A radiant, glowing complexion is a good indication that your skin has the nutrients it needs for optimal health. As the mirror to what's going on inside the body, there are specific nutrients for the skin, known to work from the inside and support the outside. Despite external products including skin lotions, serums and masks often claiming the credit for vibrant looking skin, the real strength comes from within.
For the skin to look and feel its best it needs its own protection. The health of this ever-important barrier between our internal and external environment is crucial to optimal function within the body, as the skin also plays a key role in circulation and detoxification. When our bodies aren't in peak shape, our skin often lets us know. For instance, a hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity, nutrient deficiency or accumulated toxicity may be the reason behind skin irritation, breakouts, itchy patches or simply dry, dull-looking skin.
As the largest detoxification organ, the skin is directly affected by what you ingest. That's why choosing nutrient-dense whole foods and supportive supplementation can be a winning formula to love the skin you are in. Let's take a look at the best nutrients for healthy skin and how you can incorporate them into your daily routine.
There is science-backed research on key nutrients found in wholefoods that support healthy radiant looking skin as well as enhance it's protective function. Foods rich in healthy fats can help retain the skin's suppleness, strength and moisture which enhances anti-aging benefits. Incorporating certain foods into your weekly menu can help support, transform and protect your skin, this includes:
Oily Fish - One of the top skin foods due to the high concentrations of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats that support cellular structure and provide moisture, making the skin more supple and appear less lined. They also help to balance healthy levels of inflammation in the body and as a protein are the building blocks that contribute to strong skin. Choose sardines, mackerel, anchovies, wild salmon/trout and shellfish.
Nuts and seeds -Walnuts are the top plant based source of omega-3 -- especially black walnuts. They also contain vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants for skin and zinc, a mineral known for its vital role in overall skin health including the production of new skin cells. Brazil nuts contain selenium, a skin-friendly mineral that also supports the thyroid, which plays a key role in healthy skin. Seeds including sesame, pumpkin and flax are high in omega-3 and contain copper and zinc, mineral allies for healthy skin. In general nuts and seeds are great sources of skin-boosting nutrients.
Healthy Fats - Avocado and Olive Oil are two skin nourishing choices that can help combat wrinkles and UV damage from the sun. The oils can also be used as a natural moisturizer and applied topically. Always opt for the highest quality, extra virgin, organic and cold-pressed oil in dark glass bottles.
Vegetables - Sulforaphane is a sulfur-rich compound known for its powerful antioxidant and detoxification properties. Broccoli (and broccoli sprouts) contain the highest amount, along with other cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bok choy and cabbage. Orange vegetables, especially sweet potatoes are high in skin-friendly vitamin A and vine ripened tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene.
Green Tea -High in polyphenols, which act as antioxidants and help protect the skin by squelching free radicals that can cause cellular damage and increase aging.
Incorporating a diet rich in these 'skin-foods' will enhance your health and your skin. You could also take it one step further with a targeted blend of nutrients designed to address any of the top skin concerns:
Antioxidants -Vitamins C, A and E are beneficial to many systems in the body, including the skin for their anti-aging properties. When taken internally, the combination of vitamins C and E may prevent UV damage, a key factor in skin aging. As a powerful antioxidant Vitamin C plays a key role in preventing free radical damage to collagen and other connective tissues, but is also one of the key nutrients needed to make collagen.
Collagen- A main protein in the body that provides structure and support to all connective tissue - skin, tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones making it essential for a strong body overall. Internal production and quality declines naturally as we age with visible signs including a less firm and more lined appearance. Incorporating high quality protein plus the key nutrients that help produce collagen will preserve your body's stores and enhance production.
Minerals - Zinc is a vital mineral when it comes to overall skin health allowing it to function effectively as a barrier. It also plays an important role in collagen production, healthy tissue development and a necessary part of wound healing. Selenium is another key mineral with both skin and thyroid health benefits.
It is clear that incorporating a wide variety of whole foods, plus targeted nutrients is a great place to start when it comes to promoting healthy, radiant skin and optimal health overall.