Our skin is the largest organ in the body. Individuals spend hundreds of dollars on creams and specialty soaps in hopes of improving their complexion. However, most individuals overlook the types of foods that they’re eating on a weekly basis. Nutrients found in certain foods can have significant impacts on skin health. Let’s dive into some of these skin promoting nutrients.
Top 4 Nutrients for Skin Health
- Top off Your Collagen – Collagen is the most prevalent protein in the human body. It’s responsible for nourishing our hair, skin, nails, joints and bones. Collagen is important for keeping our skin moist and free of wrinkles. Most individuals will naturally produce less collagen as they age. They’re several ways to aid your body in obtaining more collagen. Try to include lean protein at most meals (loin or tenderloin beef, skinless chicken, fish, beans, eggs and fermented dairy products). Recently, bone broth which is made by simmering animal bones, vegetables and various herbs for several hours. Bone broth is a great source of collagen. If you don’t feel like making your own bone broth, most grocery stores now carry pre-made products.
- The Power of Omega-3 – Omega-3 fats often are touted for their heart healthy benefits. You may be happy to find out that essential fats are also important for skin health. Omega-3 aids in reducing inflammation, minimizes UV damage from the sun and promotes healthy skin cells. Non-breaded fish and seafood are one of the best sources for omega-3s. Opt for wild caught most often. If you aren’t a fan of fish or seafood, incorporate more plant based sources of omega-3 (pasture raised eggs, grass-fed meats or poultry, green leafy vegetables, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, tofu and soybeans). Strive to include more omega-3 rich foods weekly.
- Don’t Overlook Produce – According to the CDC, in 2015, only 9% of adults met the recommended intake for vegetables and only 12% met the recommended intake for fruit. Fruit and vegetables are one of the best source of skin protecting antioxidants and phytochemicals. In addition, most fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the production of collagen. Focus on including these nutrient rich foods at each meal and you will likely be rewarded with vibrant skin.
PRODUCE ROCK STARS: Beets, kale, leafy greens, carrots, celery, cabbage, radishes, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, cucumbers, onions, beans, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, Tart cherries, watermelon, bananas, kiwi, dates, berries, mango, oranges, avocados, and grapes
- Incorporate Vitamin A – Vitamin A is an important component of our skin. Its main functions include promoting the growth of new skin cells and protecting skin cells from oxidative damage. Additionally, vitamin A appears to be beneficial for reducing wrinkles and acne related conditions. Some of the best sources of vitamin A include: pasture raised dairy products, cod liver oil, liver, pasture raised eggs and fatty fish, such as salmon. If you prefer plant based foods, load up on sweet potatoes, salad greens, carrots, squash, tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupe, mangos and apricots.
Lee Hyrkas is a registered dietitian and performance nutrition specialist at Bellin Health. Lee’s goal is to assist every athlete and active individual in maximizing their performance and health. To schedule a one on one assessment, please contact Lee at Lee.Hyrkas@bellin.org or (920) 430-4728.
Sources: ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/; lpi.oregonstate.edu; examine.com
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