I've been doing a lot of research lately on foods that promote healthy skin. It goes without saying that if you strive for healthy skin, your research, like mine will lead you to the same conclusion: healthy skin = healthy body or healthy body = healthy skin. Unless of course you’ve got these super genes and no matter what you eat, you don’t gain a pound, your levels are all normal (cholesterol, blood sugars…) AND you have healthy looking skin, if that’s the case, you are truly lucky indeed, but for the rest of us mortals, in order to attain this balance, some thought and planning have to be made.
There are certain truths that can’t be refuted, like, you can’t eat greasy fast foods and expect to have healthy skin. Or you can’t have a mostly all-meat diet and expect your skin to glow and you can’t eat mostly processed fake-foods and expect your skin to be flawless. What’s more, there are known correlations between a poor diet and skin problems like eczema and acne.So it's no surprise that whole foods really are the way to go but did you know there are certain foods that are exceptionally good for your skin (therefore good for your overall health)? Here are my top 6 picks:
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is essential for healthy hair and in preventing and clearing various skin infections. Vitamin A counteracts dry skin and dandruff and slows the formation of wrinkles. Furthermore, low fat dairy, which is rich in vitamin A, also contains acidophilus which helps to promote a healthy digestive tract. Healthy digestion also = healthy skin. Other high sources of vitamin A foods include liver, cod liver oil, raw carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, hard cheeses and paprika.
Ensuring you body is always hydrated is the simplest, easiest and cheapest way of getting started on your journey towards healthy skin. If you find that you drink more "non-water" drinks (i.e., tea, coffee, milk, pop, juice, flavoured waters, energy drinks, etc) then you know what you have to do right? Here's a trick: For every 8 oz glass of liquid you consume, immediately have two 8 oz glasses of water. You have to bring your glass back to the kitchen anyway, right? Before putting your glass on the counter, fill it once with water. Chug it! And do it again! It always surprises me to hear how some people get bored with drinking water. Rather than think about what it doesn't taste like (or how lucky we are that we have water flowing freely from our taps), think about how it's flushing your whole body out and helping to keep your cell membranes strong and hydrated (see below in point number 3 what happens to strong membranes). My daily goal is to get pale yellow (if not clear) pee. Dark yellow pee means you haven't been very kind to your body, which ultimately also means to your skin.
3. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
Essential fatty acids are responsible for keeping healthy cell membranes. These act as a passageway for nutrients to go in and out of cells and for waste products to get in and out too. Furthermore, it is these membranes that hold moisture and water in. The stronger the membrane, the better cells can stay hydrated, keeping skin plump and younger looking. Be sure to include in your diet (in balanced quantities): Salmon, walnuts, canola oil, flax and flax seed oil.
Selenium is a trace mineral found in every cell of our bodies with the greatest concentrations being in our liver and kidneys. Selenium is naturally anti-inflammatory and has been known to help chronic skin conditions such as lupus, psoriasis and eczema as well as reduce the appearance of inflamed acne lesions. If you eat regular amounts of whole wheat bread (whole grains in general) poultry, tuna and/or brazil nuts
you should be getting sufficient amounts. If you are unsure, consult your doctor.
5. Green tea
Green tea is really a superfood. You really can't get this amount of health benefits from any other drink. It's loaded withantioxidants, is high in vitamins C, D, and K. Contains high levels of riboflavin, zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron. Green tea has naturally occuring anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties AND fights bad breath too! Green tea helps to protect your skin from damaging UVA rays.
Antioxidants aid in the protection of our cells from premature skin aging and cell damage caused by free radicals (they stabilize or neutralize free radicals and prevent them from doing extensive damage at the molecular level). Eat foods that are really high in antioxidants like: Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and plums and don't forget to have some green tea too.
What do you eat or drink to promote healthy skin? What would you add to this list? We want to know!