When we eat well, we receive more benefits than just weight loss!

Throughout life, our cells endure a lot of damage. Most of this wear and tear comes from the effects of free radicals which are harmful substances that cause deterioration to the cell. Damaged cells lead to, amongst other things, ageing. When cells are subjected to a lot of damage, premature ageing begins.

This free radical damage can be caused by many things such as smoking, diets high in sugar, saturated fats and refined white carbohydrates, poor nutritional intake, an excess of alcohol, pollution in cities etc.

We have all heard of the word antioxidants, but what exactly is their function and how can we ensure we are getting enough of these beneficial substances? The role of antioxidants is to protect the wall of the cell from damage so a diet rich in these beneficial substances will slow down the ageing process, help prevent against disease and help keep your skin looking young and supple.

 

Vitamin A, C and E all have antioxidant properties.

Sources of vitamin A – potato, carrots, leafy greens, egg yolks and apricots

Sources of vitamin C – parsley, berries (blueberries in particular) citrus fruit, asparagus, broccoli, spinach

Sources of vitamin E – wheat germ, nuts, seeds

 

Certain minerals also have antioxidant properties too

Selenium – brazil nuts, oats, legumes such as soy beans, whole grains, chicken, eggs and beef.

Zinc – Pumpkin seeds, peanuts, whole grains, yogurt, chicken, salmon, oysters

 

I always say to my clients, the best way to incorporate a variety of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals into your diet is to ensure you to eat 7 portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

Try to eat 2 portions of fruit each day and four portions of vegetables. This can be done easily by having two portions of vegetables or salad with your lunch and two portions again with your dinner and vary them on a daily basis. Fruit can be eaten twice daily as snacks with a small handful of nuts. Always chose a wholegrain carbohydrate such as spelt pasta or brown rice instead of white and avoid buying packaged foods containing hydrogenated fats, additives and preservatives.

 

To top up the antioxidants you get from your diet, it is advisable to take a good quality antioxidant supplement from your local health store.

If you smoke, free radical damage increases, so the need for antioxidants increases also. Smokers deplete their stores of vitamin C more rapidly than non smokers so you should take an extra supplement of Vitamin C containing 500mg, twice daily, to replenish the lost supply.

 

 

It is also worth while getting a moisturiser containing Vitamin E or coconut oil, both of which contain healing properties for the skin. Vitamin E capsules can be pierced and put on the skin topically to help clear up any rashes, eczema or psoriasis patches.

 

A healthy varied diet will go a long way to keep your skin glowing!