Eat Your Way to Beautiful Skin
Everyone wants beautiful healthy skin. Great skin is about using the right skincare products as well as what you put in your mouth. There's an important connection between what you eat and how you look. It is important to learn which foods help you look your best.
A balanced diet is an essential prescription for healthy and youthful, vibrant skin. The good news is that the foods that happen to be good for your skin are also good for your overall health.
Many people find that the appearance of aging skin — wrinkles, thickening,
discoloration, and decreased elasticity — is one of their biggest beauty
concerns. While genetics largely determines when your skin starts to show these
signs of aging, and the extent to which it shows them, environmental damage to
your skin, as well as damage you cause yourself through lifestyle choices, can
greatly accelerate this process.
Skin damage occurs as a result ofoxidation, a chemical process in which unstable molecules calledfree radicalssteal electrons from healthy cells. The most damaging oxidative stressors that we expose ourselves to are smoking and sunlight.
Aside from using the right skincare
products and staying away from
cigarettes and using sunscreen when you go out, the next best thing you can do
for your skin's health is to eat a diet rich inantioxidants. These are
nutrients that work to defend your body's cells — including skin cells —
against the damage of oxidative stress. You're probably familiar with some
antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and vitamin A (in the
form of beta-carotene). Others, which you may be less familiar with, are
collectively known asphytochemicals(there are hundreds of them), and they
are found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans.
To keep your skin well-protected and nourished, and to extend its youthful appearance, focus on the foods that are good sources of the following nutrients:
Vitamin C is involved in the production of collagen (which keeps skin firm) and protects cells from damage caused by free radicals. Scientific studies have found that when lab animals eat vitamin C — fortified food, their skin is better able to fight oxidative damage. It's important, then, to replenish your skin's vitamin C stores every day by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Good sources include bell peppers (red, green, and yellow), broccoli, cantaloupe, mangoes, oranges, pineapple, snow peas, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelon.
Vitamin E helps protect cell membranes and guards your skin against damage from the sun's UV radiation. Some research has suggested that vitamin E may work in combination with vitamin C to provide an extra degree of anti-aging skin protection. However, because recent studies have raised some questions about the safety of vitamin E supplements, this nutrient should come from your diet, not from high-dose pills. It's best to stick with food sources like wheat germ, fortifiedwhole-graincereals, nuts and seeds, olive oil, dark leafy greens like Swiss Chard, and spinach, as well as the small amount of vitamin E found in a multivitamin.
Bugs Bunny had it right when he ate carrots as Beta-carotene, another antioxidant that's critical for skin health, is converted to vitamin A in the body and is involved in the growth and repair of body tissues. It may also protect your skin against sun damage. In extremely high doses, however, pure vitamin A from supplements can be toxic, so be sure to avoid them unless a doctor has recommended them and is closely supervising you. Beta-carotene from foods like apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, red bell peppers, mangoes, pumpkin, and sweet potato is sufficient and entirely safe for your skin.
Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that helps protect the skin from sun damage; it also helps the skin maintain firmness and elasticity. Selenium obtained from food has been shown to reduce sun damage and even prevent some skin cancers in animals. Be sure to avoid selenium supplements, however. The Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial found that people with a high risk of nonmelanoma skin cancers who took selenium supplements actually had a 25 percent increased risk of squamous cell carcinomas. The best food sources for selenium are Brazil nuts (no more than 1 or 2 nuts a day because the selenium is so concentrated), tuna (canned, light), crab, oysters, whole-wheat pasta, lean beef, shrimp, whole-wheat bread, turkey, wheat germ, chicken breast, mushrooms, and eggs.
Omega–3 Fatty Acids
Although not classified as antioxidants, omega–3 fatty acids help maintain cell membranes so that they are effective barriers — allowing water and nutrients in but keeping toxins out. These healthy fats also reduce inflammation throughout the body, which may translate into fewer skin breakouts. Omega-3s also seem to offer the skin protection against sun damage. In a study of skin cancer, people who ate diets rich in fish oils and other omega-3 fats had a 29 percent lower risk of squamous cell skin cancer than those who got very little omega-3 fats from food. Good food sources include wild salmon, herring, mackerel (but not king), sardines, anchovies, flaxseed, walnuts, and soybeans.
To get the best skin possible; use natural skin care products, wear sunscreen, avoid cigarettes and second hand cigarette smoke, and eat for healthy skin.