Your first step when you need help with healthy skin? Examine what you’re putting into your body.
Research suggests that a nutritious diet, one that’s high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats, not only keeps your body healthy in other ways but can also help keep you looking good. What you eat and don’t eat, and whether or not you smoke, has a huge impact on your skin.
According to the Mayo Clinic, antioxidant-rich foods – such as yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, spinach and other leafy greens, tomatoes, blueberries, beans, peas and lentils, salmon, mackerel, other fatty fish and nuts – seem to protect skin. Conversely, it says, research suggests eating processed or refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats can actually promote skin aging.
Specifically, some of the vitamins and minerals you take in when eating a nutritious diet can help reduce red or dry skin, dark spots, rough patches and wrinkles:
- Vitamin A promotes skin healing and keeps skin from being rough and dry.
- B Vitamins, sometimes called the “anti-stress vitamins,” help preserve the quality of your healthy skin and prevent it from aging. A Vitamin B deficiency can lead to acne, cracked lips, dryness, wrinkles, rashes and an uneven complexion.
- Vitamin C helps form collagen, heal wounds, and hydrate and protect skin from sun damage. Diets high in Vitamin C have been associated with less wrinkling.
- Vitamin E helps protect skin from free radical damage, including wrinkles; it can also protect against UV light/sun damage.
- Vitamin K speeds up skin healing and can decrease both wrinkling and hyperpigmentation.
- Zinc improves wound healing and protects against UV radiation.
But don’t think you need to load up your shopping cart with supplements. Most scientists agree it’s far better to get your vitamins and minerals by eating a variety of healthy foods.
Work on your healthy skin by checking labels and selecting vitamin- and mineral-fortified choices when you buy foods such as breakfast cereal, soy milk, orange juice and yogurt. Good sources of Vitamin A include carrots, sweet potato, kale and other dark leafy greens, milk, eggs and broccoli. For Vitamin C, make sure you’re including citrus foods like oranges and orange juice, broccoli, spinach and strawberries in your diet. Eat salmon, tuna and cod for Vitamin D, and up your intake of nuts and seeds such as almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds if you’re concerned about Vitamin E. Kale, lettuce, spinach, cabbage and green beans all contain Vitamin K.