Feed Your Skin – The Top Vital Nutrients for a Healthy, Glowing Complexion
Diet is extremely important to skin care. Housewives, as well as those working in the business world, often fall into the trap of skipping lunch or relying on snacks or `processed` sandwiches. Much easier to prepare, and much healthier, would be a hard-boiled egg and a tomato, a piece of cheese and an apple, or a mug of milk and a piece of fruit.
Do not forget to drink plenty of water, it is not fattening and it helps to flush out and clear the system. Many women like to begin the day with a little freshly squeezed or bottled but unsweetened lemon juice. Some beauty therapists suggest adding to this a spoonful of honey if you are spotty; others suggest drinking no less than eight glasses of water per day between meals.
“Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body’s internal needs, including its nutritional needs,” says Georgiana Donadio, PhD, DC, MSc, founder and director of the National Institute of Whole Health in Boston.
Now that we know how important it is, what nutrients does your skin need the most?
Vitamins C, E, A
Vitamin C is our front line at reducing damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals destroy collagen and elastin – these are fibers that support our skin structure -which in turn directly relates to how youthful our skin looks. Free radicals are caused by over-exposure to the sun, environmental toxins and pollution. When you combine Vitamin C and Vitamin E, you have an effective defense against sun over-exposure. Foods high in vitamin C include bell peppers (red and green), turnips, kale, parsley, collard greens, guava, and broccoli.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which reduces the effect of sun damage on the skin. When you combine Vitamin E with Vitamin A, E is particularly effective at helping to prevent certain cancers of the skin. Vitamin E is also known to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Oils of Wheat germ, safflower and sunflower, almonds, green spinach, peaches, sunflower seeds, prunes, tomatoes, asparagus, cabbage, and avocados are all excellent food sources of Vitamin E.
Vitamin A supports and assists proper skin repair and maintenance. If you are deficient in Vitamin A, this can result in a dry and flaking complexion. Food sources of Vitamin A include liver (liver is also a major provider of iron), carrots, chili peppers, dandelion, collard greens, apricots, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe.
Selenium is another antioxidant, but this time a mineral, which is directly responsible for elasticity of tissue. Selenium also helps prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals with the added benefit of being connected to reducing your risk of breast cancer. This amazing mineral may also play a crucial role in skin cancer prevention due to the fact that it can protect your skin from damage caused by excessive ultraviolet light.
Sources of selenium in the diet include wheat germ, seafood (tuna and salmon), fresh garlic, Brazil nuts, rice (brown), eggs, and bread (whole-wheat). Eating onlyt 3-4 Brazil nuts a day will provide adequate selenium intake for most.
Zinc is a mineral which is very important to maintaining healthy skin – this is especially true for those suffering with acne as acne itself may be a symptom of a deficiency of zinc. Zinc’s effect on the skin includes controlling oil production in the skin as well as helping to control some of the hormones that trigger acne breakouts. Zinc is a crucial mineral for healthy immune function in addition to being necessary for healthy vision, taste and smell. Zinc-rich foods include pumpkin (the seeds), fresh oysters, ginger, eggs, Brazil nuts, oats, and pecans.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Skin which is inflamed, dry or suffers with frequent episodes of acne, blackheads and/or whiteheads can be greatly benefited by an increase in Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) intake – especially the omega-3‘s. EFAs have a direct impact for the repair of skin, the skin’s moisture content and tissue flexibility. Due to the fact our bodies cannot product EFAs, these essential fatty acids must be obtained via diet. Sources of EFAs include include chia seeds, flax seeds and flax seed oil, and, for non-vegetarians, wild-harvested fish oils.
Whenever possible, it is best to get necessary nutrients from whole food sources as these are more pure, complete and many times more effective – without the risk of being harmed by ingesting excessive amounts of a vitamin or mineral. However for many, lifestyle or other circumstances make maintaining a perfectly balanced nutritional diet a near-impossibility. For these, a high-quality vitamin and mineral supplement is suggested.
Please be sure to ask questions and read labels. Also keep in mind that it is highly doubtful you will find a supplement which has what it says it has and does what it is supposed to do on the shelf of a department store or supermarket! The old adage “You get what you pay for” seems to be never so true as it is in the arena of department store health and beauty items.
About the author
Dee Braun, a single mom of 6 kids, is a Certified Aromatherapist, Certified Dr. of Reflexology and a natural health practitioner. You can visit her at Health or High Water – http://www.healthorhighwater.com/ – where you can find helpful information on ways to improve your health using natural and effective nutritional tactics to help battle the ravages of time, poor nutrition, toxins and stress as well as address many common health ailments and conditions.
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