Given that skin cells are one of the body’s most frequently replaced cells, it is not surprising that a healthy diet means healthy skin. More specifically, there are a number of key nutrients including Vitamins A, C and E, zinc, long chain unsaturated fats as well as amino acids which are found in protein rich foods that are directly involved in building new skin cells which can be targeted in the diet if you are looking to improve the quality and look of your skin.
In general, a diet that contains plenty of nutrient rich foods including fish, lean red meat and lots of brightly coloured fresh fruits and vegetables will generally supply all these key nutrients and when coupled with the right amounts of fluid in the diet should result in healthy, glowing skin. Unfortunately busy lifestyles can mean that some of these nutrients are left lacking and for this reason dietary supplements may be of help to ensure busy people are still getting all the goodies they need for glowing skin.
If your skin is looking a little lacklustre, the first thing to do is check your intake of the key Vitamins involved in skin cell formation – Vitamins A, E and C. Simply aiming to include 1-2 serves of red, orange or yellow vegetables or fruit in your diet on a daily basis will ensure you are getting enough Vitamin C and beta carotene, the precursor to Vitamin A while a handful of nuts, walnuts and brazil nuts in particular will bump up your intake of Vitamin E. These vitamins are not only directly involved in skin cell formation but they also act as antioxidants, helping to prevent existing cells from damage. Taking a multivitamin such as BSc Multi VMA will also give you a great daily dose of these nutrients should you find yourself struggling to eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis.
Next, make sure that you are getting enough long chain unsaturated fats. These fats, which are found primarily in oily fish such as salmon and tuna as well as in walnuts and grain based breads and cereals have a key role within the membrane or wall of a skin cell. Both the flexibility of the skin as well as its moisture content is influenced by the essential fats in our diet, which can be low if individuals are following a very low fat diet. Aim to eat oily fish at least three times each week and grab a handful of nuts as protein and good fat rich snack once a day to bump up your intake of good fats.
Finally, if you find that your skin is not looking its best, make sure you are including enough protein rich foods in your diet. Protein rich foods including lean red meat, seafood and eggs not only offer essential proteins the body needs to build all issues, but they are also excellent sources of zinc which is involved in new skin cell production as it helps Vitamin A to be released from the liver. Ideally we need to consume zinc rich foods every single day.
Superfoods for the skin.
The rich, bright colour and texture of beetroot give you some idea of how chock full of nutrition beetroot is. Beetroot contains a number of extremely powerful antioxidants known to support cell health and with minimal calories per serve, is a daily must include in your diet. Roast and add to salads, juice for a tasty mixed vegetable juice or grate and keep handy as an addition to sandwiches, crackers, dips and pates.
Quite possible the dietitian’s choice of super vegetable; broccoli contains large amounts of a number of powerful antioxidants as well as significant amounts of fibre, Vitamin C and beta carotene – so add this one into your trolley whenever you can.
While all nuts have a number of health benefits, the unique thing about walnuts is that they are the nuts richest in long chain polyunsaturated fats. Just 30g of walnuts each day again helps to optimise cell wall composition, which in turn is linked to healthy, soft skin.
Atlantic salmon is one of the richest natural sources of the powerful omega 3 fats; the health benefits of which include reduced triglycerides, blood pressure and inflammatory processes in the body. Aim for at least 2 serves of fresh salmon every week and you will be giving your body a powerful omega 3 boost.
Brightly coloured berries including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries contain some of the highest known amounts of antioxidants and are also exceptionally low in kilojoules, which means you can literally enjoy them till your heart’s content.
Sample Skin Superfood Daily Food Plan
Breakfast – Natural Greek yoghurt with oats and berries
Snack – Green tea with an orange and handful of nuts
Lunch – Rocket, beetroot and walnut salad with lean lamb or chicken
Snack – Low fat hommus with capsicum and carrot
Dinner – Grilled salmon with stir fried Asian Greens
Dessert – 2 squares dark chocolate
For more on nutrition and skincare, see my work with Simple Skincare here.