The 5 best foods to eat for healthy, glowing skin this summer – even when you’re on a budget … – The Sun

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SHEDDING our layers for summer can bring renewed attention to our skin.

Smooth, glowing skin is certainly the dream for when the sun peaks out, but the state of our complexion isn’t always within our control.

Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson shared foods to add to your plate this summer - including kiwis, cherries, avocados and broccoli
Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson shared foods to add to your plate this summer – including kiwis, cherries, avocados and broccoli

Skincare and treatments tend to be the first thing that comes to mind for most when we’re trying to get a handle on our skin.

But according to Shona Wilkinson, lead nutritionist at ethical nutrition and supplement brand DR.VEGAN, you can also give your skin a helping hand by turning your focus to what you eat.

“Many people underestimate the role your diet can play in maintaining healthy, glowing skin,” she told The Sun.

“The foods we consume provide our body with the necessary nutrients to promote collagen production, protect against outbreaks, keep our skin hydrated, and prevent ageing.”


In general terms, packing your diet with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats can prevent all sorts of issues with our skin, Shona said.

It can “reduce the risk of premature ageing, and leave us with a consistently radiant complexion”, the nutritionist explained.

If that sounds like just the ticket for summer, read on to find out exactly what foods to add into your diet if you’re looking to get healthy, glowing skin.

1. Kiwi fruit

First on Shona’s list of foods for glowing skin was the small but mighty kiwi.

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“Kiwis may be small, but they’re a powerhouse when it comes to helping your skin,” she explained.

“Not only are they rich in Vitamin C, which is essential for healthy collagen production, but they’re also great for improving gut health, which has direct implications on our skin.”

From milk to exercise, 5 tips you must follow to avoid getting saggy skin

You gut is teeming with microorganisms, which can have an impact on your overall health as well as your skin.

Studies have shown that people with acne may have an imbalance in the “good” and “bad” bacteria in their guts.

According to Shona: “Kiwis contain a type of fibre that feeds the good bacteria in your gut, helping to keep the gut nourished and reduce inflammation around the entire body, including the skin.”

Fibre is also essential to the healthy function of your gut and it helps your bowels work properly – a process that helps remove toxins from the body.

“If these toxins aren’t removed properly they are pushed out through the skin, which causes things like acne or a greasy complexion,” the nutritionist said.

You can pick up a six-pack of kiwis in Sainsbury’s for just 99p – making them less than 17p a pop.

2. Berries and cherries

Speaking of fruit, Shona suggested you add berries and cherries to your bowl for healthy skin.

The these red fruit are both rich in a natural plant-colouring agent called proanthocyanidin, which helps impart their dark colour.

“Proanthocyanidins are potent natural antioxidants – meaning they protect the skin from harmful oxidants that come from the sun, pollution and poor dietary choices,” Shona explained.

“Proanthocyanidins particularly help to protect the collagen in your skin, which helps to provide your skin with structure, strength, and elasticity, reducing wrinkles and providing a general layer of protection.”

The juicy red fruits can also give your skin a hydration boost.

According to Shona, this “is essential in maintaining moisture in our skin and allowing us to remove toxins in the body through urine”.

Fresh berries cost around £3 per punnet on Ocado, but buying them frozen can be significantly cheaper and just as, if not more, nutritious.

A giant 500g bag from Asda can be picked up for £2.25.

Tips to take care of your skin this summer

HERE are five ways to make sure you’re taking care of your skin during the summer:

  1. Stay hydrated: Dehydrated skin may cause your skin to appear dry, dull, and scaly and our bodies lose much more water when it’s hot – drink plenty of water and use hydrating products
  2. Sun cream is a must: Harmful UV rays can damage your skin, causing sunburn, premature ageing, and an increased risk of skin cancer so make sure you’re slathering on sunscreen, even when it doesn’t look sunny – always use SPF 30 or higher
  3. Reapply your sun cream: Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you’re swimming or sweating – you can even try a powder or compact formula if you don’t want to keep applying a liquid
  4. Protect your skin in other ways: Wear a wide-brimmed hat, cover your skin with lightweight clothing and stay out of the sun when it’s at its hottest
  5. Pamper your skin: Take a cool shower to soothe it and remove any sweat and sun cream

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center

3. Chia, flax seeds and fish

Not all fats are bad for you. In fact, your skin cell membrane is rich in fat.

“But the type of fat you consume in your diet will determine which type of fat is incorporated into this membrane,” Shona said.

Foods like white fish, chia seeds, and avocados are fab for your skin, as they’re rich in Omega-3 – “a flexible fat used in skin cells to keep the skin healthy, moisturised, and less likely to crack or flake”, the nutritionist explained.

“Importantly, Omega-3 fats also help with the production of anti-inflammatory hormones in the body, decreasing any excess skin inflammation or face redness,” she added.  

Saturated fats, on the other hand, you might want to keep to a minimum if you’re in pursuit of healthy skin.

These include that fats contained in butter, biscuits, palm oil and meat, which Shona referred to as “hard fats”.

“When hard fats are incorporated into the skin cell membrane, the skin becomes less flexible and more likely to crack,” she warned.

You can buy a four-pack of Avocados in Asda for £140, or try chia seeds from Holland & Barrett for £2.99. These should last a while!

4. Brussels sprouts, broccoli and mustard greens

Loading up on fruit isn’t the only way to give your skin a boost.

Veggies – cruciferous ones in particular – can also lend a helping hand.

Shona said: “Vegetables such as Brussel sprouts, broccoli and mustard greens are rich in isothiocyanates, which support the function of the liver by protecting it from damage from toxins, especially alcohol.

“Alcohol puts the liver under incredible stress, causing a backlog of toxins in the body, which will later be pushed out through the skin and result in an outbreak of spots. 

“Research shows that reducing alcohol intake and increasing the consumption of cruciferous vegetables can help your liver to function properly and leave your skin toxin-free.”

Frozen Brussel sprouts from Marks & Spencer cost £70 a bag, or you can find fresh broccoli in Morrisons for 79p.

Eating avocado is great for your skin, experts say
Eating avocado is great for your skin, experts sayCredit: Getty

5. Oranges, red peppers and strawberries

Most of us will have heard how beneficial vitamin C can be for the skin – though it’s often spoken about in the form of serums and skincare ingredients.

Shona broke down why the ingredient is so important to a glowing healthy complexion and how to get it through food.

“In order, to produce all the collagen your skin needs to keep you glowing every day, the body needs a substantial amount of both Vitamin C and protein,” the nutritionist explained.

“This is because Vitamin C is used in a process called hydroxylation, which converts protein into collagen.

“Supplements containing collagen usually get broken down into their individual amino acids before they are of any benefit to the body, so not only are they generally ineffective, but without Vitamin C, they are essentially expensive protein supplements.

“Most people also don’t realise collagen supplements are often made from boiled ligaments, muscles and bones of cows, or boiled scales and skin of fish.

“Try incorporating lots of citrus fruits such as oranges, red peppers, strawberries, or tomatoes into your diet if you’re looking to increase your Vitamin C count.”

A five-pack of oranges costs 99p in Tesco, or you can buy tomatoes for as little as 75p in Asda.

But you should also make sure you’re loading up on enough protein too.

This means eating lean meats such as beef and chicken, or lentils, beans, and tofu if you’re vegetarian or vegan.

You could also add in a supplement like DR.VEGAN’s Skin Saviour if you struggle to consume everything you need for healthy skin through your diet, which contains gut-friendly bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus, as well as Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. 


How soon will I see changes to my skin?

Lastly, Shona emphasised the need to exercise a little patience; you won’t see the results of your diet changes right away.

“It’s important to remember that the outer layer of your skin cells renew themselves every 28 to 31 days, so if you do make positive changes to your diet for better skin, you may not see the benefit on your skin for around four weeks,” she said.

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