Eat the rainbow
For Marika, the most important thing when it comes to healthy eating is variety. Eating a range of different coloured fruits and vegetables every day will give you the essential nutrients and antioxidants you need to keep your body (including your skin) strong and healthy. “As a general rule, the brighter the vegetable colour, the more antioxidants and nutrients it contains,” Marika says. “It’s recommended to have a variety of different colours on your plate, so mix it up.” A diet rich in different antioxidants will help protect your skin from free radicals and counteract the damage caused by environmental pollution and stress.
To maintain healthy, glowing skin, it’s also important to keep up your fluids. For the average woman, this involves drinking approximately 2 litres (or 8 cups) of water each day, while men need around 10 cups. Eating foods with high water content like soups or juicy fruits can also help maintain healthy hydration levels. This will help your skin stay fresh and can protect against premature aging processes by improving skin elasticity and giving you a gorgeous youthful glow.
Vitamins A, C and E
Making sure you’re getting enough vitamins A, C and E is essential to getting a vibrant glow, so for Marika eating fresh fruit and veggies high in those vitamins is a must. Marika says, “Just one serve (150g) of sweet potato will provide you with all your daily requirements for vitamin A, which is important for healthy skin and plays a key role in the formation and repair of skin cells. One serve of sweet potato also contains more than 113% of your daily requirements for vitamin C, which is important for immunity year-round, but is also an antioxidant, which means it is good for collagen formation. With 12% of the RDI for vitamin E, a serve of sweet potatoes can also help shield your body from the stress of free radicals and fight against external damage to your skin.”
Omega 3 and healthy fats
Let’s be real, fats can be a scary word. But it’s important to know the difference between harmful fats and the healthy fats needed as part of a balanced diet. Marika emphasises that healthy fats are essential for preventing your skin from becoming dried out. She suggests regularly cooking with ingredients rich in good fats, like adding fresh avocado to meals (like Marika does with her Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos), or using extra virgin olive oil when roasting vegetables, cue Marika’s Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic Yoghurt Sauce for inspiration. A handful of nuts and oily fish can also boost your omega-3s – these little changes in your diet can end up having an amazing effect on your skin.
What to avoid
While maintaining a balanced and varied diet will set you on the path to happy, healthy skin, it’s also important to avoid other lifestyle habits that can cause skin damage.
Marika warns that the three key factors to be aware of are smoking, sun exposure and stress, which can cause damage to your skin and accelerate the ageing process. Quitting smoking will have transformative effects on both the internal and external health of your body, while protecting your skin from sunburn and overexposure to UV radiation (wear sunscreen every single day!) will help you avoid cell damage, aging and skin cancer.
Physical health is important, but don’t forget about your mental wellbeing as well – stress can speed up aging and reduce the overall healthiness of your skin, so remember that a happy inner glow will help create a healthy outer glow.