Debbie J., MS, RD contributed this article –
Good nutrition is fundamental to keeping your skin healthy and looking years younger. The benefits of food’s natural ingredients include radiance, enhancing exfoliation, and protecting skin from the UV damage that causes brown spots and wrinkles.
The recipe for complexion perfection starts with plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and sufficient protein as part of a well-rounded diet. In particular, there are some power foods and nutrients that nourish the skin, listed in our previous Part 1. Here we continue to look at foods that have some benefit for the skin.
Apples – The peel of Golden Delicious, Monroe, and Cortland varieties contain quercetin (a flavonol antioxidant), which protects against the UVB rays that cause sunburns and trigger skin cancer.
Blackberries, Blueberries, Cranberries, Pomegranates, and Plums – These youth inducing fruits contain polyphenols (antioxidants) and Vitamin C; fighting free radicals and regulating skin’s blood flow. Polyphenols give it rosiness while Vitamin C fades dark spots and increases collagen production.
Eggs and Avocado – These ovoid shaped foods contain several skin boosting compounds. Lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants), which protect against the UV damage that causes lines, brown spots and cancer. They also contain biotin; the B vitamin essential for hair, skin and nail growth. The mineral selenium in eggs reduces your chance of getting a sunburn and helps your skin to be softer, firmer and better hydrated.
Carrots and Cantaloupe – These orange foods have beta-carotene (giving them their color) which is a type of Vitamin A that helps prevent overproduction of cells in skin’s outer layer by increasing cell turnover, thus revitalizing skin and reducing the clogging of pores. Vitamin A also reduces the development of skin cancer cells.
Peppers – Yellow and orange vegetables provide carotenoids that can decrease skin’s sensitivity to the sun. All peppers have Vitamin C which counters sun exposure to help reduce hyperpigmentation and aging.
Romaine Lettuce and Sweet Potatoes – They contain Vitamin C that is essential to collagen production and keeps skin from creasing, and potassium which improves circulation to give skin a refreshing boost of nutrients and oxygen.
Salmon, Tuna and Turkey – Fish contain essential fatty acids and all 3 have the mineral selenium which preserves elastin in the skin keeping it smooth and tight and prevents UV damage from the sun by fighting free radicals.
Spinach – The leafy green contains folate, a B vitamin that may help prevent cellular damage by repairing and maintaining DNA, and lutein which promotes hydration and elasticity.
Water – This invigorating and necessary liquid is also critically essential for radiant skin, water penetrates cell membranes so skin looks plumper and less wrinkled, plus it helps move nutrients in and toxins out.
Lastly, you should stay away from sugar, white flour products, and breaded fried foods. These can affect androgen levels contributing to wrinkles and cause inflammation that may ultimately be linked to skin breakouts. Along with excess weight, these foods are linked to insulin resistance which is associated with greater advanced glycation end products. AGEs cause inflammation and stiffness by damaging skin’s collagen and elastin. So think sugar = AGE!
In addition to good nutrition the best anti-aging, anti-inflammatory approach to younger skin includes wearing sunscreen and taking care of your skin externally. But remember that what you put on your plate is just as important as what you put on your skin. By feeding your skin from the inside and out, you can benefit with a more youthful appearance. Let your good health shine through and turn back the clock!