(BeWellBuzz) Even in the midst of harsh environmental factors, did you know that you can have healthy, damage-resistant skin? The secret is inside you. Equip your body with essential nutrients, and your body will equip you with the strength to live wildly.
It’s not to say that good nutrition makes our skin indestructible, but that without it, the external treatments will prove futile. Once a “signal” manifests on the outside, damage or imbalance has likely been established on the inside. Often our skin is communicating vital information about how things are going beneath the surface. On some level, a glowing complexion is part of a glowing report.
Be nourished inside, look nourished.
Be healthy inside, look healthy.
Be beautiful inside, look beautiful.
Vital Skin Nutrients: Antioxidants, Vitamins and Minerals
Foods rich in antioxidants are your partners when it comes to beautiful skin. Found richly in almonds, avocados, fatty fishes and eggs, fruits, leafy greens and my favorite energy food, broccoli, antioxidants prevent cell damage by guarding them from free radicals. A free radical is a molecule that has lost one of two paired electrons, and desperately seeks any cell that will provide it. When it finds one, it steals the electron from that cell. By doing this, free radicals don’t actually kill cells but damage them, thus damaging the cell’s DNA and causing reproduction of mutated cells. These cause skin mutations such as dry patches, scars or blemishes. Antioxidants hunt free radicals to either destroy them or restore them to wholeness by providing the missing electron so that only healthy cells will multiply.
1. Vitamin A and its precursor Beta Carotene help repair damaged tissue such as from sunburn or cuts. Dry flaky or scarred (unhealed) skin can be a symptom of Vitamin A deficiency.
Eat this! Food sources of Vitamin A are exclusively animal products such as liver, eggs, milk and cheese. For beta carotene enjoy sweet potatoes with the peel, kale, carrots, avocados, mustard greens, spinach, and cantaloupe; with spices paprika, red pepper, cayenne, and chili pepper.
2. Vitamin C not only works faster than other antioxidants in neutralizing free radicals, but also reverses DNA damage and stimulates the body’s production of collagen, a necessary protein for skin elasticity.
Eat this! Enjoy plant sources such as red peppers, chili peppers, parsley, and broccoli; cloves and clove oil; papayas, strawberries, oranges, lemons, garlic, potatoes and avocados. Animal sources rich in Vitamin C include liver and oysters.
3. Vitamin E is mostly noted for its antioxidant work in the body when taken internally. When taken together with Vitamin C, scientists have documented increased photoprotection from UV light, as opposed to taking either alone. Vitamin E helps skin retain moisture and accelerates skin cell regeneration, thus helping to heal or prevent scarring.
**Note: coconut oil contains no Vitamin A and some Vitamin E; however, it’s considered a powerful “nutrient booster” along with avocado as healthy fats that enable the body to absorb fat soluble vitamins, including Vitamins A & E.
4. The Entire B Vitamin Complex is key because all B vitamins are necessary for efficient digestion; thus effecting the prevention of free radicals, circulation/distribution of nutrients and the production of energy. Vitamin B2 has antioxidant qualities. Deficiencies may manifest as cracked lips, eczema, acne, fungus infections e.g. athlete’s foot, oily skin and shingles.
Eat this! Almonds; whole grains, lentils and beans; broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce, avocados, bananas, strawberries and raisins; and baked goods containing yeast. Animal sources include eggs, dairy, fish, shellfish, pork, poultry and beef.
5. Selenium is a key mineral along with copper shown to help thwart damage from sunburn, and is considered a skin cancer preventative.
Eat this! Selenium content in grains and veggies depends upon the amount found in the soil where harvested. Enjoy sunflower seeds, whole grains, mushrooms, garlic and onions. Animal sources include fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey, eggs and liver.
6. Zinc controls oil production of the skin. Acne may be a symptom of zinc deficiency.
Eat this! Plant sources include wheat germ, almonds and almond butter, cashews, pumpkin seeds, oats, mushrooms, kidney beans, peas, raw dark chocolate and raw cacao powder. Animal foods are considered the best sources of zinc. Venison, oysters, scallops, grass-fed beef, lamb and turkey, with dark portions having higher content; along with eggs, lobster, flounder and yogurt.
7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are powerful antioxidants, and also happen to be crucial to skin hydration. When the body is well hydrated from water, the fatty acids then provide the impenetrable wall that holds water in the cell. Fatty acids also protect skin cells from environmental toxins. A deficiency of Omega-3s causes the body to produce depleted sebum (skin oil), which irritates the skin. Skin reactions may be dry flakiness or inflammation in the form of white and blackheads, breakouts, severe acne, psoriasis or eczema.
Eat this! Healthy vegetarian fats include almonds, walnuts, cashews, cloves, avocados, olives, flax seeds, hemp seeds and all of their respective butters or oils; along with beans, ground oregano and winter squash. Best animal foods are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna, as well as grass-fed beef.