It’s come time for another guest post! I love when someone knows more than I do and I can use this site as a platform to get valuable information out to others. Today, we’re going to talk about antioxidants to help your skin! I’m pleased to present Rebecca Byerly, who has decades of medical experience and a degree in Nutrition. So without further ado, Rebecca, take it away:
Healthy Skin Starts in the Kitchen
When we talk about skin care, our discussion usually focuses on the surface of our skin. We may have discovered a new cream that fights aging, or sunscreen that offers UV protection while also preventing breakouts. But what if we could care for our skin from the inside out? One of the very best ways to improve our skin’s quality and appearance—which is also easy and inexpensive—is to improve our diet.
Why are antioxidants important?
Our skin has an important job to do—it must serve as a barrier between our bodies and the outside world. Our skin cells in particular are prone to all sorts of damage (for example: vitamin deficiencies, UV rays & air pollution!) If not properly cared for, this job as “gatekeeper” becomes much more difficult, and poor nutrition can affect the appearance of our skin over time. Although there are many vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy skin, here are a few that are especially important:
When skin care advertisements refer to “retinol”, they are talking about Vitamin A. This vitamin plays a powerful role in the prevention of photoaging of our skin—aka sun damage. That’s why it is used in so many anti-wrinkle creams. It has also been shown to help with the conditions that can lead to acne, and even helps with healthy hair—double duty! This multi-purpose vitamin can be found in spinach, eggs, and orange-colored fruits and veggies like sweet potatoes and carrots.
This is the antioxidant powerhouse of the lineup! The job of antioxidants like vitamin C is to defend against damage to your cells, so they are great for healthy skin. Vitamin C is also critical for the formation of collagen, which is another important component. Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli are good sources.
This powerful antioxidant often works hand in hand with vitamin C to fight against the irritation of UV rays and other oxidative damage. Vitamin E can be found in vegetable oils, wheat germ, and nuts and seeds.
These are some of the most important fatty acids to protect against dry, scaly, itchy skin. You can find omega 3’s in fatty fish like salmon, or in flax seed or walnuts. Don’t be afraid of fat—you need some fat in your diet for overall health as well as healthy skin.
Let’s not forget about water! How many times have we put lotion on dry, itchy skin only to have to reapply it again shortly after? Lotions are designed to lock in the moisture that is already present, but if you are not drinking enough water, there is not enough moisture there to begin with. Healthy skin is hydrated skin, so make sure you are getting your eight glasses of water per day!
Diet First, Products After
It may be tempting to just run out and buy a few bottles of supplements to get these important nutrients. And why not? Wouldn’t that help? It might, but it won’t make up for a poor diet. Research has shown that diets that are high in the types of fats found in processed foods can contribute to aging of the skin. Choosing foods that are nutrient-rich, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can be protective and help your skin look younger and healthier. In a nutshell, a diet with a wide variety of whole foods, with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, is one of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and glowing.
So, what should you eat?
Your morning smoothie is a great place to add in some important vitamins. Try incorporating frozen strawberries for some vitamin C, or add in some greens or a bit of cooked carrot to increase your vitamin A intake. You can also try sprinkling some fruit or nuts on top of your salad to bump up your antioxidants and omega 3’s. Or how about a salmon burger on a multigrain roll with a side of baby carrots for lunch? The options are endless, so get creative!
Overall, the best way to get healthy skin is to feed it from the inside. Small changes add up, so boost the nutrition wherever you can. Your skin will thank you, and reward you with a natural, healthy glow.
Rebecca is very talented and passionate on the topics of nutrition relating to wellness. For another article written by her, please check out “Do I need to Eat Organic” or comment to ask any questions! Thanks so much for reading and we’ll talk again soon.
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