Skin. It’s one of the first things people see when they look at you. It is considered the largest organ in the human body and your skin health can also be a large indicator of your overall health. Most of us know that things like a good moisturizer and sunscreen can help with skin health, but what about food? Can your health on the inside affect your health on the outside? The answer is a resounding YES!
The following is a list of foods that have been shown to help with skin health:
1. Tuna: Fatty fish are rich in omega- 3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. Many skin conditions (think: acne) are caused by inflammation, so eating fish can help keep your skin clear. Studies have also shown that omega 3s may help prevent skin cancer. Not all fish are created equal, though. Some of the highest omega 3 fish are salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, and sardines.
2. Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes: One of the best ways to slow the aging process of skin is to keep your cells from oxidizing, which damages skin cells. Antioxidants are the best protection against oxidants (oxidants include things such as sun and other environmental damagers). Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant which is found in foods in the form of carotenoids, which your body converts to vitamin A. Carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are all excellent food sources of vitamin A.
3. Oranges, red peppers, Brussels sprouts: Just like vitamin A, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which protects against skin damage. Oranges, red peppers, and Brussels sprouts all pack at least 100% of your daily vitamin C needs in just one serving. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, diets high in vitamin C were also associated with less dryness and less noticeable wrinkles.
4. Green Tea: In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, females who drank a beverage containing green tea polyphenols daily for 12 weeks had skin that was more elastic, smooth, hydrated, and had 25% less sun damage when exposed to UV light compared to a control group. Green tea contains catechins like EGCG which are powerful antioxidants that boost blood flow and oxygen to the skin, which delivers key nutrients to keep your skin healthy.
5. Kale: Kale is an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids which have been shown to exhibit not only antioxidant properties, but also to provide protection against UV light damage to the skin.
This list could go on and on. In general, anything that is good for your physical health is also good for your skin’s health. And don’t forget about the oh-so-important water for skin health as well. Have fun eating your way to fabulous skin!
Lauren Ott, RD is a registered dietitian at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. Check out her website www.thedessertdietitian.com, Facebook page (The Dessert Dietitian), and Instagram @thedessertdietitian for nutrition tips and recipes! View the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness website at www.anschutzwellness.com.
Vitamin C: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/4/1225