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Food Pyramid for Youthful Skin

By: Leigh Sexton - Updated: 20 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Food Pyramid Diet Food Pyramid Nutrition

The food pyramid is a good general tool to help you improve your diet, and a better diet naturally improves skin and hair condition, but if you want to do that bit extra to really boost your skin’s health, appearance and ability to fight aging and environmental aggressors such as pollution, smoke and sunshine, here are some of the ultimate power foods for lovely looking skin.

Avocado to Help Restore Youthful Appearance

The poor old avocado has had a rotten press in recent years, because it is high in fat, but what we now understand is the relationship between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats and this buttery fruit is definitely on the good side, being packed with healthy, monounsaturated fats that both boost the plumpness of skin cells, giving a more youthful appearance and also help neutralise bad fats by unlocking them from the cell walls, meaning that it can possibly even help you lose weight. Because it unlocks bad fats so that they can be excreted from the system, it also lowers bad cholesterol and as if all that wasn’t enough, the E and C vitamins in which it is rich are great at removing free radicals, the rogue elements of biology that can cause aging and illness.

Avocado is part of the vegetable section of the pyramid and eating it counts towards your five a day in this section.

Brazil Nuts for Better Skin, Teeth and Nails

Brazil nuts are a potent source of selenium – an element that boosts skin and hair elasticity, so that it has more bounce and vitality. In addition, selenium is one of the trace elements that helps the body to fight off infections like coughs, colds and flu so that your overall health isn’t weakened by such illnesses – and we all know how awful we look when we get a cold, don’t we? Older skin sometimes has issues with inflammation, red patches and even acne, and the other trace element that is high in Brazil nuts is zinc which works against all these conditions and can help to fight psoriasis and eczema.

Brazil nuts are part of the oils section of the food pyramid, but they contain healthy oils so don’t worry about eating them.

Berries to Give Your Skin Suppleness

A wide range of berries, including black, red and white currants, blueberries, raspberries, tayberries, blackberries and cranberries are contain the building blocks that helps the body to create collagen – which is the protein that keeps skin supple and elastic, because it knits skin cells together. As we age, collagen links break down, and the cells are not so closely knitted together, which is why skin seems to hang from the body or face. Blackcurrants have a particularly strong effect in fighting UV damage so if you spend a lot of time in the sun, a handful of blackcurrants with your morning cereal or yoghurt can help you keep your skin looking good for longer. Because they are high in Vitamin C and in fibre, they also contribute to the health of the gut and colon, meaning that you look slimmer and have less indigestion and bloating.

All berries are part of the fruit and vegetable section of the food pyramid and count towards your five a day of fruit and veg.

Oily Fish Sees Off Wrinkles

We all know that oily fish is the best source of omega 3, but not many of us know why it’s so important. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid – the body can’t create EFAs on its own so eating them is vital to preserving the overall health of the body. Children in particular need Omega 3 to help their brains develop well, but grown ups also have a requirement for EFAs, because they reduce the risks of heart disease and adult-onset diabetes. Omega 3 in particular is valuable for the way it reduces skin dryness and improves elasticity – this means that wrinkles are less likely to appear and will be less deep when they do appear.

Oily fish includes tuna, anchovies, herring, mackerel and sardines – try to eat tinned fish in water rather than brine, which is high in salt, or oil which can be high in fats. Oily fish count as part of the protein section of the food pyramid, and one or two servings a week are ideal.

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