How to get a bikini-ready body
Make sure you’ll be glowing on your summer holiday by eating more of the foods that nourish, repair and strengthen your skin, says dietician Juliette Kellow.
The sun is shining and it’s time to strip off the layers and slip into summer clothes and swimsuits. But after months of hiding legs and arms under jumpers and jeans, it’s likely your skin won’t be looking its best.
Regular exfoliation and slathering on the moisturiser will help you get fresh-looking, smooth skin. But what you eat is just as important. This is because many nutrients have a role in keeping skin soft, supple and smooth.
At the top of the list are foods rich in retinol and beta-carotene, forms of vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for the growth and repair of body tissues and helps to keep skin healthy and prevents dryness.
- Retinol is found in whole milk, cheese, butter, margarine, egg yolks, liver and oily fish, such as mackerel.
- Eating red, yellow and orange fruits, such as peppers and dark green vegetables will provide you with beta-carotene.
Vitamin E is also an important ‘skin’ vitamin. It’s an essential part of cell membranes and so helps wounds heal and prevents scarring
- Found in vegetable oils, margarine, avocados, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, eggs and wholegrains .
Boosting intakes of zinc, by including red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese,nuts and seeds in your diet can also help to keep skin healthy, as this mineral is vital for the growth and repair of skin cells.
Meanwhile, sulphuris sometimes called the ‘beauty mineral’, because the greatest concentrations in the body are found in the skin, hair and nails. Some of the first signs of a deficiency include dry skin, but it’s easy to avoid by eating sulphur-rich foods such as red meat, fish, nuts, cheese and eggs
Eating vitamin C-rich foods also helps to keep skin looking great and – although more research is needed – may be important when it comes to preventing cellulite. Vitamin C is needed for the formation of collagen, a major part of the connective tissue that gives skin its strength, elasticity and suppleness.
In the late Nineties, an American study revealed that fat cells protrude through weak areas of the connective tissue into the layer of skin beneath the surface, causing dimples.
- Eat vitamin C-rich foods such as berries, blackcurrants, citrus fruits and their juices, kiwi fruit, tomatoes and peppers may help to prevent cellulite.
On the subject of dimply, ‘orange-peel’ skin, most doctors say it’s simply plain old fat. Nevertheless, many beauty experts still believe cellulite is caused by a build-up of toxins in and around the fat cells and recommend ditching caffeine, cutting back on booze, limiting your intake of salt and salty foods, eating more fruit and veg and choosing fresh rather than refined foods.
Start the day with a ‘detoxifying’ cup of hot water and lemon juice. Drinking more water and eating more fresh foods, especially fruit and veg, will certainly help to improve your overall health and the appearance of your skin.
If it’s wrinkles you’re worried about, research shows that selenium may help to combat them. This powerful antioxidant mops up free radicals, an excess of which can lead to premature ageing. Including omega-3 fats in your diet also helps to reduce skin inflammation.
- Found in red meat, poultry, fish, nuts and seeds.
Make sure you’re well hydrated if you want skin that glows, especially as you get older.
Water acts as a moisturiser and re-hydrates skin from the inside out, helping to maintain its elasticity and suppleness and preventing dryness.
But while drinking six to eight glasses of water a day is the obvious way to prevent dehydration, eating more foods with a high water content can also make a contribution.
- Fruits like melon, nectarines, peaches, raspberries and strawberries all contain around 90% water; while salad ingredients, such as lettuce, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions and radishes are about 95% water.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of research has looked at the role nutrients might have in protecting skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. So far, results have been mixed and more research is needed, but eating more foods such as carrots, tomatoes and spinach won’t do any harm. But even with more scientific support, it’s unlikely that food will ever replace sun-protection methods such as covering up, wearing a high SPF lotion and staying out of the midday sun.