The Role of Nutrition for Healthy Skin
The secret to having the healthy, smooth, and beautiful skin you dream of starts with good nutrition.
“You are what you eat.” It is a saying that you often hear from health, nutrition, or beauty experts. It emphasizes that your skin mirrors your overall wellness.
Scientific studies have shown that eating a nutritious and healthy diet can improve your skin health.
In this article, we will uncover the facts about nutrition and its benefits to skin health, note the nutrients your skin requires, and find out which foods contain beauty-boosting properties.
The Healthy Skin
What does healthy skin look like?
Healthy skin feels warm, appears smooth and almost blemish-free on the surface, and shows no breaks. Normally, it is neither wrinkled, dry, nor flaky.
How Does the Skin Function?
The skin is a large organ that serves as your first line of defense against outside elements such as dirt, bacteria, and other foreign objects that may try to invade your body.
Your skin also has a crucial role in the regulation of your body’s fluids and temperature.
In addition, it shields you from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Plus, the nerve endings within give you a sense of touch to identify if something is soft or hard, hot or cold, and sharp or dull.
Nutrition for Healthy Skin
At some point, one may experience having a particular skin condition. These include acne, aging, psoriasis, pellagra, herpes, scurvy, kwashiorkor, and too many moreto mention.
Skin problems have long been associated with nutrient deficiencies.
Sometimes, such skin disorders can range from mild to fatal, and they could affect your overall health, self-esteem, and even your quality of life.
Experts emphasize that there is a significant association between nutrition and skin health.
Your nutritional status is one of the indicators that reflects the appearance and the health of your skin.
As the saying goes, “A healthy outside begins from the inside.”
It’s pointless to spend so much money on external beauty products if you don’t feed your skin from the inside out.
What you eat matters, and good nutrition will make you look better!
Paying close attention to a healthy and nutritious diet is the key to fabulous healthy skin.
Nutrients for the Skin
Let’s learn the benefits of these nutrients one by one and see how they can support your skin’s health.
The good fats
Healthy fats for the skin include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
These are healthy fats that will keep your skin firm, moist, and supple.
The omega-3 fatty acid is a kind of polyunsaturated fat that can’t be produced in the body.
That is why you need to acquire it from dietary sources.
Omega-3 fatty acid helps lower inflammation and block a chemical that triggers skin cancer cells to grow and spread in different body areas.
Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids are needed to keep skin thick, supple, and moisturized. The deficiency of this nutrient can result in dry skin.
Steer away from bad fats such as saturated fats from animal sources and trans-fats from highly processed foods, as they are deemed to have negative health effects in the long run.
Protein is responsible for the formation and repair of skin tissues and shedding off old skin.
Your body breaks down protein into building blocks called amino acids.
One of the uses of amino acids is to produce collagen and keratin.
Keratin and collagen are protective proteins that make up your skin, nails, and hair.
Vitamin B complex
A study has found that certain B vitamins can help your body produce new healthy skin cells, such as niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12).
Here are researched facts about certain vitamin Bs.
The research revealed that vitamin B3, or niacin, has shown the potential to treat certain skin conditions such as acne, atopic dermatitis, and rosacea.
Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid may also help reduce acne and skin inflammation.
Vitamin B9 or folic acid is also found to have the ability to improve signs of skin aging.
If one is B vitamin deficient, they may experience dermatological symptoms such as patchy red rash, fungal skin, nail infection, or seborrhoea.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a vitamin and, at the same time, an antioxidant that promotes collagen formation and assists in reversing free radical-induced oxidative damage that accelerates skin aging.
A study has also found that Vitamin C can help smoothen and moisturize your skin and inhibit melanogenesis, making it beneficial to treat skin hyperpigmentation conditions such as age spots.
Scurvy is a vitamin C deficiency disease that comes with skin fragility, impaired wound healing, bleeding gums, and corkscrew hairs.
Carotenoids (provitamin a) and retinol (preformed vitamin a) are two forms of vitamin A.
This fat-soluble vitamin helps promote and maintain the health of the skin’s epidermis and dermis.
It stimulates the production of new skin cells, supports the skin’s immune system, and promotes hydration by providing a natural moisturizing effect.
According to research, vitamin A deficiency can cause follicular hyperkeratosis or keratosis pilaris (KP), a condition wherein keratin is overproduced in the hair follicles. This causes rash-like bumps to form on your skin.
The provitamin A, called carotenoids, are precursors to vitamin A. It contains antioxidant properties that can fight free radicals.
Also known as tocopherol, vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps slow down skin aging caused by oxidative stress.
Vitamin E can effectively treat eczema and heal wounds with the combination of vitamin C and zinc.
Human studies are limited that support the association of vitamin E deficiency and skin health. However, in an in vivo study, vitamin E deficiency can cause skin ulceration in rats.
Selenium is a trace mineral that has shown anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties in humans. It aids certain antioxidants to protect your skin against UV rays.
People may only need a small amount of this mineral, but this nutrient should not be overlooked.
Zinc helps heal the skin after an injury and keeps the cell walls stable for cell division and growth.
Furthermore, the research found that zinc protects your skin against UV radiation, aids in the body’s immune and neuropsychiatric functions, and lowers your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Foods for Healthy Skin
Now you know the essential nutrients that are best for your skin! This time, let’s identify foods that contain these nutrients.
Note that no food has it all.
That’s why it is essential to remember that we must apply the principle of variety, balance, and moderation when it comes to diet.
Dark green leafy vegetables
Color your plate green with dark green leafy vegetables.
To ensure you reap the most out of your leafy greens, have a target consumption of at least five servings per day.
Green leafy vegetables are abundant in vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and minerals.
Examples of dark leafy greens are kale, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, mustard greens, dandelion greens, bok choy, collard greens, lettuce, cabbage, leeks, green onions, and many more.
Besides focusing on the leafy greens, don’t forget that other green vegetables are also good for the skin, such as artichokes, asparagus, beans, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, okra, peas, and more.
Yellow and orange vegetables
Make these veggies part of your diet as well!
Yellow and orange vegetables are rich in antioxidants, such as carotenoids.
Carotenoids are the reason for the yellow-orange color to these vegetables. These vegetables are also rich in vitamin C complex, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Yellow and orange vegetables include squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut, acorn, and yellow beets.
Ideally, fruits should always be part of your daily diet.
Fruits are dense sources of the vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, and antioxidants.
You can get most of them from fruits like oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, lemons, limes, kiwi, guava, papaya, mango, grapes, watermelon, and many more!
The recommended daily intake of fruits for adults is at least 1½ to 2 cups per day.
Fatty fish and other kinds of seafood
Examples of fatty fish are mackerel, salmon, herring, anchovies, tuna, eel, halibut, sardines, and more. They are excellent foods for healthy skin.
Fatty fishes are rich sources of the essential fatty acid called omega-3 fatty acids.
Besides these fishes, count mussels and oysters in.
These kinds of seafood are great sources of high-quality protein, vitamin E, and zinc.
The recommended weekly consumption for seafood is 8 ounces. As much as possible, include these fatty fishes as part of your diet.
Plant-based omega-3 rich foods
Aside from fatty fish, you can acquire omega-3, or good fats, from plant sources such as flaxseed oil, soy-based items, chia seeds, and canola oil.
Red or yellow bell peppers
Bell peppers are generally rich in beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.
With just 1 cup (149 grams) of chopped red bell pepper, you get 156% of the Daily Value for vitamin A.
You have almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, chestnuts, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, pine nuts, etc.
Nuts nourish your skin with protein, healthy fats, vitamins B complex, vitamin E, and zinc.
If you are looking for a healthy afternoon snack, have a handful or one-third cup of nuts instead.
Tomatoes are rich in ascorbic acid, lycopene, and beta carotene, which are all essential for maintaining your skin’s health.
A medium-sized tomato can provide about 28% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C.
If you are going to stop drinking coffee, you may opt for green tea.
Green tea contains antioxidants and catechins, which can help with skin roughness, thickness, moisture, and elasticity.
You may want to consider drinking green tea that is made with water rather than mixing it with milk.
A study claims that milk could reduce the effect of green tea’s antioxidative properties.
Just like coffee, you can enjoy this beverage either hot or cold.
Make your skin flexible and moisturized with avocados!
Avocado is another food that contains an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
You can reap the nutritious goodies of avocados in just a 100g single serving of it per day.
Grab the opportunity when the avocado season comes!
If you need an excuse to eat chocolate, you can say that it is for your skin once in a while.
Research has shown that cocoa from chocolate is a dense source of antioxidants.
With 20 grams of dark chocolate per day, your skin can withstand UV radiation up to 2x before it burns compared to chocolates with low antioxidant content.
Instead of focusing on specific foods for your skin, it is best to follow a healthy diet that promotes overall health.
What Else to Do?
Besides eating a healthy diet, you need to drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking to effectively boost your skin health.
Give your skin time to improve, as it can take months or even a year to see your results.
Achieve your dreams of having beautiful skin with good nutrition because healthy skin starts from within.
Feed your skin with nutritious foods, get a good amount of sleep, and drink enough water.
Note that balance, variety, and moderation is the key to optimum nutrition.
Pay more attention to taking care of your skin than covering it up with skin products that may even cause skin damage.
Remember that beauty is all about being comfortable in your own skin. Nourish skin from within to begin your healthy skin journey.
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