Beauty is not just skin deep. In fact, skin appearance can tell you a lot about your overall health. For example, dull or tired looking skin might be a sign of dehydration or a lack of certain vitamins. While wearing sunscreen, washing your face daily, removing your makeup off nightly and using skin creams are important steps, taking care of your skin from the outside is just one layer in overall skin health. What we eat plays a huge part in building and maintaining youthful and healthy skin structure. Follow a diet rich in whole foods, including some of the foods outlined below, to help your skin look its best.
1. Water -
Our bodies are made up of 50 to 65% water.1 Each and every part of our body contains water, from your bones to your skin. Our bodies cannot function properly without enough water so staying hydrated is one of the most basic and important things we can do for ourselves. Adequate hydration works wonders for your skin by helping rid the body and skin of toxins and will help maintain moisture in your skin.
2. Salmon -
Oily fish, like salmon, is full of omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fats help fight inflammation as well as provide hydration from the inside out. In addition to omega 3s, salmon contains an array of nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin B, biotin, and of much interest, astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a super-antioxidant found in seafood like salmon and shrimp as well as certain microalgae supplements such as BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin. In scientific studies, astaxanthin has been shown to support skin health during UV exposure2, improve fine lines and wrinkles, elasticity and dryness3. A 2016 study showed that astaxanthin enhanced collagen production in human dermal fibroblasts and showed that it could be a human skin cell growth enhancer and thereby help with wound repair.4 Well-known dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone calls astaxanthin found in salmon and microalgae a “Superstar Supplement” for skin health.5
3. Vitamin C-rich foods -
Vitamin C helps to brighten the skin and with collagen production.6 Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C – just another reason to add drinking water with lemon to your morning routine. Vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts are also good ways to get vitamin C in your diet.
4. Orange-colored vegetables -
In the initial form of beta carotene, vitamin A is found in vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkins, as well as leafy greens and microalgae spirulina. Vitamin A is essential for maintenance and repair of skin tissue and helps with skin cell turnover to reveal younger looking skin. It can also help with irritating skin conditions, such as acne.7
5. Tomatoes -
The red color of certain varieties of tomatoes comes from the carotenoid, lycopene. Lycopene has been shown to act as a free radical scavenger and help support the skin from UV-light8,9 (of course, you’ll still need to use other forms of sun protection such as sunscreen and protective clothing). What’s interesting to note is that eating raw tomatoes will only give you a small amount of bioavailable lycopene. Lycopene becomes more bioavailable once the tomato is cooked, so load up the pasta sauce!
The skin is your body’s largest organ and needs constant maintenance, inside and outside, to help it to function and look its best. Beauty that comes from the inside out can be achieved with eating the right foods to help nourish your body and skin.
1.Perlman, H. (2016, May/June). “Water properties: The water in you.” (Water Science School). Retrieved October 21, 2016, from http://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html
2.Lorenz, T. (2002). “Clinical Trial Indicates Sun Protection from BioAstin Supplement.” Cyanotech Technical Bulletin based on Independent Consumer Testing Company clinical trial (unpublished). On file at Cyanotech Corporation.
3.Yamashita, E. (2006). “The Effects of a Dietary Supplement Containing Astaxanthin on Skin Condition.” Caratenoid Science, 2006.
4.Chou, Sin-Yu., et al. (2016). “Enriched Astaxanthin Extract from Haematococcus pluvialis Augments Growth Factor Secretions to Increase Cell Proliferation and Induces MMP1 Degradation to Enhance Collagen Production in Human Dermal Fibroblasts.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2016.
5.Perricone, N. (2006). “The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet.” Pg. 98-99. ISBN #0-345-48593-9.
6.Michels, A. (2011). “Vitamin C and Skin Health.” (Linus Pauling Institute). Retrieved October 21, 2016, from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrients-health/skin-health/nutrient-index/vitamin-C
7.Angelo, G. (2012). “Vitamin A and Skin Health.” (Linus Pauling Institute). Retrieved October 21, 2016, from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrients-health/skin-health/nutrient-index/vitamin-A
The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about your health. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have heard or read in this article or the internet.