You most likely have heard that you are what you eat, but did you know that same principle may apply to skin health, too? It’s true. Your diet might have a lot to do with the condition of your skin, and vitamins and antioxidants as well as other nutrients, can play major roles in skin health.
Karen E. Burke, Ph.D. of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s dermatology department says that vitamins C and E as well as selenium can support the skin’s natural repair systems against free radical damage. It’s a good thing there are yummy foods that deliver these skin-nourishing nutrients.
Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, red peppers and broccoli. Blueberries, for example, are packed with antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, are high in vitamin C and manganese, and are a good source of fiber and vitamin E. Tasty sources of vitamin E include whole grains and nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts. You can get selenium from cod, turkey, and Brazil nuts.
Vitamin A is also important for skin because, like vitamins C and E, it acts as a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin A can be found in dark orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash as well as dark green veggies such as broccoli, spinach and kale.
Don’t forget about B vitamins. They’re essential for body cell health—including the skin cells. A vitamin B deficiency can lead to itchy, dry skin, so it’s important to get enough foods rich in the B vitamins including fish, eggs, whole milk, chicken and whole grains.
Moving on to omega-3s…Omega-3s help produce and preserve the skin's natural oil barrier which is essential to keeping skin hydrated, plumper, and younger looking. Foods high in omega-3s to include in your skin-healthy diet are salmon, flaxseeds, nuts and high omega-3 eggs.
Here’s some deliciously good news for chocolate lovers: chocolate might even help improve your skin. A German study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who drank hot cocoa with high flavonoid concentration had smoother and softer skin than those who drank cocoa with a lower flavonoid concentration.
Additionally, the natural antioxidant coenzyme Q10 can nurture skin cell growth and can protect the skin from free radical damage. In fact, in vitro studies indicate that CoQ10 can protect the skin and prevent wrinkles and other types of damage associated with UV exposure. Likewise, researchers in Italy conducted animal studies and found that CoQ10 supported the skin’s antioxidant defenses and its natural healing process.
Japanese researchers also joined the ranks of CoQ10 proponents. They noted that supplementation with CoQ10 increased CoQ10 levels in the serum and skin of mice—a suggestion that CoQ10 supplementation may support younger-looking and more energized skin. In short, the benefits of CoQ10 on the skin can help keep it firm and toned, resulting in that healthy glow.
Unfortunately, CoQ10 levels generally drop as we age, adding to skin’s aging process. You can get more CoQ10, however, from an array of foods such as sardines, mackerel, heart, liver, beef, lamb, eggs, spinach, broccoli, peanuts, wheat germ and whole grains.
What a delicious way to get such glowing benefits!