Feed your face is the motto behind this week's column. Yes, we all know that shoving avocado on your visage makes for a marvellous mask, but did you know you might actually be doing your skin more good by just eating it? Avocado is a great beauty food, as it contains unpronounceable things such as niacin (vitamin B3), an anti-inflammatory that can soothe red blotchy skin, as well as essential oils. Pop some olive oil with the avocado and you're giving your skin a real treat. Olive oil contains lots of antioxidants such as hydroxytyrosol that prevent free radical damage on skin cells (free radicals, you will remember from our "The Science of Beauty" article, are nasty ageing things to be avoided at all costs).
Who would have thought the simple baked potato could be such a potent anti-ageing tool? Just one baked potato (yes, I said baked, not chips) will provide you with 75 per cent of your copper requirements. Copper is an essential element in producing your skin's elastin fibres, which support your skin's structure; without it, your complexion will look rigid and lifeless.
If you're not a big fish eater, the good news is that you can still get your essential fatty acids (omega-3s) from other sources, such as flaxseed oil. If you are into all things from the sea, then gorge yourself on oysters; they are rich in zinc, which fights spots and, when combined with vitamin C, helps boost elastin.
Vitamin A is crucial for maintaining and repairing skin cells, as well as fighting free radicals, so eat mangoes for breakfast every day. One mango has more than 80 per cent of your daily vitamin A dose. And a handful of almonds will give you more than your daily requirement of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that promotes healing of the skin.
So what to avoid when feeding your face? It's pretty obvious, but judging by the amount of obesity and diabetes around, it needs reiterating. Sugar is your No. 1 enemy. It is bad on so many levels, but in terms of your skin, it damages collagen, leading to premature ageing. Obviously if you're avoiding sugar, you will steer clear of doughnuts. As my mother used to say: "Only a doughnut eats a doughnut", lending a whole new meaning to the old dictum "You are what you eat". I can't stress enough how awful doughnuts are. Not only do they have no nutritional value whatsoever, but they are terribly damaging to your health and skin, too. They are full of sugar, trans fats and sodium, an utterly lethal combination. So please, feed your face, but think before you eat.
3 of the best
Reap the health and beauty benefits of these honey products, almost good enough to eat
MARKS & SPENCER ROYAL JELLY & PURE HONEY CREAM BATH, Dh25 Rich and moisturising, just a capful of this cream bath foams up nicely. A gorgeous fresh honey scent without being sickly.
THE BODY SHOP HONEY&OAT 3-IN-1 SCRUB MASK, DH55 Cleanse, polish and moisturise in one with this multi-tasking goodie. Use once or twice a week to slough off dead skin cells and reveal glowing skin.
NUXE RÊVE DE MIEL FACIAL CLEANSING GEL, DH90 Thanks to the nourishing and skin-softening blend of Acacia honey and sweet almond oil, this face gel cleanses without stripping your skin and is even suitable for sensitive types.
FRUITY FRESHNESS We adore this strawberry sponge for its gorgeous, cheerful pink colour and its cleansing and exfoliating properties, and its sheer eccentricity has us hooked. Combine with some strawberry shower gel for a truly fruity experience.
Dh16, available at Boots: Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi, 02 443 7167; Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, 04 340 6880; and elsewhere