With spring quickly approaching, healthy skin is on the minds of women all over the world. After experiencing months of cold, snowy weather and dry, dead skin, the time has come to rejuvenate the largest organ of the human body and bring back that summer glow we all know and love! Research has shown that the condition of your skin presents itself in direct correlation with the way you nourish your body. Those with highly processed diets tend to see issues with dry, itchy, red and acne prone skin. Yet, studies say a well-balanced diet can significantly improve both the look and feel of your skin! In fact, there are certain foods that have shown far more superior results than others. Here are a few foods you can incorporate into your daily life to increase the quality and appearance of your skin.
Consuming enough healthy fats is essential in keeping skin flexible and moisturized! Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, mackerel and herrings, have been shown to reduce inflammation. This results in less redness and acne, as well as more supple and moisturized skin. In fact, one of the most common ways a deficiency in Omega-3s can present itself is through dry, itchy skin! It is also believed that foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids can help those with inflammatory and auto-immune diseases such as psoriasis and lupus, to keep their skin issues under control. Avocados, nuts, and seeds are additional options if you want to start incorporating a variety of Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet!
Eat Your Colors
Ensuring you get the right amount of nutrients is also crucial to the health of your skin. Using the general rule of eating the colors of the rainbow can help! Foods that are vibrant in color, such as sweet potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes and carrots are rich in beta-carotene as well as Vitamins A and C. Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, are phytonutrients that our bodies cannot produce themselves and must be obtained through a healthy diet. Once ingested, beta-carotene is either converted into Vitamin A or it can act as an antioxidant that can protect the skin from harmful free radicals. It has even been shown to help with degenerative diseases including some skin cancers. Interestingly, if enough beta-carotene is ingested, it can cause the skin to have a healthy, glowing hue similar to that of a summer tan. Eating leafy green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli can also give you these same benefits thanks to lutein, another carotenoid that works very similarly to beta-carotene.
It’s understandable that antioxidants can play a huge role in the health of your skin. They work as our main line of defense against free radicals by providing our cells with excess amounts of electrons needed to repair themselves. Anthocyanins are the plant colorants responsible for the vibrant red, purple and blue hues found in foods like blueberries, blackberries and acai. These are believed to prevent inflammatory responses as well as protect genomic DNA integrity, essentially, protecting you from cancer. Foods more commonly known to act as antioxidants include dark chocolate and green tea, both of which have been proven in multiple studies to enhance the moisture, thickness and elasticity of skin. Surprisingly, Manuka Honey has also been found to be a great antioxidant when used topically! If you suffer from dry, itchy skin or acne, try applying it directly to the skin for up to 20 minutes, then rinse and massage it off thoroughly with water. You can see the same results while using honey in a warm bath or even as a hair conditioner or scalp treatment.
A balanced diet with five servings of fruits and vegetables a day is a great way to ensure that you receive all the nutrients needed to support healthy skin. But in today’s world, that is not always an easy thing to do. In these cases, supplements can help. The obvious choices, based on the foods listed above, would be Fish Oil, Zinc and Vitamins A, C, and E.
Because the appearance of your skin is a mirror image of your gut health, probiotics can also make a major difference in the overall look and feel of your skin. Probiotics are live bacteria and microorganisms that increase the number of good bacteria in your digestive system. When ample amounts of good bacteria live within the gut, the immune system is increased which benefits all the organs in the human body, including the skin. Probiotics can be taken either topically or internally via capsules or fermented foods. Both forms have been proven to help in the reconstruction of skin cells, reducing the appearance of scars and burns and helping those who suffer from conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
How to Learn More
A natural, minimally processed and well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables along with plenty of water is a safe recipe for beautiful skin, sure to leave you looking and feeling your best. For those with persistent and/or severe skin conditions, it is always best to be evaluated by a skin care specialist for the best course of action in treating your specific situation. For more information to increase your overall health through individualized nutrition coaching and lifestyle training, you can contact Brandee Mandis, owner of Mandis Athletics, at www.mandisathletics.com/.
*Brandee is a PTA Global Certified Personal Trainer and NPC Figure Competitor who offers both online and in-person lifestyle training and nutrition coaching in Boise, Idaho*
By: Brandee Mandis, PTAG-CPT
Owner – Mandis Athletics