Nutrition has a huge impact not only on how much muscle and body fat we have, but also on how our skin looks. Skin acts as a natural barrier between the internal and external environment and plays an important role in vital biological functions such as protection from microbes, chemicals and UV rays.
Your diet can not only help your skin stand up to the environment, it can also help in healing, rejuvenation and decreasing the effects of the aging process. While there are many foods that promote healthy, glowing skin, we must first remember that a diet low in sugar, high in protein and rich in whole food sources is extremely important.
High carbohydrate diets can cause blood sugar imbalances, inflammation and the breakdown of collagen causing sagging skin, cellulite and wrinkles! Some studies have even shown that high blood sugar levels can reduce the skin protecting antioxidants that leave you more susceptible to sun damage. So, be sure to reduce sugar in your diet, eat complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber, eat protein with every meal and be sure to get a moderate amount of good for you fats too. Now that we have taken care of that, try these eight skin healthy foods:
You probably already know that Avocados are a great source of good for you fat. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which can help keep the skin moisturized. They are also a great source of biotin and vitamin E, which can help prevent dry skin as well as brittle hair and nails. Avocados have also been shown to reduce inflammatory response. Add a slice of avocado to your morning omelet or as a fat source in your salad.
Green Tea is full of antioxidants in the form of polyphenols, which can help protect the skin from free radical damage caused by the environment or even UV rays from the sun. Green tea has been shown to also assist in skin rejuvenation, including synthesis of skin cells. Green tea can act as an antibacterial agent, which can help improve skin complexion and keep oily skin under control. Replace your daily cup of java with a cup of green tea!
Tomatoes are full of the antioxidants lycopene and carotenoids, which help slow down cellular damage caused from free radicals. Research found that lycopene from tomato paste helped prevent sunburn when combined with the healthy fat olive oil. Another study found that just 10 mg per day also helped prevent sunburn. Combined, these nutrients can reduce cellular skin damage. Throw a few cherry tomatoes into your next salad!
Any citrus fruit is a source of vitamin C, which is an extremely important vitamin when it comes to collagen production. In fact, vitamin C plays a role in synthesis of collagen at almost every step in the production process. Collagen is a structural protein of the skin consisting of mostly two amino acids—glycine and hydroxyproline. The presence of vitamin C can induce synthesis of collagen, so making sure you get plenty of this vitamin in your diet is important! Just ½ a grapefruit provides 45 mg of Vitamin C and only 9 g of carbohydrates.
Eggs are a complete source of protein, which is necessary for retaining the integrity of the skin. Protein provides amino acids that help speed the repair and regeneration of skin cells and collagen. Amino acids are also needed for the production of Keratin a tough protein that is a major component of hair and nails. Eggs are also a source of biotin, particularly the yolk. This vitamin, also known as vitamin B7, helps skin retian moisture and with the production of healthy skin and nails. Add a whole egg to your morning egg whites!
This green veggie is related to the broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprout family. Kale contains an assortment of good for you skin-nurturing vitamins including Vitamin C, E and beta-carotene, which is a source of Vitamin A. Beta-carotene is a form of carotenoid that can help with moisturizing and healing the skin. Kale provides 681 mcg or 52% of the recommended daily value! It also provides anti-oxidant protecting lutein and zeaxanthin! Kale is a leafy green vegetable that can be used in replace of spinach in salad.
Walnuts offer up a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly if you are not a fish fan. Unlike most nuts, which are high in monounsaturated fats, walnuts are comprised of mostly polyunsaturated fats or omega-3s. Walnuts also boost the highest total level of antioxidants compared to other nuts. Walnuts are rich source of omega-3s, which can help keep skin moisturized and looking its best. Walnuts also boast high levels of beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin E. Add a few walnuts to your morning oats or on top of your salad.
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