the trick too.
What it does: Try to see Vitamin E as your skin’s personal knight in shining armour. Its role is literally to keep your eyes and skin healthy.
This nutrient offers a number of skin care benefits. Not only does it help preserve your skin’s longevity, it’s also full of antioxidants and helps prevent the formation of scars.
Where to find it: Almond, sunflower seeds and vegetale oils contain vitamin E, as well as salmon, avocado and trout.
What it does: Perhaps a less appreciated vitamin than C or D, vitamin K present a lot of benefits when it comes to preserving your skin.
K helps with blood clotting, which means it plays an important role in how our wounds heals. Therefore it helps to reduce scarring, dark circles and spider veins.
Dark circles are caused by sleep deprivation. The skin becomes paler, and the patches of dark skin and blood vessels underneath start to show.
Just like it treats bruises, vitamin K is proven to help dark circle become less apparent. For that reason, it should be your new best friend after a short night.
It can also help with spider veins.
Where to find it: Thankfully, a varied range of foods contain this little helper: kale, for instance, is rich in Vitamin K, as well as dairy products and fruits like blueberries. It’s also contained in liver, although it might not be everybody’s cup of tea.
What it does: Studies have found that zinc deficiency could lead to acne, so you might want to make that this nutrient makes an appearance in your diet.
Where to find it: Turn to meat, shellfish, dairy and wheat germ to get your zinc intake. If you have a vegan diet, you can also take zinc supplements.
OMEGA 3, 6, 9
Omega 3, 6 and 9 are three types of fatty acid that play a crucial role in the well-being of our cells.
Each type of Omega has different health benefits. Mandi states they help with skin elasticity, skin barrier repair and with the retention of moisture.
The body cannot produce Omega 3 acids itself, which means they have to be ingested by humans. They’re considered ‘essential fats’ and the World Heath organization recommends that we eat two portions of fatty fish per week in order to get a balance Omega 3 intake.
Omega 3 can help with a number of things, but as far as the skin is concerned, it is particularly good for inflammation.
The body doesn’t produce Omega 6 either, and they also are considered essential fats that need to be part of our diet.
The body produce Omega 9, which means it’s not necessary to have some in our diet.
Where to find it: Various types of seeds, such as flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds contains omega 3, 6 and 9, as well as vegetable oils, pistachios and walnuts.
You can also find some in fatty fish such as salmon and avocado.
What it does: Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria, but the good kind. According to Mandi it helps with repairing the skin barrier and fight inflammation all over the body.
Where to find it: Fermented food such as yogurts and kimchi contain all the lactobacillus you need.
What it does: Turmeric is a plant of the ginger family helps balance body energy and boost the immune system.
It is not a nutrient itself, but packs vitamin C, calcium, fiber, iron, niacin, potassium, zinc and others.
Where to find it: Unlike the other items on that list, Turmeric is not contained in food, as it is a plant. You can buy turmeric in almost every supermarket.
This mouthful is a medicinal plant and is classified as an ‘adaptogen,’ meaning it can help with stress.
It therefore reduces the production of cortisol and its effects on the skin.
Cortisol, which is commonly known as the stress hormone, is produced naturally by our body, especially when we wake up in the morning. When we are stressed, we produce extra amounts of cortisol.
This extra cortisol makes our skin prone to acne and wrinkle, which is why plants like Ashwagandha can be a good ally.
Where to find it: You won’t find the plant in your everyday supermarket, however, a quick look online will get you what you need.