By Benjamin Semmens, Registered Nutritionist (BHSc)
When we think about skin care, overpriced topical treatments often come first to mind. While these provide some benefit, you need to supply your skin with nutrients and work from the inside out for that true glow.
A healthy diet helps keep your skin hydrated, supports oil production, minimises sun damage, reduces wrinkles, and slows down your ageing process, among other benefits. However, there are specific nutrients and foods that target skin health.
Read on to learn what nutrients and foods to eat to have healthier, younger and brighter looking skin.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant and has been shown to prevent premature skin ageing and cell damage. Vitamin A also supports the production of new skin cells, reduces dry skin, stimulates collagen production and potentially reduce wrinkles. There are two different types of vitamin a: retinoids and carotenoids. Retinoids in animal products such as fish, beef, dairy, and eggs. Carotenoids can be found in orange and red fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and tomatoes.
Healthy skin contains a high concentration of vitamin C, which has an important role in collagen production and your skin’s ageing process. As a potent antioxidant, vitamin C helps prevent and repair damage to the skin cells. You can find vitamin C in many fruits and vegetables including capsicums, broccoli, oranges, kiwi and spinach.
Vitamin E has many important roles in the body including supporting the immune system and promoting the healthy function of skin cells. Vitamin E can help reduce UV damage to skin and promotes anti-inflammation. Vitamin E can be found in many foods including hemp seeds, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, sweet potato, tuna, sunflower seeds, and avocados.
Zinc is an essential mineral that’s crucial in supporting the production of collagen and healthy oil in the skin. Zinc is also an essential component in your immune system and aids in wound healing and is used as a treatment for acne. You can find high amounts of zinc in a range of foods including oysters, red meat, hemp seeds, lentils, beans, and chickpeas.
Essential fatty acids
Omega 3 and Omega 6 are “essential” for many functions in the body including regulating inflammation and skin health. Essential fatty acids play an important role in the integrity and structure of the skin that helps to keep out harmful bacteria. These healthy fats also help to maintain the skin’s natural oil production. These fats can be found in foods such as hemp seed oil, and fatty fish (sardines, salmon, tuna).
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein that help repair skin tissue and regulate healthy skin function. There are three amino acids required for the synthesis of collagen in the body: lysine, glycine and proline. Of these, lysine is an essential amino acid. Protein can be found in animal products like meat, fish, chicken, dairy and eggs, but you can also find quality protein in plant-based foods such as legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds. Hemp seeds are a unique source of plant-based protein in that they provide all 9 essential amino acids including lysine.
When people talk about the link between diet and skin, they often forget to mention the importance of hydration. Water is needed for every single biochemical process in the body, including maintaining the internal balance of the skin and supporting anti-inflammation. A 2012 study found that 2 litres of water a day improved skin health by hydrating skin cells.
If you have any other questions or need some extra support with your health, feel free to email our head nutritionist Ben at email@example.com and subscribe to our blog for more updates.