We have heard the saying “you are what you eat” time and time again. Is there any merit behind this age old statement? One must question if a healthy diet has any positive effect on the health of the skin. According to dietician and nutritionist Nicollete Pace, the skin requires an ample supply of essential nutrients in order to maintain health. Pace further suggests that improving one’s diet may delay the effects of aging while also improving the overall integrity of the skin. An article from Grandparents.com, adapted by The Huffington Post, suggests eight foods that that have a direct correlation to healthy, beautiful skin, as outlined below.
Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and lycopene, both of which positively affect the skin. One of the most beneficial topical ingredients for the skin, vitamin C is also an effective collagen builder when ingested on a regular basis. Of course, the best source of vitamin C is still derived from topical application of L-ascorbic acid, the most bioavailable form of vitamin C. Lycopene is also found in abundance in tomatoes. Known most notably for its men’s health benefits, lycopene is also known to protect the skin from UV damage while also strengthening vascular function. With all that extra circulation, a healthy glow is inevitable.
Berries rich in color have a long, favorable history of providing antioxidant protection. Also high in flavonoids, polyphenols, vitamins and probiotics, raspberries and blueberries are by far the most beneficial to the skin when protecting it from environmental pollutants and other oxidative damage. Berries are also high in vitamin C, again contributing to healthy collagen production which keeps the skin wrinkle-free by strengthening the dermal layers.
Green tea’s known health benefits date back hundreds of years, including its positive effect on the health of the skin. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a polyphenol that is naturally found in green tea. It is an extremely effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It also provides exceptional protection from UV-induced damage. Some studies suggest that EGCG may play a role in healthy cell proliferation, which keeps the skin looking and acting younger longer.
Foods high in probiotics, like yogurt and kefir, have skin-friendly bacteria that can fight both redness and topical irritations. Although most yogurt brands are filled with healthy probiotics, kefir, a cultured milk product, contains three times higher concentrations of probiotics, depending upon the brand. According to The Huffington Post, medical researchers are still trying to find the connection between gut bacteria and the skin. However, studies indicate probiotics reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Chronic skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and rosacea may all improve with regular consumption of yogurt or kefir.
Fish, like salmon and mackerel, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These beneficial fats not only have heart healthy advantages, but also help keep dry skin hydrated from the inside out. These fatty acids are also responsible for the health of the cell membrane. Cell membranes work to keep harmful things out, but also allow nutrients in and out of the cell.
Another source of healthy omega fatty acids are nuts. Many nuts offer multiple benefits to the skin beyond omegas. For example, almonds are also rich in vitamin E, a commonly used anti-inflammatory ingredient found in many skin care products. Anti-inflammatory properties can help with conditions like acne, psoriasis and eczema. When consumed in moderation, nuts can offer both heart and skin health benefits.
Full of nutritional fats that are also skin-friendly, avocados are high in glutathione. Glutathione is found in the tissues of all plants and animals. It is a strong antioxidant thought to be a key ingredient in slowing the aging process because of its ability to strengthen and rebuild collagen bonds.
Honey is one of nature’s miracle ingredients. Its benefits to the skin include antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and also antioxidant protection. These various components make it a beneficial ingredient for skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and any other chronic inflammatory conditions. For those with dry skin types, honey also acts as a humectant, drawing moisture from the dermis to the epidermis.