Written by Helen Bond, Consultant Dietitian to SPLENDA®
Every bride, groom…bridesmaid, usher and guest wants to look and feel fabulous on a wedding day. But, it's not just what you do to your outer appearance that counts; it’s about what you put in your body, too. Achieving beautiful skin, glossy hair and strong nails really does start with what you put on your plate.
Squash a grape
Grapes, especially their skins, contain the reputed anti-ageing antioxidant resveratrol, which emerging evidence suggests may help maintain young looking skin by ‘mopping up’ harmful free radicals. Sip on a small glass (150ml) of purple grape juice, as an alcohol-free alternative to red wine.
Eat your greens
Kale isn’t just packed with skin friendly nutrients – one portion gives you 124% and 60% of your daily quota of skin-firming vitamins C and A – it’s also rich in the carotenoid lutein. A good daily intake of this yellow antioxidant pigment will help keep your eyes healthy and may also protect your skin against the damaging effects of sunlight; reducing the appearance of wrinkles by improving skin elasticity.
Tree nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios and hazelnuts are full of nutrients, bursting with healthy unsaturated fats, satiating protein, gut healthy fibre, and B vitamins like riboflavin, biotin and niacin and zinc, which play an important role in maintaining healthy, happy glowing skin.
Go with the grain
Wholegrains and other fibre-rich foods, such as wholemeal bread, brown rice, barley, buckwheat and spelt release energy slowly and steadily – helping to fill you up. They’re also rich in B vitamins, important for healthy skin, and prebiotic fibre, which provides food for good bacteria in the gut. Happy gut, happy you!
Oats aren’t just a tasty and comforting breakfast cereal, they’re a low GI food, which has been found to help improve acne symptoms and have a positive effect on your digestive health. Oats also contain soluble fibre, which fills you up and reduces any excess wind to make you feel less bloated. Forgo the tablespoon (15g) of syrup and opt for a swirl of a sugar-free liquid sweetener like SPLENDA ZERO™; a little extra sweetness, without the extra 49 calories and 12g sugar.
Berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackcurrants are good sources of vitamin C, which is vital for the formation of collagen as it gives the skin structure and elasticity. Berries also contain plant compounds, like anthocyanins, that help strengthen the tiny blood vessels in the skin, helping to stop any unsightly thread veins.
Naturally sweet potatoes
Unlike normal potatoes, sweet potatoes count as one of your 5-A-Day and are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A and is one of the most important vitamins for skin health. Vitamin A helps skin retain its firmness and helps protects it against UV sun damage by providing an SPF effect from the inside, out.
Not just for Popeye
Early evidence suggests Vitamin K may help to eliminate the appearance of dark under eye circles, through its role in blood clotting. A portion (80g) of spinach provides 236mcg of Vitamin K – over three times the daily recommended amount for a 60kg woman – and is rich in Vitamin C, which helps the skin make good quality collagen.
Reel in the oily fish
Salmon, along with fresh tuna, sardines and mackerel give us omega-3 fats - essential fats that help to keep skin cells water-tight and well hydrated, as well helping to reduce any inflammation. The body cannot make omega-3s, so you must get then through your diet. If you don’t like fish then enjoy plant omega-3s in flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds
Sprinkle on turmeric
As well as turmeric’s myriad of purported health benefits, it’s believed to be beneficial for spots, thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of its active ingredient curcumin. So, to avoid a ‘break out’ on the big day, try adding a dash of turmeric to orange juice, smoothies, soups and curries.
If you’d like to incorporate some of these skin, hair and nail-boosting ingredients into your diet, then visit www.splenda.co.uk for tasty and sugar-free recipes, as well as lots of great advice to help you reduce your free-sugar intake.