24 Apr 7 Tips to Eat Your Way to Healthy Skin from NYC Registered Dietitian
Summer is just around the corner, and we’ve already got our sights set on swimming pools, beaches, and spending time outside after this long period of hibernation. We’ll be shedding off layers of sweaters and jackets and getting our long-needed Vitamin D fix.
There are few things that are better indicators than health than skin, teeth, hair and nails. In fact, beauty is a pretty great side effect of healthy eating and exercise habits. Keeping skin healthy and protected is an inside-out, outside-in job, and there’s nothing more age-defying than great eating habits.
Here are 7 nutrition tips to healthy skin.
- Wear sunscreen. Every day. No exception. Winter, spring, summer and fall. This is a skincare tip that every single one of us, regardless of race, age, or gender, must apply. (Don’t forget your lips!! Apply a sunscreen lip balm.)
- Protect yourself from the sun, inside-out. Vitamins C and E can help reduce the effects of sun damage. We don’t have the ability to make our own Vitamin C, and it is essential for the synthesis of collagen, critical for brain function, required in the process of producing energy, and a highly effective antioxidant. Even small amounts of Vitamin C & E can protect indispensable molecules in the body from free radicals (sun, pollution, smoking). Free radicals age our skin. Guava, broccoli, papaya and peppers and a whole assortment of other fruits and vegetables are packed with Vitamin C. Vitamin E-rich foods include vegetables oils, olives, seeds, nuts, and asparagus. Five servings of fruits and vegetables, every day, can make your skin glow!
- Think color! The more colorful your plate, the more variety of fruits and vegetables, the healthier your skin. For instance, carotenoids are yellow, orange, and red pigments synthesized by plants (pumpkin, carrots, paprika, tomatoes etc.) that maintain the integrity of the skin and protect the eyes from macular degeneration. Leafy greens (spinach, kale, mustard greens) are rich in skin-nourishing Vitamin K and anti-inflammatory properties. Purple veggies and fruits (blueberries, raspberries, beets and red cabbage) are packed with anthocyanins. Anthocyanins have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties – ideal for skin and sun protection. Each color brings something different to the table – flavor-wise – and something different to your body, nutrient-wise! A great way, and more economical way, to do this is to buy produce in-season.
- Let’s get some fats. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats (found in oily fish, walnut, flaxseed and rapeseed oils, sunflower seeds, and nuts) are essential fatty acids. This means our bodies do not make them but need them. (Essential is the key term here!). These powerful fats help our bodies keep our skin moist and glowing as well as produce anti-inflammatory compounds, which, in turn, help our bodies treat acne, eczema, and other skin problems.
- Reduce sugar consumption. There are naturally-occurring sugars and added sugars, the latter being problematic. Sugar is, hands down, the number one cause of chronic disease and cancer in America. Sugar, too, takes a toll on skin. Simple carbs (refined sugars, white breads, and most of those highly-processed glossy packages at the grocery story) cause insulin levels to soar. This charge can damage collagen, impacting the elasticity of skin and causing to sag, all the while exacerbating skin problems. Find a way to curb the craving for sugars with healthy substitutes and see the difference in your skin.
- Drink up! When you’re dehydrated, your skin shows it (flaky, dry skin is one sign of dehydration). Good hydration – meaning water – keeps skin elastic and glowing. Steer clear of sugar-laden juices. Set clear water intake goals. Make drinking water part of your everyday health and nutrition routine.
- Ditch the diet. Please. Yo-yo dieting ages skin. When crash dieting, you lose essential nutrients for healthy skin. And weight cycling causes stretch marks and wrinkles.
Healthy, glowing skin is a sign of great nutrition. So, pile your plate with color, drink up, and see the difference in your skin. Summer is almost here!