What should you be eating for more radiant, youthful, beautiful skin? The answers may surprise you. Here’s insight from a medical esthetician about what to eat, and what to avoid.
Perhaps nowhere is the common refrain “You are what you eat” more clearly reflected than in your skin. The body’s largest organ — your skin — basically tells a tale of the foods you feed your body. So do more than apply the right creams and serums: Feed it the right foods! Here, Heidi Nicol, medical esthetician with Renown Dermatology, Laser & Skin Care, walks us through which foods to eat and which to avoid for healthier, glowing skin.
Start with Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which give them their brilliant colors. Eating a wide array of colorful fruits and vegetables will provide the necessary protection against cellular oxidation and the production of cancer cells.
When you consume sugary food, the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins like collagen and elastin fibers. This process, called glycation, forms harmful new molecules. This is important to note because collagen and elastin fibers keep skin firm and elastic. Once damaged, those fibers become hard, brittle and dry.
What does this mean for your skin? This glycation process can actually age our skin, causing wrinkles, age spots, uneven skin tone and other negative effects to your skin.
Get Your Vitamins In
A nutritious diet is essential to the maintenance of overall health and radiant skin. Consuming certain vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds is one of the best ways to improve the look and feel of your skin.
Here are several universally-recognized essentials and a few of their common sources:
• Vitamin A: Cod liver oil, cream, butter and egg yolks
• Zinc: Liver, red meat, seafood, shellfish and pumpkin seeds
• Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, bell peppers, dark leafy greens and broccoli
• Omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, tuna, walnuts, olive oil and flax seeds
• Biotin: Egg yolks, liver, swiss chard, almonds and walnuts
• Selenium: Chicken, beef, pork, cheese, sunflower seeds, brown rice, tuna and spinach
• Silica: Leeks, green beans, garbanzo beans, strawberries, cucumber, mango and celery
• Niacin: Red meat, poultry, tuna, salmon, seeds, milk, dark leafy vegetables, coffee and tea
• Vitamin K12: Butter, egg yolks, liver, sauerkraut and cheese
• Probiotics: Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi
• Vitamin E: Soybeans, canola, corn and other vegetable oils, spinach, turnips, chard, sunflower seeds, almonds and bell peppers
• Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): Broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, yogurt and whole wheat
A nutrient-rich diet with these vitamins, minerals and other compounds will be a powerful tool in treating skin problems and will lead to vibrant, glowing skin.
Drinking alcohol can cause enlarged blood vessels, burst capillaries, flushing, rosacea and angiomas. In addition, alcohol dehydrates your body, which makes skin appear less plump and fresh.
Alcohol also breaks down the immune system, and the extra sugar in alcohol causes system inflammation, which contributes to cell damage and skin aging. To help combat some of these effects, be sure to alternate alcoholic drinks with water, which will help prevent you from getting too dehydrated.
Drink Plenty of Water
Speaking of water, the common pathway to the appearance of aging and an increase in wrinkles is a loss of cellular hydration. When cells are not fully hydrated by water and water-rich foods, they cannot function properly. When the skin is not getting sufficient amounts of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning the skin dry, tight and flaky, and lines and wrinkles become more pronounced. Water aids in circulation, digestion, absorption and excretion. Proper water intake will lead to a radiant, healthy, younger looking complexion.