Nutrition for Healthy Skin

Your skin is a powerful barometer of the internal status of your body, and can reveal much about your overall health. Common skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis are two examples of conditions that are often triggered or aggravated by internal causes, such as food sensitivities, toxins, and stress. Optimizing your health by eating a whole foods diet that is naturally rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients can help to promote radiant skin.

Eating a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts & seeds, legumes, high quality proteins and healthy fats provide the body with a broad range of protective nutrients. If possible, it is best to eat organic foods that are free of additives such as preservatives, food dyes, flavorings, solvents, and other harmful substances. If you are experiencing a skin concern, it is recommended that you avoid foods that could be bothersome to your symptoms, such as dairy, corn, wheat, gluten, eggs, and soy.

Some of my favorite skin superfoods include blueberries, wild salmon, spinach, nuts and seeds, tomatoes, kiwis, dark chocolate, lentils, sweet potatoes, and pomegranate seeds. Here is a list of key skin nutrients along with recommended food sources:

Vitamin A and beta carotene – necessary for new cell growth, essential for mucous membranes that line your mouth, throat, and stomach; found in red, yellow, green and orange fruits and vegetables; the body converts beta carotene into vitamin A as needed. Food sources of vitamin A include liver, whole milk, whole eggs, cheddar cheese; food sources of beta carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro, fresh thyme, cantaloupe, romaine lettuce and broccoli.

Vitamin C – supports wound healing, protects against bruising, collagen repair, gum health, and connective tissue repair; food sources include kiwi, Brussels sprouts parsley, broccoli, bell pepper, strawberries, oranges, lemon juice, papaya, cauliflower, kale, and mustard greens.

Zinc – aids in wound healing tissue and prevents scarring; food sources include crimini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and spinach.

Vitamin D – promotes the healthy development of immature skin cells as they journey from the lower epidermis to the outer layers. It also helps slow cell division (good for cancer prevention and psoriasis); food sources include salmon, eggs, milk, mushrooms, and sardines.

Essential fatty acids (omega 3 (EPA/ DHA) and omega 6 (GLA)) – beneficial in inflammatory conditions; keeps skin moist, smooth, and supple; food sources of omega 3s include flax seeds, cold water fish (salmon, halibut, tuna, mackerel, trout, sardines, herring), and walnuts; omega 6 sources include borage oil, evening primrose, and black currant seed oil.

Selenium – powerful antioxidant that is essential for the integrity of our skin; depleted in soil, precursor to the antioxidant glutathione; food sources include Brazil nuts, eggs, garlic, whole grains, button mushrooms, cod, shrimp, tuna, halibut, and mustard seeds.

Vitamin E – prevents free radical damage to the fats in the cell membrane, vital for tissue repair, wound healing, and scar formation; food sources include sunflower seeds, spinach, chard, turnip greens, wheat germ, mustard greens, cayenne pepper, almonds, sunflower seeds, asparagus, and bell peppers.

Probiotics – beneficial bacteria that live in the intestines and other mucous membranes; important components of the immune and digestive system; manufacture vitamins, increase nutrient absorption and protect mucous membranes; necessary after antibiotic therapy; found in fermented foods such as kombucha, yogurt, miso, tempeh, and sauerkraut.

Article written by Margo Gladding, MS, CNS, LDN for Ellicott City Pharmacy.

Feb 27, 2012 | Category: Health, Nutrtion | Comments: none | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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