But this got me thinking about the connection between skin and nutrition, because we know there is one. Yes, it is so important to find the right products that work for your own skin, but we can’t ignore the phrase, “we are what we eat.” It has so much truth to it. If you want healthy, glow-y skin you have to eat right! And a balanced diet is the beginning.
So how and what can we eat to shine? Start with these tips:
Think about variety:
I preach to my clients day in and day out to eat colors. My famous line is to have at least three colors at each meal. But besides making your plate look pretty with this rainbow of colors each day, these colorful foods add a necessary variety of vitamins and minerals to our diets. Vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, E, selenium and zinc all play an especially important role in skin health. In addition to fruits and veggies make sure you get sufficient amounts of whole grains and lean proteins and switch up the sources of where they come from.
Where to find these important vitamins and minerals?
Vitamin A: Carrots, Sweet Potato, Squash, Spinach, Cantaloupe, Pumpkin
Why is it important? Growth and maintenance of epithelial tissue of the skin depends on vitamin A.
Vitamin C: Oranges, Grapefruits, Kiwi, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Broccoli
Why? Our bodies and skin need Vitamin C to make collagen. Once in the body, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. (Free radicals include: the sun, cigarette smoke, pollution, etc.)
Vitamin E: Nuts (almonds/peanuts/hazelnuts), Sunflower Seeds, Green Leafy Veggies, Avocado
Why? Just like Vitamin C, Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in our bodies and is essential for maintaining healthy skin.
Selenium: Tuna, Seafood, Meat, Poultry, Eggs, Breads/Grains, Dairy
Why? Selenium can help preserve the elastin in our skin which helps keep skin smooth and tight.
Zinc: Oysters, Pumpkin Seeds, Poultry, Red Meats, Eggs, Whole Grains
Why? Zinc helps our immune system overall stay healthy. Zinc helps repair damaged tissue and heal wounds.
You might have noticed a little bit of a theme and read the word antioxidant a few times in this section. This is on purpose. Antioxidants or phytochemicals fight off free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals when inside our bodies can cause damage to the cell walls and the genetic material within cells. Therefore the antioxidants discussed above are the protectors of the cells to keep the free radicals away. As mentioned, free radicals damage cells in the bodies, including skin cells, that is why it is so important to eat our antioxidant rich foods to protect our skin! In addition to all the foods mentioned above, be sure to get adequate amounts of blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, tomatoes, kale and cherries in your diet!
Incorporate your healthy fats:
Essential fatty acids (like we talked about in the fat facts post) can help reduce inflammation and help keep water and nutrients inside our bodies. To keep healthy skin we need to be sure we are eating our omega-3 fatty acids. (Flax, walnuts, salmon, mackerel, halibut, hemp hearts to name a few)
Water, water, water and more water. Hydrated skin equals happy skin and also healthy skin. Need more of a reason to drink it? Water helps our body rid itself of toxins and waste products. Dehydration can make skin look dry and more wrinkled. Drink up!
Up your whole grains:
Prevent the possibility of inflammation from the intake of refined, “white,” grains. Make your grain choices whole grains. Plus, the nutrients discussed above and the fiber content of the whole grains is a bonus!
So, what are the secrets to healthy skin? In summary we need to eat right. We need a diet that includes a variety of colors, whole grains and healthy, lean proteins. In addition to that we must drink plenty of water and also be sure to get enough sleep. And hey lets throw in regular exercise too J
Once you have all of that in check, if you want a little extra punch to pack for perfect skin, consider checking out my new business venture and all the amazing products offered!
If you have questions on the nutrition or topical aspects of skin health PLEASE ask.
Oh and one last thing, want to incorporate many of those amazingly healthy and necessary nutrients above in one simple sauce? Try this creamy and healthy pesto sauce out tonight:
3 oz Plain Greek Yogurt
Large handful Baby Kale (1 cup)
Large Handful Basil Leaves
3 sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
Garlic (your preference)
1 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
1 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
Put all ingredients in the food processor and blend away! Use this sauce on top of lean protein for a yummy meal with amazing skin benefits!
And as always be sure to follow #happyslimhealthy for new and delicious meal ideas like this one on insta-gram!
- Jenna Ariel Stock, RD