By Stella Chan Marinaro, Nutritionist,
MS, B.Ed., BSc
Vitamin A is essential for skin health. Found in retinoids, (topical acne treatments prescribed by dermatologists) it promotes cellular turnover, keeping pores clear. Vitamin A deficiencies are linked with dry skin, dry hair, brittle nails, and acne outbreaks. To prevent this consume more dairy like low fat milk, and fish, such as salmon.
Vitamin B2 decreases stress, which can help minimize acne flare-ups. Foods high in B2 include leafy, green vegetables, meat, milk, eggs, whole grains and fish. Vitamin B3 is believed to improve circulation, reduce cholesterol, and help metabolize protein, fat and sugar. B3 is found in peanuts, eggs and avocados.
Vitamin E is another essential vitamin for skin health. It is known for its antioxidant effects, which enhance tissue repair and healing. Vitamin E can be consumed by eating peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, and broccoli.
Vitamin C promotes cellular repair, boosts immunity, fights infection, and acne. To increase your Vitamin C intake eat plenty of citrus fruits including oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, kiwis, and tomatoes.
Zinc is a mineral that helps heal the skin, prevent scarring caused by acne, and skin damage from free radicals. Add eggs, whole grains, nuts and mushrooms to increase zinc in your diet.
Chromium helps minimize acne by reducing infections on the skin. A diet high in sugar is linked with lower levels of chromium. Chromium is in beef, liver, eggs, chicken, oysters, wheat germ, green peppers, apples, bananas and spinach.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, salmon, and ground flax seed, along with chromium, zinc, and selenium were found to have both anti-acne and mood regulating properties according to an acne study conducted at the Lasky Skin Clinic, (Beverly Hills, CA), in 2008.
Super Foods for Healthy Clear Skin
Loaded with vitamins A, B complex, C, E K, as well as manganese, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, protein, folate, and phosphorus, kale is really good for you and your skin.
Vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and K in broccoli repair damaged skin tissue, while the omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and folate support the proper functioning of skin cells.
The vegetable proteins, calcium, healthy unsaturated fats, antioxidants, iron, copper and manganese in tofu combine to give you healthy skin.
As already mentioned citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, which facilitate the body's production of collagen, a protein that forms the basic structure of your skin keeping it firm. Consume oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, and cherries, to help tighten the skin and prevent wrinkles.
Orange, Green and Red Vegetables
Orange vegetables including carrots and sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A, the antioxidant that prevents cell damage, premature aging and acne. Spinach and other green, leafy vegetables will help your skin produce new cells, get rid of the old ones, reduce dryness and keeping your face looking fresh. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which stimulates skin circulation.
Whole Grains and Brown Rice
Steady blood sugar levels are associated with skin health. Processed sugar and flour can cause an insulin spike, which in turn can encourage acne. Consider switching processed white carbohydrates for whole grains, whole wheat and brown rice.
They are a good source of B vitamins, protein, selenium and magnesium, and contain several antioxidants that help to regulate your sugar levels by releasing energy slowly overtime.
Great news for chocolate lovers, dark chocolate does not cause acne. In fact, it is believed to help skin stay hydrated and protected from sun damage. The most effective chocolate for your skin should have at least 60 percent cacao.
Nuts and Seeds
Pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts contain zinc and selenium. Selenium increases the fighting power and white blood cell count to better fight infections, including those on your face, while vitamin E, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium and iron in nuts and seeds are essential to good skin health and function.
Berries are rich in antioxidants, which we already know are great for your skin. The fiber in dark berries help to regulate insulin production as well.
Water flushes toxins out of your body and replenishes your skin cells. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and more after exercise.
Rich in powerful antioxidants and polyphenol, green tea keeps you and your skin healthy. Studies indicate that along with protecting you against cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and facilitating weight loss, green teas also help prevent skin cancer and signs of aging. Antioxidants bind to free radicals and deactivate them before they can cause harm to your skin. The polyphenols in green teas, namely catechins, are effective against skin inflammation, acne, and cancerous changes in the skin.
Acne is unwelcomed at any age, but especially for tweens and teens who are already self-conscious with the changes taking place in their bodies. The hormonal fluctuations during this time are believed to contribute to acne out outbreaks. As a nutritionist I believe that eating a healthy balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish and vegetables proteins, whole grains, and low fat dairy provides us with all the essential vitamins and nutrients for overall good health. It should come as no surprise that these foods are also good for our skin. Add daily physical activity for even greater health benefits.
Stella Chan Marinaro
Nutritionist at International SOS
MS, B.Ed, BS
Suite 105, Wing 1, Kunsha Building,16 Xinyuanli
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100027
Tel: + 86 10 6462 9112, Fax: + 86 10 6462 0495
Beijing Assistance Centre:+86 (0) 10 64629100
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