We’ve all heard rumors about which foods can help the look and feel of your skin. We’ve heard that drinking more water can keep our skin hydrated, and that processed foods make you age faster. But are these rumors true? For people with chronic skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis, what you put into your body may even be more helpful than what you put onto your skin. We’re here to shed some light on the situation and introduce you to four diet changes or foods to keep in mind that may lead to healthier skin.
1. Increase Your Vitamin A Intake to Improve Your Skin
Vitamin A is a very important piece to a healthy skin diet. The best place to find high Vitamin A content is in low-fat dairy products. Low-fat milk, yogurt, cream cheese, block cheese, and even egg whites can be great sources of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A directly affects both the upper and lower layers of the skin. It prevents sun damage by interrupting the process that breaks down collagen and it is an antioxidant, which can protect your skin against sunburns. Without enough Vitamin A, our skin can get dry and itchy, because it also assists with oil glands around your hair follicles. This could be a simple adjustment to try to buy low-fat dairy products you already use on a daily basis!
2. Increase Your Consumption of these Fruits and Berries to Improve Your Skin
If you’re a berry lover, this one’s for you! Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums are the highest fruits in antioxidants. Antioxidants have the power to protect skin cells against membrane damage caused by sun exposure. To guard these cells against disintegration is to guard the skin against premature aging and can help skin look younger for longer.
Incorporate these fruits into a smoothie, add berries to your morning cereal, or include them in salads for a fresh twist. Or simply add them to the side of any meal or dessert! If you’re not a fan of these fruits, try other high antioxidant foods like artichokes, beans (red, black, pinto), prunes, and pecans.
3. Improve Your Skin by Consuming Fatty Acids
Fatty acids contribute to healthy cell membranes, which are barriers to harmful effects of the sun as we know, but also act as a passageway to welcome nutrients into the cell and rid the waste from the cell. It also helps the membrane to retain water, leading to plumper, younger-looking skin.
The most well-known fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6 which must remain in balance for good overall health. We seem to lack omega-3 fatty acids in our diet more often than not. The best places to find high fatty acid content are in salmon (or most fish), walnuts, canola oil, and flaxseed. Try to incorporate more fish into your diet (perhaps salmon for dinner one or two nights a week). Walnuts can be included in baked goods like banana bread or added to salads for example. Try cooking with canola oil, or using it as a substitute for butter or margarine. Flaxseeds can be spread over cereal, added to smoothies, or even incorporated into mustard or mayo before spreading it on a sandwich.
4. Improve Your Skin by Consuming the Mineral Selenium
The mineral selenium plays an important role in overall skin cell health. Studies have shown that skin cells are less likely to suffer oxidative damage from the sun if selenium levels are high.
Selenium can be found in whole-wheat products such as bread, muffins, and cereals, as well as turkey, tuna, and brazil nuts. White foods such as white bread, pasta, sugar, and rice, can cause inflammation in the system which can ultimately be linked to skin breakouts, so sticking to whole-wheat products is a much better choice and can easily be switched out. Incorporate turkey and tuna into your lunches or dinners more often. Brazil nuts are often used in baking and can be a welcome addition to bread, muffins, and cookies.