Ever wondered what the ‘secret’ to radiant glowing skin is? The beauty industry tends to promise us eternal youth with a new product or super hero ingredient however the most important factor to healthy skin is ensuring that your skin is being fed the right nutrients. If we lack certain nutrients in our diet, eat junk food or have malabsorption or digestive problems our skin is the first organ of the body to suffer. Nutrients nourish the skin inside & out, making it appear radiant, glowing and healthy.
The following nutrients are among the very best to consume for healthy, radiant skin:
1: Vitamin B: B is for Beautiful
Vitamin B is essential to skin health. The B vitamins work synergistically together, if you are low in one, you tend to be low in all of them.
Vitamin B is easily destroyed by food processing, stress, medications, poor digestion so a daily supplementation may be required for deficiency risk individuals. Vitamin B is contained in foods such as green vegetables, beans, peas, meat, fish, and dairy products. So eat up!
Vitamin B deficiency signs: Brown or white skin discolouration, redness and irritation in the skin, particularly around the nose and mouth, cracks at the corners of the mouth.
2: Silica: S is for Strong
Silica is a trace mineral that strengthens the body’s connective tissue; muscles, tendons, hair, ligaments, nails, cartilage, and bone, and is vital for healthy skin. It helps you have strong healthy nails and bones – so it’s very important for you to feel healthy from the inside out.
Food sources of silica include: leeks, green beans, garbanzo beans, strawberries, cucumber, mango, celery, asparagus and rhubarb.
Silica deficiency signs: Weak, brittle hair and nails, Skin lacking elasticity and firmness
3: Zinc: Z is for Zest
The mineral zinc is an important component of healthy skin, especially for acne, open pores and stretch marks. In fact, acne itself may be a symptom of zinc deficiency. Zinc acts by controlling the production of oil in the skin, and may also help control some of the hormones that create acne. Zinc is also required for proper immune system function, tissue repair, as well as for the maintenance of vision, taste, and smell.
Foods rich in zinc include fresh oysters, pumpkin seeds, ginger, pecans, Brazil nuts, oats, and eggs. Zinc can be purchased in supplement form, in both liquid concentrates and tablets.
Zinc deficiency signs: White flecks in the nails, acne, purple marking in the skin after breakouts or trauma, Stretch marks.
4: Fatty Acids, Omega 3: F is for Fat
If you have dry, inflamed or devitalised skin or you suffers from the frequent appearance of whiteheads or blackheads you can benefit from supplementing with Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs are responsible for skin repair, moisture content, and overall flexibility of our cells but because the body cannot produce its own EFAs, they must be obtained through the diet.
The typical Australian diet is overabundant in pro inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids found in baked goods, cooking oils and grains, and lacking in omega-3s. Omega 3’s are found in cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel, as well as vegetable sources such as flaxseeds. Simply balancing the intake of omega-6s with omega-3s by increasing your fresh fish consumption can result in smoother, younger-looking skin.
EFAs are also available in supplement form – such as fish oil capsules or flax seed oil – and are effective at assisting to treat a wide range of disorders, from depression and cancer to arthritis and heart disease. Fish oil supplements come in varying degrees of purity and quality and I would recommend staying away from large bargain tubs of lesser quality oil. If you find you suffer from reflux after consuming fish oil supplements, it may be a sign that you have poor quality oil that has been exposed to oxidation or rancidity. Look to purchase oils from a reputable practitioner or health food store and keep your oils in a fridge to prevent rancidity.
Good sources of omega-3 oils include chia seeds, flax seeds and, for non-vegetarians, wild-harvested fish oils.
EFA deficiency signs: Dandruff, dull skin, dehydration and dryness, Sensitivity, keratosis pilaris (chicken skin appearance on the backs of the arms and legs)
5: Vitamin C: C is for Collagen
Vitamin C is highly effective at reducing free radical damage, such as that caused by overexposure to the sun or pollution. Free radicals consume collagen and elastin – the fibres that support skin structure – and can cause wrinkles and other signs of premature aging.
Vitamin C is especially effective at protecting the skin from premature ageing especially when combined with vitamin E. Foods high in vitamin C include berries, red and green peppers, citrus fruits, kale, parsley, collard greens, turnips, and broccoli.
Vitamin C deficiency signs: Premature ageing, brown marks, dull skin, dilated capillaries & highly vascular conditions.
Ditch the processed foods, artificial trans fats and include a variety of these healthy foods daily and your skin will be sure to thank you.