Unfortunately there is limited evidence surrounding food and its benefits to skin health. However, it makes sense that to have a healthy outside, you need to start with a healthy inside! Many of the possible benefits of nutrients to the skin are discussed below. Whilst some of them have been difficult to validate, they can certainly help towards achieving radiant skin and good health.
This is a big one! So many of us don’t drink enough water and this can show on our skin. Without enough water, our whole body becomes dehydrated. This can leave skin looking dull, flaky, dry and tight. Dehydration also contributes to wrinkles and fine lines. You know how dried fruit is wrinkled? That didn’t occur from getting adequate water! It’s a similar concept – the more hydrated you are, the more flexible, bright and plump your skin should stay.
What about alcohol? If you want to keep your skin looking radiant, it’s best to steer clear of the alcohol. This can also dehydrate your skin.
Get your 2 and 5 each day
Fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants and antioxidants fight free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to our cells which can lead to premature aging and wrinkles. Smoking, sunlight and pollution can all cause free radicals. Aim to get your 5 (or more) serves of vegetables each day and 2 serves of fruit. This will provide you with a healthy dose of antioxidants as well as many other important nutrients.
Vitamin C also helps to produce collagen and to boost the immune system which both help to heal blemishes and wounds faster or stave off skin infections. This is why a lot of popular skin products use vitamin C. Vitamin C is also easily obtained from fruit and vegetables e.g. oranges, parsley, berries. See my blog on ‘vitamin C’ for more information.
Yet another reason to get your fruit and vegies in!
This is also an antioxidant and hence protects skin against oxidative damage. It is the most predominant fat-soluble antioxidant present in the skin. Following ingestion, it takes several or more days for vitamin E to reach the skins surface via sebum – sebum helps to prevent your skin and hair from drying out.
Vitamin E can also absorb the energy from UV light – preventing UV induced free radical damage (photoprotection). It may also have an anti-inflammatory effect that is beneficial to skin health.
Maintaining a healthy weight
Yo-yoing in weight can produce stretch marks and wrinkles over time. It is best to reach a healthy weight and aim to maintain it to prevent stretching. Not only this but if you are a crash dieter you are probably receiving an inadequate intake of nutrients. Even people who are overweight and who eat excessively can be malnourished. Eating large quantities of food won’t always provide you with all of the nutrients you need, similar to not eating enough. It’s about choosing the right types of food and striving for variety.
Fat is needed to insulate our body and protect our organs. It also acts like a moisturiser for the skin! Incorporate a healthy mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in to your diet to provide healthy oils that will help to keep your skin from getting dry. Many healthy fats also provide vitamin E!
Good sources include:
- Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines
- Nuts and seeds
- Olive oil
Omega 3 is a fatty acid that can’t be produced by the body. For this reason, we need to get enough from our diet. Omega 3 is good for the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties and healthy fats.
Good sources of omega 3 include:
- Oily fish
- Canola/linseed/ soybean oil.
Foods rich in zinc
Zinc also plays an important role in wound healing, strengthening the immune system, DNA synthesis and cell division. Oysters, crab, baked beans and meat (beef, pork, chicken) are sources of zinc.
The bioavailability of zinc is better in animal sources – this is due to phytates that are found in many plant based foods that bind to and inhibit the absorption of zinc.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have questions about skin and diet or other nutrition related issues, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns.
Contact us today.