Many people spend a lot of time and money slathering on creams and using skincare products to improve their skin, but beautiful skin begins with a healthy diet.
Like other organs in your body, your skin needs nourishment to be at its best too. Foods get digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body can use to build healthy skin. If you crash diet or eat highly processed foods, your skin won’t be as strong and supple as it could be.
What To Increase In Your Diet….
Protein is essential for cellular repair and because we shed so many skin cells each day, a diet filled with healthy protein ensures that we replenish what we’ve lost and keep the cells we have well fed.
If you don’t eat enough protein, you are depriving your skin of the amino acids that go into making collagen (which makes your skin strong) and elastic tissue (which makes it supple).
However, all proteins are not created equal: reduce intake of fatty red meat and processed meats like sausage in favor of eggs, poultry, fish, lean red meat, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Zinc is involved in wound healing and the formation of new collagen – the spongy network of fibers that keeps our skin looking plump and wrinkle-free. It also plays an important role in minimizing the inflammation that causes acne. While it is available in supplement form, there are plenty of good food sources of zinc; legumes ( lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, soybeans, peanuts, alfalfa, clover), nuts, seeds, oatmeal and poultry.
Vitamin C is also essential for the formation of collagen. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, red peppers, dark green leafy greens (like kale), tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries and kiwis. Tomatoes are good for helping reduce sun damage because they’re high in the antioxidant, lycopene, which helps fight free radicals.
The antioxidant is most easily absorbed when the tomatoes have been cooked which releases it from the plant cells. It’s also easier for your body to absorb it if you eat the tomatoes along with some healthy fats like avocado or olive oil.
The amount of lycopene varies depending on the type of tomato and its ripeness. In general, the redder the tomato, the more lycopene it has. Picking green and yellow vegetables work similarly, the darker and brighter the color, the more nutrients.
Fat: Not every fat is bad for you! Monounsaturated fats and essential fatty acids help to keep skin moisturized from the inside out by absorbing fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Goods sources of these fats include extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil, avocados, raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds. Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, as well as ground flaxseeds and walnuts are rich sources too.
Antioxidants: These are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage by free radicals. Glutathione is the mother of all antioxidants and it is produced naturally by our body. However, toxins from poor diet, pollution, medications, stress, trauma, aging, infections and radiation all deplete your glutathione.
The good news is that you can boost your glutathione levels through your diet. Fruits and vegetables high in glutathione include broccoli, avocado, okra, spinach, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, mustard greens, cabbage, asparagus, grapefruit, apples, oranges, and cherries (though there are many more).
Despite the benefits of the above mentioned, you should always strive for a balanced diet. Overdoing it on fruits and vegetables can create problems for your digestive system if you do not also get enough dietary protein.
Other common sources of antioxidants are vitamins (A, C, E). There’s a catch! most of us think of fruits and vegetables as the only antioxidant sources, but surprisingly, herbs and spices pack the most punch. Turmeric, Onions and garlic are great sources.