Healthiest Foods for Skin!
The healthier our skin is on the inside, the better it looks on the outside. Find out how to give your skin all that it needs to be its healthiest best!
The Skin’s Structure
It gets easier to figure out what our skin needs once we know a little about it!
Here’s a quick look at its structure:
The network that creates our skin’s structure is mainly formed by bunches of protein, which are secreted by skin cells into their environment.
Most of this network is formed by a protein called collagen, and it’s this network that gives our skin its firmness and elasticity. Collagen is also exceptionally good at holding water within this network. Apart from making it easier for nutrients to circulate, a hydrated network is also smoother.
A hydrated network shows on the skin’s surface – it glows.
Here’s where things get complicated:
Pollution, the sun’s UV rays and other harmful factors in our environment create free radicals which can damage our skin’s collagen, and also create other issues like skin pigmentation.
The fact that our skin’s production of collagen begins to slow down at the age of 25 doesn’t help either. Dullness, wrinkles, and loose skin are just some of the effects that we see.
Our skin also has a sticky substance called hyaluronic acid (you may call it “HA”). HA helps the skin’s proteins stick together in their network, which also contributes to the elasticity of the skin and its ability to hold water.
So when this protein is damaged (which can happen due to several factors like free radical damage), that can also lead to skin aging.
Remember, our skin’s age can be vastly different from our own actual age!
The good news here is that our skin constantly repairs and remodels itself from the inside to the out – so getting the right nutrition can make all the difference!
Food for Healthy Skin
Fish is rich in two things that both go a long, long way in helping our skin!
If you look closely at a filet of fresh salmon, cod, or halibut, you’ll see a pearly sort of webbing between the striations of muscle. This is largely made up of – once again – collagen!
That’s why eating fish would help the cells in our body make collagen of their own. In fact, fish skin has a lot of collagen as well, so eating fish with the skin on may boost the collagen content of your meal.
Fish like tuna and salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids! These fats reduce skin inflammation, which can otherwise lead to several skin problems like excessive oil production (read: oily skin), acne, and more. Omega-3 fatty acids also keep our cells healthy, which allows them to support the structure of the skin, and help seal in the skin’s water, keeping it hydrated.
Avocados are a great vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids as well.
They are also high in vitamin E and vitamin C, which actually works together to give our skin better and longer-lasting protection from free radical damage!
3] Red and Orange Fruits and Vegetables
Carotenoids are a group of red, orange, and yellow pigments in plants that can neutralize free radicals. A study reported that people who had higher levels of carotenoids in their skin were considered healthier and more attractive than others!
The orange color of carrots comes from beta-carotene, which is one of the most abundant carotenoids in human skin. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A by our body, which is required for the maintenance and growth of skin cells and oil glands.
Another carotenoid gaining fame is lycopene, which gives tomatoes and watermelons their red colour. It gives our skin excellent protection from the sun, by neutralizing free radicals before other antioxidants like beta-carotene! This leaves them free to carry out their other benefits, keeping our skin healthier.
Tomatoes and carrots are also good sources of vitamin E, which helps with sun protection.
Papayas are also great for including some beta-carotene and vitamin E in your diet.
4] Leafy greens
Cruciferous vegetables have plant nutrients called glucosinolates, which fight harmful bacteria and help in wound healing. The calcium from them helps regulate the salt content in our skin’s water, which keeps it from getting dehydrated.
The magnesium from dark green vegetables is needed by skin cells – it makes HA, which, as we’ve discussed, also keeps our skin moist and smooth. To top it all off, many green vegetables like spinach and asparagus, are excellent sources of vitamin E.
(Just imagine what a salad with leafy greens, carrots, and tomatoes can do for your skin!)
It’s been proven that dietary HA and collagen moisturize our skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Here’s good news for meat lovers: high levels of HA and collagen occur naturally in animals! The problem: they’re mainly found in the organs, skin, bone and cartilage of animals, so the muscle meats we eat today (chicken breasts, pork chops, ground beef) don’t have quite the same amount.
Eating organ meats and slow-cooked meat curries (which have the bone simmering in the water for many hours) can still be a great way to consume collagen and HA. Just be careful not to eat too much, though, because organ meat has a high-fat content. In that case, a supplement like Nutrova Collagen + Antioxidants a good option to explore.
6] Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits can help us skin in two ways-
Vitamin C Content:
Vitamin C is needed by our skin, when it’s making new collagen, and even directs the skin cells to make the correct type of collagen it needs, since there are many types that exist in nature.
A specific type of flavonoid called naringenin, which is found in tomatoes as well as citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges, helps prevent the breakdown of HA in the body, thereby protecting our skin.
7] Legumes and root vegetable
A tiny Japanese village called Yuzurihara is known for the longevity of its residents, who have youthful skin, eyes and joints. The diet of these people largely includes root vegetables. The high levels of magnesium in these vegetables is believed to be the reason for their healthy skin and joints. Legumes are also a rich source of magnesium, along with a bunch of fruits and vegetables.
Packed with a bit of almost every nutrient we need, eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet – so they have to be good for the skin too!
Eggs are high in essential amino acids – they’re termed ‘essential’ because the body cannot make these; we have to get these from our diet. The body then uses these amino acids to help the skin generate new proteins, amongst other things.
A single egg can provide nearly 6% of your daily vitamin A requirement and some vitamin D too. Both these vitamins are used by our body to produce new skin cells, and the growth of new tissue needed for wound-healing. Vitamin D also regulates sweat glands to cool your skin when there is extreme heat.
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