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Want naturally great skin? These super foods can help!

To have great skin, few things are more important than having a well-balanced diet that includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetable​s as well as adequate fluid. That being said, some foods do have special skin-enhancing properties.

We asked Ang Bixia, Senior Dietitian at the D​​epartment of Nutrition and Dietetics from KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group, for recommendations.

5 Top foods for great skin

Consider adding these super foods for skin to your diet:

1. Cherries and berries

Cherries a​​​nd berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, are amongst the highest antioxidant-containing fruits. Antioxidants help to prevent premature skin ageing by reducing the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are toxins produced by the body or found in the environment. Excessive amounts of free radicals result in cell damage, and over time hasten the skin ageing process.

2. Oily fish

Oily fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines are rich in essential fatty acids. These essential fatty acids help to repair cell membranes, thereby supporting skin's elasticity. The presence of essential fatty acids also aids in the production of collagen. As the key component of connective tissue, collagen promotes healthy and resilient skin.

Should you go straight for collagen-rich foods? This is controversial, says Ang. To date, no strong evidence has shown that collagen-rich foods, such as gelatin, shark fin or chicken feet, have additional benefits in promoting beautiful skin, compared to protein-rich foods, such as meat. That'​s because collagen is broken down into amino acids in the body, just like protein.

3. Avocado​

Avocado is a fruit rich in vitamin C and vitamin E. Both these vitamins are known for their antioxidant properties. In particular, vitamin C helps to reduce skin inflammation and to optimise the production of collagen. This in turn improves skin tone and reduces wrinkles.

Don’t be put off by the avocado’s high fat content. It mostly consists of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which help in reducing “bad” cholesterol.

Apart from direct food consumption, you can consider using skin products containing avocado oil extract, which have also been shown to promote skin hydration, elasticity and smoothness.

4. Tomato

Lycopene, another powerful antioxidant, gives tomatoes their bright red colour. Studies have found that lycopene can protect the skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays, a major cause of wrinkles. Unlike most fruits that are best eaten raw to minimise nutrient loss, tomatoes acquire their maximum antioxidant effect when exposed to heat during cooking.

Tomatoes are also high in beta-carotene. In the body, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, which plays a key role in skin regulation.

5. Green tea

Fluid is important in keeping cells well hydrated. Good hydration helps nutrients and vitamins to penetrate cells and, conversely, toxins to be flushed out of the body. The usual recommendation is to drink at least 8 cups of fluid per day. The fluid should ideally be low in calories, with no added sugar, to avoid unnecessary weight gain.

Apart from water, an excellent option is green tea. Recently, studies have shown that green tea can promote good skin, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Some of these antioxidants, called polyphenols, have well-documented benefits with regard to sun protection.

Don’t forget that ultimately, a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, sufficient sleep and good stress managment are key to healthy, glowing skin.​

Ref. U11

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Going Nuts About Coconut

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