What should you be eating for more radiant, youthful, beautiful skin? The answers may surprise you. Here’s insight from a medical aesthetician 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 aesthetician with Renown Dermatology, Laser & Skin Care, walks us through which foods to eat and which to avoid for a healthy glow.
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 these 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 us, causing wrinkles, age spots, uneven skin tone and other negative effects.
Beautiful Skin Vitamins
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 its look and feel.
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 and fermented foods
• Vitamin E: Soybeans, canola, corn and other vegetable oils, spinach, turnips, chard, sunflower seeds, almonds and bell peppers
• 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 leading to a vibrant glow.
Drinking alcohol can cause enlarged blood vessels, burst capillaries, flushing, redness and angiomas (small, red moles). 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, an increase in wrinkles is a common response to lack of moisture. When cells are not fully hydrated by water (and water-rich foods), they cannot function properly. If you are not getting enough water, your skin turns 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.