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Forget anti-aging products, just add these unexpected foods to your diet
Many of us are constantly on the lookout for the next beauty product to transform our skin or wind back the clock. However, while on this relentless search we can be guilty of overlooking our diet and what we’re actually putting into our bodies. As a nutritionist, I understand and appreciate the positive impact certain foods can have on the look and feel of our skin. In that vein, here are my five essential pantry items, to support beauty from the inside out!
Turmeric contains the active compound curcumin, which possesses both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It assists with collagen formation, inhibits the formation of advanced glycation end products – or AGEs – and assists with wound healing. AGEs contribute towards reduced skin elasticity, skin inflammation and skin yellowing. In order to get the most benefit from curcumin, it’s important to eat it alongside a source of fat with a pinch of black pepper.
How to use it: Add to smoothies, curries, stews or salad dressings.
Like Turmeric, Sumac is a source of phytochemicals; including anthocyanidins and flavonoids, that are also responsible for inhibiting the formation of AGEs.
How to use it: Add to fish, chicken and vegetarian dishes. It has a slightly tangy taste.
Tahini – which is made from ground sesame seeds – is high in calcium, which supports skin barrier function, or in other words regulates water flux and retention, and helps keep skin hydrated.
How to use it: Tahini can be used to make dips such as hummus, in dressings, added to soups or simply drizzled on porridge or fruit salad.
Hemp and chia seeds are both wonderful plant-based sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids and can help reduce damaged caused by sun exposure, ultraviolet radiation and oxidative stress. Healthy fats such as omega-3 can also assist in the absorption and utilisation of fat-soluble antioxidants – and also phytochemicals – both of which are protective of skin health.
How to use them: add to porridge, smoothies, salad dressings and baked goods.
Similar to extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil is another way to add a dose of healthy fats to your diet. It predominately contains monounsaturated fats along with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which help to keep skin protected against free radical damage. Always opt for extra virgin oil.
How to use it: sautéing, pan-frying, baking or drizzling over salad or veggies.
Zoe is a nutritionist, chef and author of Falling in Love with Food
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