We are what we eat, but it’s not always easy to incorporate nutritious dishes into our diets. We hear you, so here are three easy-to-find ingredients that you can get at supermarkets to help you maintain a clear complexion.
1. Green tea: for acne
Green tea – and indeed, tea of any tint – is great for your skin, not to mention ubiquitous at any drinks stall in Singapore. Studies show that when imbibed orally, the potent polyphenols in the emerald elixir sops up harmful radiation from solar rays, making it a useful adjunct to your daily dose of sunscreen.
(Disclaimer: Even if you’re drowning in tea, always exercise a healthy degree of caution when you’re out in the blazing heat and wear sunscreen, please!)
What else? This beneficial beverage – call it the matchless matcha – is just about peerless in terms of fighting age-accelerating free radicals. A growing body of research in the Archives of Dermatology points to your calming cuppa’s anti-inflammatory potential – these come courtesy of catechins, which are antioxidants that help to ease skin inflammation in the form of blotchiness and blemishes.
Now, lest you think this is carte blanche for you to guzzle green tea all day, do note that bottled beverages of the vending machine variety are usually spiked with sugar and “empty” calories. Stick to an unsweetened, freshly brewed pot whenever possible!
2. Seaweed: for skin brightening
Here’s why this marine manna is so good for you. The most direct beautifying benefits stem from seaweed’s stress-alleviating stockpile of riboflavin and pantothenic acids.
These B-vitamins bolster your body against fatigue by fortifying your adrenal glands, helping to soothe stress-induced skin sallowness.
In short, don’t forget to eat your sea veggies – ask the canteen auntie for an extra spoonful in your fish soup the next time you’re lunching!
3. Sunflower and other seed oils: for dry skin
Repeat after us: Oils are good for you. For the purposes of this story, we’re zeroing in on the essential fatty acids (the “Omegas”) found in flax seeds and nut oils, because these “healthy” oils have the most cosmetic cache.
Like lubricating an engine, Omega 3 and Omega 6 – they’re found in most vegetable oils used for Asian stir-fries – serve as reinforcers for fragile cell membranes, allowing said membranes to sop up precious moisture for plumper, younger-looking skin.
To maximise your oil’s hydrating powers, splash out on top-notch products labelled “expeller-processed” or “cold-pressed”; these salad-quality condiments are only gently heated, which means all of their enzymes and essential fatty acid goodness can work their magic on your dry, flaky skin.
Now for a small caveat. “Good” oils are still calorific treats best partaken of in modest quantities (no more than two tablespoonfuls, ideally). Everything in moderation!
By Eugene Quek, HerWorldPlus, March 2016