Last updated by Dr Sarah Brewer on
Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of healthy living, accompanied by a healthy amount of exercise and rest. This is especially true of your skin which rapidly reflects whether or not you are following a healthy diet.
Nutrition and Skincare
The repair and reconstruction of skin tissue is dependent upon good nutrition and an adequate intake of key nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids play a vital role in the formation and maintenance of healthy skin, as does maintaining good hydration.
Collagen, for example, which is the main structural protein in skin, is made up of amino acids that are ultimately derived from your diet, making a good protein intake necessary for tight and healthy skin. The following vitamins and minerals are also necessary for maintaining healthy skin. You can learn more about skincare and nutrition from Facing Acne.
Top 7 vitamins and minerals most beneficial for your skin
You need to consume the following vitamins and minerals a daily basis if you want healthy and glowing skin, day in and day out.
You may have heard of the role that Vitamin D plays in the toning and darkening of the skin. However, you may not know that Vitamin D is also what causes the regeneration of new, healthy cells in the body. Ultraviolet light from the sun is needed for the production of Vitamin D in the skin, and this uses cholesterol as fuel for its production.
Too much ultraviolet light is detrimental to skin health, of course, and is the main cause of skin cancer. This is why it is advised to use sunscreen lotion when there is a chance of prolonged sun exposure.
Dietary sources of vitamin D include oily fish, liver, eggs, fortified dairy foods and supplements.
Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, which is the cement of the skin; holding the skin tissue together and lending it the elastic properties that help to combat wrinkles. Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant in the skin, helping to neutralise free radicals and ensuring that carcinogenic compounds do not adhere to cell membranes.
Good sources of vitamin C include berries, citrus, kiwi fruit, guava, mango, bell peppers and green leaves. Apples also supply useful amounts.
Zinc contributes to skin health in two main ways. Firstly, it helps to reduce acne and its onset, and secondly, it is useful as a sun protection system. Zinc is also one of the most worthwhile nutrients for regulating hormones in the body which play a role in skin regeneration and maintenance.
Food sources of zinc include seafood, red meat, wholegrains, pulses, eggs and dairy foods.
Vitamin K has amazingly helpful properties when it comes to maintaining normal skin tone. It helps to reduce dark circles around the eyes, and allows the body to repair damaged and broken capillaries. It is included in many topical creams used to treat rosacea, for example.
You can obtain vitamin K from green leaves (eg lettuce, spinach, broccoli), cauliflower, liver, eggs and meat. It’s also found in fermented foods such as yoghurt, cheese and natto.
Another useful mineral that the body and particularly the skin benefits from, is selenium. Selenium plays an active role in antioxidant enzymes that protect the skin from premature ageing and the development of age spots. It helps to protect against toxic substances and free radicals, and has a purifying effect on the skin. Selenium also works together with vitamin E to boost antibody production and to reduce the symptoms of acne.
The selenium content of food depends on the soils on which they are grown or reared, and in many parts of Europe, including the UK, selenium intakes are low. One of the best sources is Brazil nuts, and it is also found in fish, poultry, game meats, wholegrains and mushrooms.
This may sound like an odd mineral to include in the list, but sulfur is one of the most abundant minerals in the body and is present in large concentrations in the skin and its associated structures, the hair and nails.
Sulphur is also a powerful cleanser, and has been used since ancient times for the beneficial properties that it has towards skin maintenance and bacteria prevention. Sulfur can also help the body manufacture more collagen, which supports the skin.
Eggs, meat, poultry, fish, onions, leeks and garlic are among the best food sources of sulfur.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin is one nutrient that is needed by the rapidly dividing cells in the basal layers of the skin, hair follicles and nail beds. It helps to firm and tone the skin and contributes to a healthy, glowing look. Folic acid is especially important during pregnancy and for nursing mothers as a go-to skin and hair care tonic.
Folic acid is more easily absorbed and used in the body than folate, and is obtained from fortified foods and supplements. Natural folates are found in green leaves, eggs, wholegrains, beans, and yeast extract.
Vitamins and minerals are needed for just about every body function and deficiencies show up first in the skin. When these micronutrients are in short supply, the body prioritises them for use by the brain and other vital organs so the skin loses out. It’s therefore important to follow a healthy diet to obtain adequate intakes to help maintain a healthy skin glow.
Image credits: pixabay
Source: This guest article was provided by Facing Acne.