Get Glowing | 6 Foods To Nourish Your Skin

by Natalie on June 5, 2014

 

food good for skin

1. Spinach

Spinach will help your skin glow because it’s high in vitamin A and vitamin E. We will get to vitamin E later on in the post, for now lets talk about vitamin A. Getting adequate vitamin A is absolutely essential for skin health! You may have noticed that many skin creams or acne medications contain derivatives of vitamin A. This just goes to show how much of an impact vitamin A can have on skin. Rough, dry skin can be a sign of vitamin A deficiency.

My favorite way to eat spinach is sautéed in olive oil and garlic with a splash of lemon. I love having this side with any meat or fish meal.

2. Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are one of the richest food sources of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is crucial for skin health because it regulates the production of collagen, the protein at the base of our skin structure (aka helps keep our skin supple and wrinkle free). Scientific studies have even found that higher intakes of vitamin C from the diet were associated with better skin appearance, and a noticeable decrease in wrinkling. Vitamin C also helps protect the skin from UV damage, and can help repair skin that has already been damaged.

Vitamin C degrades when in contact with light, heat, and air, so you’ll get the most out of eating raw bell peppers. I love to use bell peppers as dippers for hummus and guacamole.

3. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamin E. As a potent antioxidant, vitamin E helps protect skin from UV damage, and other toxins that come in contact with the skin. Vitamin E is essential for maintenance of healthy skin.

Sunflower seeds are awesome on salads – especially when lightly toasted. They are also good sprinkled on yogurt.

4. Salmon

Salmon is on the list because it’s an excellent source of omega-3’s – one type of essential fat that we hardly get enough of. Skin cells are actually made up essential fats, so it’s extremely important that you include them in your diet. A tell-tale sign of essential fatty acid deficiency is dry, flaky, itchy skin. Omega-3’s are critical to your skin’s function and appearance. Intake of omega-3’s can have a profound effect on your skin’s appearance.

Avoid farmed salmon. It does not have high levels of omega-3 fats. Your best bet is wild salmon from Alaska. My favorite way to enjoy salmon is quite simple. I like to roast it in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes. A good amount to aim for is 3-4 ounces, 2 times per week.

If you don’t like salmon, and don’t eat much fish or seafood, I would definitely look into a fish oil supplement.

5. Berries

Berries contain powerful phytochemicals known as the flavonoids. Phytochemicals aren’t really nutrients, they’re compounds produced by plants that have beneficial effects when consumed. In the case of your skin, the flavonoids help protect against UV damage. Flavonoids have so many health benefits besides helping your skin look beautiful – you’d be crazy not to eat them!

6. Beef

Beef is one of the richest sources of zinc. About 6% of total body zinc is found in our skin. Zinc helps builds the structure of our skin cells, and protects against damage from UV rays. Zinc deficiency results in skin abnormalities and decreased hair and nail growth.

Beef has definitely gotten a bad over the past decades, and sometimes rightfully so. High quality beef actually has some redeeming health qualities. When shopping, it’s important to select 100% grass-fed beef, organic too, if you can find it. The fats produced in grass-fed beef, are healthier than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is also lower in cholesterol, and higher in vitamins and antioxidants than grain-fed beef.

If you’re worried about eating too much red meat, a good amount to aim for is less than 18 ounces per week. This amount can be safely eaten without raising cancer risk.

Other Lifestyle Factors to Improve Skin Appearance

  • Adequate rest. Im not a sleep expert, but I’ve read that 8 to 9 hours is important for most people.
  • Hydration. Make sure you are drinking enough water.
  • Sunlight. Seems counterintuitive, I know. Too much UV exposure can be damaging to the skin, but avoiding it all together is not good either. Vitamin D is created when skin is exposed to UV light, and as it turns out, vitamin D is a major contributor to skin metabolism and growth. It is not uncommon to be deficient in Vitamin D, and so its smart to get your vitamin D levels tested.
  • It’s so obvious, but I can’t complete this post without saying it. Smoking makes skin look awful! Excess caffeine and alcohol also make skin look dull.

Which food and lifestyle recommendations will you incorporate to improve your skin? Leave a comment below!

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