What is skin care & how to care for your skin Part 2

Hi there! I’m sure you’ve been anxiously awaiting this post 😉 In the last post we explored the properties and jobs of your skin. Our skin, like the rest of our organs, needs us to supply it with the proper nutrients to help our skin be the best it can be. Eating for skin health isn’t something we typically think about when we’re at the grocery store, farmer’s market or preparing meals. I would venture to say that most of us don’t think about it at all when food is involved. We focus more on how good food is going to taste rather than its health benefits. 

Self: Hmmm, My skin is really dry today – salmon is on the menu!  

Lol. I’m pretty sure I’ve never said that 🙂 There is so much we can do with our food choices to help with skin issues. I’m not saying that you have to totally clean your fridge out and turn a new leaf all in one day. Starting with one meal a week and working up from there can even help. 

There is a wealth of info on the subject of eating for skin health and even more recipes for the making. A lot of information at once can be overwhelming and not helpful for motivation. So, I’ll try to keep this short, simple, and basic by focusing on just a couple nutrients. 

Among the nutrients to seek for skin health is Vitamin C. This antioxidant vitamin is just as good for the inside of your body as it is for the outside of your body. Making sure you get vitamin C from whole food sources (like an orange instead of orange juice) is great for collagen production and fighting the free radicals that help cause wrinkles. Citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, kale, and red peppers are some of the great foods you can boost your vitamin C levels with. 

We hear a lot about omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and see them on labels, but are sometimes unaware that its omega 3 EFAs we are reading about. ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are 3 of the different fatty acids that make up the omega 3 EFA profile. They are called essential fatty acids because our bodies can’t synthesize them in some cases and not very well in other cases. It is necessary to take ALA in by consumption because our bodies can’t make it. When ALA is consumed, our bodies can then make the other EFAs (DHA, EPA …). The omega EFAs (especially omega 3) are important for skin health because they moisturize the skin from the inside. A deficiency in EFAs leads to dry scaly skin and poor wound healing. Most of us take in too many omega 6s (found in nuts and such) for our omega 3 consumption. A simple switch to getting more omega 3 in your diet might be what is needed to get better looking skin. Try adding salmon, sardines, tuna, flaxseed, grass-fed beef, walnuts, or hemp seeds to your diet even just once a week to start. 

Now it’s time to go red! Watermelon, guava, tomatoes (especially cooked), pink grapefruit, papaya, and red peppers are great sources for the antioxidant powerhouse lycopene. Lycopene is suggested to help fight sun damage that can lead to skin cancer as well as lower the risk of other cancers. Incorporating foods high in lycopene can also help against the breakdown of collagen. A lack of collagen can cause wrinkles. 

Think zinc and zap zits. Well, it takes more than thinking about zinc to zap zits, but research suggests a link between low zinc levels and acne. Eating zinc rich foods like meats, fish, shellfish, poultry, grains, yogurt, and kidney beans is worth a try if you don’t normally eat these foods and have continuous blemishes. 

Eating a variety of whole foods definitely helps our bodies and our vitality – diversity in color matters. Try adding or replacing one food choice every month from each of the above 4 groups to your daily food choices for improved health inside and out. There are so many resources for recipes. Pinterest is my favorite go to. Try this carrot and almond soup recipe that a friend of ours got us hooked on – super yummy! Swapping recipes with other people is a really great way to keep things fun and interesting too! It’s important to also remember that our skin is permeable and can absorb up to 100% of things we put on it. Using skin care products that possess beneficial nutrients is a great way to tag team problem skin – get it from the inside and outside. Next post will be about our drink choices, but I can’t wait to hear about which foods you are going to try to eat more of before then! 

My sources and resources for further reading: 

Oregon State University

Fitness Magazine 

Nutrition: Controversies and Concepts, 11th Ed

Eating Well

Dr. Axe

Cleanse • Hydrate • Nourish • Redefine

Mindy

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