Glowing, dewy skin is what most of us aspire to, especially in the summer. But with the change of season, there is usually a change in your skin, too. Your skin is your largest living organ and it relies on vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as proteins, glucose and fats, to build a strong barrier against outside toxins and fend off damage from environmental assaults.
Using natural products and moisturizing regularly are helpful, but your skincare routine is only half the battle. While research on nutrition and skin health is in the early stages, scientists are learning that what you eat can help prevent, or at least reduce, age-related wrinkles and fine lines, sun-related skin damage and other skin problems. So, the old adage is true: it’s what’s inside that counts!
Here are the top five nutrients for healthy and glowing skin:
1. Omega 3’s: Omega-3 fatty acids help healthy skin cell membranes, which act as passageways for nutrients and barriers for harmful substances. Omega-3s may also help preserve collagen and reduce sun damage by subduing UV-induced inflammation. And increasing, omega-3 fat intake has been linked to an improvement in acne. Aim for 2 servings of fatty fish (salmon, herring, arctic char) per week. If fish isn’t for you, look at a good quality omega 3 supplement such as Pathway Super Omega-3, which is enteric-coated to prevent fishy burps!
2. Vitamin C: Eating red bell peppers is a great way to get in vitamin C and other skin-loving nutrients. Vitamin C helps shield skin cells against free radical damage induced by UV light. It also plays a key role in forming and maintaining collagen, a protein that provides firmness and elasticity to skin. As we get older, collagen synthesis declines, which can increase wrinkles and fine lines.
3. Vitamin E: Vitamin E protects skin from free-radical damage, slowing aging. It helps widen blood vessels to bring oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Adults need 15 mg of vitamin E (alpha-Tocopherol) each day. Avocados, spinach and sunflower seeds are good sources of Vitamin E. One ounce of sunflower seeds (about 1/4 cup) delivers 7.4 mg, nearly half a day’s worth. An ounce of sunflower seeds is also an exceptional source of linoleic acid and selenium.
4. Selenium: Selenium is a mineral that may help protect skin cells from damage that can lead to skin cancer. Selenium and vitamin E work together to prevent free radical damage. Mushrooms, whole grains and Brazil nuts are sources of this mighty mineral.
5. Green Tea Catechins: A study found that women who drank four cups of a green-tea beverage each day (versus a placebo drink) experienced less skin reddening after exposure to a small dose of UV radiation. Green-tea drinkers also had improvements in skin health, including hydration, elasticity and structure. The protective effect of green tea is attributed to potent antioxidants called catechins.
Photo from here, with thanks.