Intentional nutrition can amplify your skin health.
Our largest organ, an indicator of good health, and how we feel about our overall appearance can all be attributed to our skin.
Glowing healthy skin radiates confidence and having a routine to care for skin is crucial. A number of different factors impact our skin, including genetics, age, hormones, medication, stress, sleep, movement, skincare routine, exposure to UV rays, pollution and smoking.
Imbalances in our gut often lead to inflammation and skin sensitivity. It’s important to avoid ultra-processed foods and consume foods with antioxidants and phytonutrients to help relieve inflammation. Leafy greens, berries, orange fruits and vegetables are known to have a skin protective and healing effect.
Stress induced cortisol in the body can trigger skin related problems like acne, rosacea and eczema. While we cannot always avoid stress, it’s important to learn to manage stress with techniques such as meditation
Read on to discover specific tips while fueling with nutrition to maintain and improve your skin.
Perhaps most noticeably, free radicals speed up the aging process when it comes to the appearance and health of your skin. Using antioxidants for skin may help combat this damage, especially from eating sources high in vitamin C, beta-carotene and other antioxidants. Include these in your daily diet as a form of prevention.
Vitamin C, a natural friend to skin, is essential for making collagen, the protein fibers that give skin its strength and resiliency. Vitamin C also disarms radicals that would otherwise chip away and weaken collagen. It also helps to counter the effects of sun damage, smoking exposure and pollution. Foods rich in vitamin C are red bell peppers, broccoli, papaya, Brussels sprouts and strawberries.
Vitamin E helps to neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals on the skin. Free radicals are biologically destructive chemical agents that attack healthy skin cell tissue and cause collagen deterioration – a direct cause of wrinkle formation. It also improves skin texture. Vitamin E is found in almonds, avocado, nuts, seeds, olives, asparagus, wheat germ and dark green leafy vegetables.
Selenium is responsible for tissue elasticity and acts to prevent cell damage by free radicals. It may play an important role in preventing skin cancer, as it can protect the skin from damage from excessive ultraviolet light. Selenium can be found in wheat germ, searfood, garlic, brazil nuts, eggs, and brown rice. Brazil nuts are perhaps the best source, and eating just three to four per day provides adequate selenium for most people.
Put into practice these skin balancing tips.
Eat Your Veggies
Mom and Dad were right. Lutein-rich and zeaxanthin-rich foods are also helpful in sunburn prevention. Dark green leafy vegetables, including kale, spinach, collard greens and turnip greens, are best-bet foods for these carotenoids. Broccoli, organic corn, peas, Brussels sprouts and leaf lettuce are also good choices.
Raw Local Honey
Honey has been valued for its anti-wrinkle properties since the days of the ancient Egyptians. Thanks to its potent humectant properties, honey attracts and retains moisture, hydrating the skin and keeping it softer and less prone to wrinkles. You can evenly apply pure organic honey directly to the skin: leave it on for at least 15 minutes, rinse off with lukewarm water and pat skin dry.
Drink Plenty of Water
While the exact amount of water you should drink each day varies, no one can dispute the role of good hydration in keeping skin looking healthy, young and radiant. Experts agree that when the hydration comes from pure, clean water the skin cells rejoice. Aim to drink six to eight glasses every day, but not all at the same time!
Zinc, found in kidney beans, improves skin quality.
Zinc is crucial for cell growth, repair and skin renewal.
The mineral is recommended for skin injuries and wounds.
Foods high in zinc offer skin protection through anti-inflammatory action.
Consume ½ cup beans a few times per week.
Foods High in Zinc
Chickpeas, cashews, lean beef, oysters, spinach, pumpkin seeds
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which:
Support the skin’s natural oil barrier, blocking toxins.
Increase the skin’s immunity to sunlight.
Reduce symptoms of inflammatory skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema.
Add healthy fats to your diet to better absorb fat-soluble antioxidants such as Vitamin E and carotenoids.
Aim for at least two omega-3-rich foods per week, like walnuts, flaxseed oil, herring, mackerel, or tuna.
Oranges are high in Vitamin C, which is needed for production of collagen.
Collagen is the main structural protein in skin tissue.
Collagen breaks down as we age, reducing skin’s elasticity, producing wrinkles.
Oranges are also high in carotenoids which accumulate in the skin to fight off sun damage and leave a natural glow.
Foods High in Vitamin C
Tomato, watermelon, red bell pepper, sweet potato, carrot, apricot.
Protein to Protect Your Skin
Given that protein is one of the building blocks of skin tissue, it's no surprise that an adequate intake of this macronutrient is essential for plump, healthy skin. Protein also contains two amino acids, namely L-lysine and L-proline, that support the body's production of collagen.
Amino acids found in dietary protein are the building blocks of collagen, elastin, and keratin, the structural substances that make up healthy hair, skin and nails. Collagen and elastin provide skin’s smoothness and elasticity while keratin keeps skin firm. Collagen specifically requires the amino acids lysine, proline and glycine of which lysine is the only essential amino acid. This means that is has to be obtained from the diet–the body cannot produce it. Additionally, vitamin C and copper are needed for collagen production.
Legumes, like peas and beans or legume-based protein powders are a rich source of lysine, an essential amino acid which cannot be made by the body.
Berries and chia seeds pair well for an antioxidant-rich, fiber-filled sweet addition to your plate.
Nourish Your Skin
Choose one specific vitamin, mineral, or food to focus on and incorporate it into your meal plan for the next month.
Focus on eating a rainbow of colors to boost antioxidant intake.
Hone in on essential fatty acids to assist your body in absorbing antioxidants.
Try infusing water with your favorite fruits or maybe cucumber and mint to entice you to drink that extra glass daily.