Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Eat Right, Live Well – Part 2

Part 2 – Food For Beauty

To nourish your skin well, dieticians recommend the following in your daily diet.

1. Water
              Up to 60 per cent of your body is made up of water, so keeping adequately hydrated is essential for healthy skin as well as your general well-being.
              By the time the feeling of thirst kicks in, you are already 2 percent dehydrated, so do remember to drink before you feel thirsty.
              Water is naturally the best drink as it is also calorie-free. Other thirst-quenchers include low-fat milk and 100 per cent pure fruit juice. Although they are not calorie-free, they are also good sources of fluid.

2. Colourful fruit and vegetables
              Your skin is especially sensitive to free radicals which are unstable compounds that can cause cell and tissue damage. By deteriorating the skin’s structure, damage from free radicals can lead to decreasing elasticity and premature wrinkling.
              Antioxidants have the ability to neutralise free radicals and may thereby prevent damage to skin cells and tissue.
              Antioxidants include vitamins C, E and A (in the form of beta-carotene), minerals like selenium and some polyphenols. They can be found naturally in a variety of foods, including fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains fish, poultry and some meats.
              Fruits and vegetables, particularly the brightly coloured ones, contain the highest amounts of antioxidants.
              While antioxidants are important for skin health, there is no single fruit or vegetable that can provide you with all the antioxidants you need.
              More studies need to be done as there is not yet a recommended optimum dosage for each antioxidant. Thus, it is best to obtain your boost of antioxidants by eating a wide range of colourful fruit and vegetables.

3. Vitamin E-rich foods
              It is one of the most researched antioxidant vitamins. Most studies agree it is effective in preventing the early stages of ultra-violet light damage and reducing the severity of sunburns.
              You only need small amounts of vitamin E for good skin health and a balance diet should contain adequate amounts of the vitamin. Good sources include nuts, seeds, avocado, vegetable oils, wholegrains and fish. It is best to obtain E from a variety of foods instead of relying on a single source, as antioxidants work best by interacting with one another and with other nutrients. For example, vitamin E is needed for vitamin A to work well.

4. Protein foods
              While much of the focus may be on fruits and vegetables when it comes to skin health, protein is also critical.
              When digested, protein breaks down into amino acids that have the important task of forming the building blocks of most body structures, especially collagen, which connects and supports bodily tissues, such as skin, tendons and muscles. Collagen works with keratin – another strong protein – to give skin its strength and flexibility.
              When a person ages, more collagen in the body breaks down and the reduced elasticity in the skin then leads to wrinkles. Having adequate protein – which can be found in poultry, fish, eggs and lean meat – in your diet is important for the body to be able to repair all its cells and continue to produce collagen.

5. Vitamin absorption
              While applying skincare products is nourishing for the outer layers of our skin, the fact remains that vitamins and minerals applied to the surface of the skin do not work in the same way as when they are consumed. This is because digestion allows the vitamins and minerals to interact with other nutrients before they are converted to a form that the body can absorb and benefit from.

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