Chia seeds are a plant-based source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. A diet rich in omega-3 is believed to dampen down damage caused to the skins extracellular matrix including sun exposure, ultraviolet radiation and oxidative stress. Chia seeds can simply be added to the diet including sprinkled on salads, adding to smoothies, mixed into porridge and even stirred into fresh vegetable juice.
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Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of dietary protein and zinc. Zinc plays an important role when it comes to skin health. Specifically, zinc helps protect cell membrane integrity, speeds up wound healing and possibly improves skin texture and appearance. Protein is a dietary source of amino acids, which are required alongside zinc for collagen production and healthy connective tissue formation. Toss pumpkin seeds into salads, snack on or sprinkle on muesli or yoghurt.
Turmeric contains the active compound curcumin. Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agent, which plays an important role in collagen formation, wound healing and inhibiting advanced glycation end product (AGEs) formation. Always eat turmeric alongside a source of fat such as extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of pepper to help increase absorption. Fresh turmeric is a great addition to salad dressings, curries and stir-frys.
Red cabbage contains phytochemicals (including anthocyanidins) responsible for inhibiting the formation of advanced glycation end (AGEs) products. AGEs contribute towards reduced skin elasticity, skin inflammation and skin yellowing. Use shaved red cabbage as the base of salads, gently stir-fry as a dinner side or make into a fresh coleslaw with a tahini dressing.
Healthy fats including monounsaturated fats found in avocado assist in the absorption and utilisation of fat-soluble antioxidants and also phytochemicals. An adequate intake of antioxidants and phytochemicals assists in increasing the strength of connections between collagen fibres and inhibiting the formation of AGEs and therefore preventing associated skin damage. Start your day with a side of avocado, add to salads or puree and make into a healthy dip
This article first appeared on Balance by Deborah Hutton.