Healthy and balanced meals are very important part of nourishing our skin. As part of the anti-aging process, diet and lifestyle plays a huge role. Poor nutrition can lead to premature aging of our skin, breakout and inflammation.
Here are some foods and nutrients for maintaining a healthy and glowing skin:
Protein supports the production of collagen which is important in making our skin elastic and smooth. Protein can be broken down into amino acid which is a building block for muscles, hormones and also supports our overall body function. Collagen synthesis requires non-essential amino acids. Having adequate protein intake in our diet supports collagen building and helps with healthier skin.
There are many researches showing topical retinoids helps with reduction in fine winkles, decreasing hyperpigmentation and increasing smoothness (1). Food sources of vitamin A (retinoid and carotenoids) also may help to prevent cell damage.
Food sources of vitamin A include carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, dairy and egg.
Vitamin C is a water soluble nutrient and is an important antioxidant. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can help to combat free radicles in our body and minimize cell damage. In addition, vitamin C also helps to synthesize collagen. Collagen is naturally occurring in our skin, and it provides strength and structure. Having adequate vitamin C food in our diet is important in helping us to have a healthy and glowing skin.
The food sources of vitamin C includes bell pepper, strawberries, orange, kiwi, tomatoes and etc.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble nutrient. It is another antioxidant. Vitamin E and Vitamin C they both help with lowering free radicals and protect us from cell damage. Vitamin E can also help to counteract UV damage.
Food sources of vitamin E includes almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin and etc.
5.Zinc and Selenium
Zinc and Selenium are minerals required by our body. Zinc may helps preventing cell damage, and promoting wound healing. Selenium also helps to protect cells from free radicals and reduce inflammation and skin infections. Oral and topical treatment with zinc and selenium contribute to protect skin from UV radiation.
Food sources of zinc includes oyster, beef, pumpkin seed, pork, lentils.
Food sources of selenium includes brazil nuts, fish like halibut, shrimp, meat like beef, chicken.
6,Essential Fatty Acid.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are important for healthy skin function and appearance. Omega 3 has anti-inflammatory property. Essential fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6) are important for improving skin barrier function and maintaining structural integrity.
Omega 6 is quite abundant in our diet, but Omega 3 is rare.
Get adequate omega 3 food such as having salmon, mackerel, herring, fatty fish.
Dry skin makes our skin looks dull and increases wrinkles over a long term period of time. Getting well hydrated and making water as your primary liquid intake benefit our skin.
Polyphenols are a type of phytochemical naturally occurring in plants. Most plant based food contains its unique polyphenols. Having a variety of plant based food and eating colorful vegetables and fruit are the key.
Green tea polyphenols is one of the examples as polyphenol.
It has antioxidant and anti-inflammation property. Some research shows it may help with minimizing UV radiation damage (2).
More long term research is needed to examine these nutrients and polyphenols. The research at this point is still quite limited. However, why not make a delicious matcha tea to be a nice refreshing afternoon treat as part of the the self care routine?
Finally, there is no single nutrient or food that can help us to have an optimal skin condition. Healthy eating as a whole is the key. Lifestyle changes such as managing stress, having adequate sleep, exercising are equally important as well!
Consult Elaine dietitian for customizing your diet and start healthy eating today!
1.Vitamin A and Skin Health. Oregon State University. Available at https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-A
2. Bioactive Compounds for Skin Health: A Review. Nutrients2021, 13(1), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010203