Skin Nerd: What to eat and foods to avoid to make your skin look its best

Boost skin health from the inside out
Skin Nerd: What to eat and foods to avoid to make your skin look its best

Skin Nerd: Antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables are hero ingredients in skincare for a reason.

Taking good care of your skin starts with what you put inside your body. At The Skin Nerd, we have a 360-approach to skin health, which includes treating the skin from the inside with nutrition and supplements. The skin can be a barometer of your internal wellbeing and therefore a healthy, balanced diet and adequate water intake are crucial to achieving and maintaining skin that’s in tip-top condition. But what do you need to ensure your skin is looking and functioning at its best?

What to include

Protein: Protein helps to boost collagen and elastin – essential for giving skin a youthful plumpness and bounce. Eggs are a great source of protein as are lean meats and fish, so fill up with these foods often for a dose of skin goodness!

Good fats: Fats can be good! Omegas are essential fatty acids that are important for managing conditions such as eczema. Acting like building blocks within skin cells, fatty acids help to strengthen the skin barrier and smooth the surface layers for a healthier looking complexion. Nuts, avocado and fish are all examples of sources of good fats that lubricate the skin and help it to stay hydrated from the inside.

Fruit and vegetables: Antioxidants are hero ingredients in skincare for a reason. Free-radical fighting and providing protection from photodamage, fine lines and inflammation,* antioxidants also defend your skin against external aggressors such as pollution, stress, and smoking. Fruit and vegetables such as blueberries, broccoli, spinach and tomatoes are rich in antioxidants and help to prevent damage to cells. Sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkin also contain beta-carotene, another potent antioxidant that helps to maintain good skin health.

Water: Eight glasses of water a day helps hydrate the body, which is the key to keeping skin pump. If you find it difficult to drink plain water, add some slices of fruit such as lemon and lime to add natural flavour.

What to avoid

Sugar: Refined sugar can cause inflammation that can lead to a number of skin issues such as redness, irritation, and congestion. It also speeds up the skin's ageing process and lowers the skin's immunity, leaving it more susceptible to infection. Many of my clients have found that cutting back on sugar has helped to alleviate redness and clear up congestion.

Caffeine: Coffee and tea are relied on by many for a pick-me-up during the day but can trigger cortisol levels, which leads to a heightened stress response and an irritated complexion. Too much caffeine also has diuretic effects (making you urinate more) and can therefore dehydrate the body. Limit your intake to one a day and replace with the Nerdie beverage of choice - skin-quenching water.

Alcohol: We all love a glass or two on a Friday evening but try not to overdo it on a regular basis as alcohol can dehydrate your skin and make any lines or wrinkles more visible.

Finding out if you have an intolerance to a food group can also make a difference to the condition of your skin. A dairy allergy, for example, can be a cause of acne and eczema. To help you keep an eye on the health of your skin, I recommend keeping a skin diary. By writing down how your skin looks and feels every day, you can keep track of any changes and work out if any differences have actually made a difference! Remember, changes won’t happen overnight and you need to give your skin at least 28 days before expecting a noticeable result. If you are concerned about being allergic to an ingredient or food type, it is important to speak to your GP for further advice.

* Lademann J, Patzelt A, Schanzer S, Richter H, Meinke MC, Sterry W, Zastrow L, Doucet O, Vergou T, Darvin ME. Uptake of antioxidants by natural nutrition and supplementation: pros and cons from the dermatological point of view. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2011;24(5):269-73. doi: 10.1159/000328725. Epub 2011 Jun 1. PMID: 21646825.

**Always check with your GP before taking supplements.

Nerdie Pick

Solgar Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 4000 IU Vegetable Capsules, €19.25

Skin-boosting vitamin D to support a healthy immune system.
Skin-boosting vitamin D to support a healthy immune system.

A nutritional supplement is a great way to top up the amount of nutrients your body is getting on a daily basis and can really improve your skin health. Known as the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ vitamin D supports your immune system, but we often lack this vitamin during the dull winter months and can need an extra boost. Solgar v itamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 4000 IU Vegetable Capsules** is my nerdie pick of week as it delivers these benefits in an easily ingestible format. Simply take one tablet a day to promote calcium absorption and help maintain healthy bones and teeth.

**Always check with your GP before taking supplements.

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