Eating for a Healthy Skin
Not all skin is created equal – that goes without saying. Genetics and environmental factors such as sun damage, etc., play a significant role in the condition, texture and appearance of the skin. Good skin care habits are largely responsible for clear, healthy skin. What many people overlook, is the effect the diet has on your skin. Consuming foods that are good for the skin, reminds us of the old adage ‘you are what you eat”.
The food you eat, directly affects whether you have healthy skin. In fact, it might be hard to find a skincare professional, nutritionist or dermatologist who does not consider the food you eat a major factor in deciding whether you have a clear, youthful-looking complexion, or not.
If you accept that eating the right foods can help maintain healthy skin, improve the condition of the skin and slow down the aging process, then what are the best foods for the skin? We have outlined some of the most important foods, nutrients and trace minerals for healthy skin and suggested some common sources:
Sources: Low Fat Yoghurt, Kale, Carrots, Cantaloupe, Mangoes, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Liver, Dried Apricots, Dark Leafy Lettuce, Butternut Squash
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient to repair damaged skin and maintain healthy skin. Without adequate amounts Vitamin A in your diet, skin will become dry and flaky. Individuals who are suffering from acne are also encouraged to load up on Vitamin A or apply products that are derivatives of the vitamin. Vitamin A is also a great anti-aging nutrient. So if you wish to keep lines, wrinkles, dull skin and other skin aging symptoms at bay then make Vitamin A-rich foods a part of your daily diet.
Sources: Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries
Your body contains unstable molecules that can damage cells. That damage may increase your risk for cancer and other health issues, according to the National Institutes of Health. Substances, called antioxidants, help protect our cells from damage. Antioxidants are present in a wide range of foods, but berries are packed full of antioxidants that protect the skin from cell damage. Blueberries are particularly rich in flavones, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Sources: Pumpkin, Carrots, Mangoes, Sweet Potato, Apricots
Beta carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body. It aids in the growth and repair of body tissues, and may protect against sun damage. It is also effective in protecting again skin disorders, protects again cell damage, and slows the aging proves. Foods with orange pigments and vibrant colors are rich in beta-carotene.
In extremely high doses, straight vitamin A from supplements can be toxic. You can get ample beta carotene from whole, natural foods. The highest amount of beta carotene is found in sweet potatoes.
Sources: Sweet Potatoes, Oranges, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Grapefruit, Strawberries, Dark Leafy Greens, Chili Peppers, Kiwi, Papaya
Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, which helps prevent our skin from sagging and wrinkling. In fact, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that volunteers who consumed 4 milligrams of vitamin C daily for three years were 11 percent less likely to have a wrinkled appearance. As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C helps lessen oxidative stress to the body and is thought to lower cancer risk.
Kiwi is an unsung hero of supple skin. This small bright green fruit packs more vitamin C per ounce than almost any other fruit.
The easiest way to get your daily dose of Vitamin C is with a glass of OJ. Orange juice is packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect the DNA in skin cells by neutralizing free radicals, atoms that damage cells and accelerate aging and disease.
Vitamin E is perhaps the most well-known vitamin that is essential for healthy skin. This is because Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are one of the major causes of premature skin aging and Vitamin E is one of the most effective anti-aging nutrients.
Vitamin E is easy to include in your diet. For a healthy snack and a dose of protection from UV damage and oxidative stress, try eating a handful of nuts each day. Vitamin E also helps form muscle and tissue to prevent premature aging of the skin, as well as protecting it from dryness.
Sunflower Seeds slow down the development of saggy, wrinkled skin by decelerating the aging of skin cells, keeping the skin looking younger longer. Vitamin E is also known for its ability to diminish the appearance of scars.
Sources: Cooked Tomatoes, Red Carrots, Red Bell Pepper, Watermelon, Papaya
Lycopene helps defend against sun damage and wrinkles—and might even help prevent and treat skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, lycopene is “a very potent antioxidant, it can neutralize free radicals caused by ultraviolet exposure from the sun.” Tomatoes—particularly cooked ones—are a terrific source of lycopene.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Sources: Salmon, Sardines, Halibut, Shrimp, Flax See, Flaxseed Oil, Chia Seeds, Walnuts, Soybeans, Tofu, Tuna
Omega 3 fatty acids are responsible for skin repair and moisture content and help build flexible cell membranes. Recent research has indicated that diets low in essential fatty acids can result in dry skin and premature wrinkles. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are known to help reduce acne, decrease skin inflammation, moisturize dry and scaly skin, improved skin texture and softness.
Salmon adds luster and softness to your complexion – a fish with one of the richest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats nourish the skin by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory substances, decreasing clogged pores, and averting fine lines and wrinkles
Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for treating acne, and Omega-3 supplements have proven to be an effective treatment for psoriasis. Flaxseed provides some of the highest sources of Omega-e fatty acids.
Sources: Lean Beef, Poultry, Eggs
One of the benefits of a high-protein diet is healthy skin. Protein is full of amino acids that create collagen. Collagen gives structure to your skin’s tissues. As you get older, your collagen breaks down, which may lead to wrinkles.
Research shows that women with more wrinkles are more likely to have lower intakes of protein. And still more research shows that the skin of older women with lower protein intakes is more prone to cracking, tearing and breaking. So eating a high-protein diet fortifies your collagen levels and therefore makes your skin thicker and less prone to wrinkles.
Sources: Tuna, Brazil Nuts, Crabmeat, Wheat Germ, Code, Turkey, Beef
Selenium helps prevent cellular damage – it has the ability to reduce the risk of sunburn and promote an even skin tone. It delays the signs of aging by promoting elastin, a protein in your connective tissue that keeps your skin smooth, tight and flexible. Dietary selenium has been shown to reduce sun damage, and even to prevent some skin cancers in animals. The best sources of selenium is from food – not supplements.
Sources: Deli Meats such as Chicken, Turkey and Turkey Pastrami, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Oysters, Veal Liver, Dried Watermelon Seeds.
Zinc is an essential mineral – it is found in cells throughout the body. It maintains collagen and elastin fibers that are responsible for the skin’s elasticity and firmness. Zinc aids in healing wounds, reduces inflammation, prevents acne and helps maintain healthy skin. The loss of zinc from biological membranes impairs their function and increases their susceptibility to oxidative damage, leading to premature aging, organ damage and other diseases.
Oysters contain the highest levels of zinc – just one oyster delivers an entire day’s worth of zinc. Deli meats are a more convenient way to include proper levels of zinc in your diet – just make sure your deli meats are minimally processed and low sodium.
Dietitians often debate how much water we should drink each day, but the standard 8 – 10 glasses per day seems to be the rule. The body is 70 to 80 percent water, and without enough water, our cells don’t regenerate and remove waste, resulting in a buildup of impurities.
Not all of the 8-10 glass of liquid needs to be water. Hot teas, unsweetened iced tea, especially green tea are good too. Teas have their own supply of skin-regenerating antioxidants and phytonutrients (healthy substances from plants) making them a healthy choice. Another way to know if your body is getting enough water is to do a quick calculation based on your weight – using the formula to the right – give it a try and see how much fluids you should be drinking a day.