Here is the second installment of our Healthy Skin series. To catch up on what you may have missed, visit Healthy Skin: Part One!
Choose foods every day that contain essential nutrients for beautiful, healthy skin. Consider some of the options below…
Carotenoids found in beta-carotene, and lycopene are another source of strong antioxidants. Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangos and papaya are good sources of beta-carotene that help protect skin from harmful UV rays. Lycopene is a bright red pigment found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons and papayas (but not strawberries or cherries).
Vitamin D is synthesized from sunlight in our skin and plays a number of essential roles in our body. One role that we don’t often hear about is protecting the skin from aging and possibly skin cancer. Vitamin D is added to milk and some types of yogurt, and is naturally found in high amounts in cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon and tuna.
Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that protect the skin against UV-induced inflammation, oxidative stress and DNA damage. Polyphenols are found in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, with grapes, apples, pears and cherries containing large amounts. Coffee and green tea are also good sources of polyphenols.
Curcumin is found in the popular Indian spice turmeric, which is often used in cooking to add yellow color and a distinctive flavor. Curcumin is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can help reduce the effects of oxidative stress to our skin.
Essential fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, flaxseed, hemp oil, soybean oil, canola oil, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, walnuts, sesame seeds, and avocado are associated with improved skin appearance, including less wrinkles and dryness.
7 Tips for Healthy and Beautiful Skin:
- Drink 1 gallon of water or unsweetened green tea each day to keep your skin hydrated.
- Eat a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables for a wide range of antioxidants.
- Choose 100% whole grains that are higher in minerals and antioxidants. Consider sprouting grains and seeds for increased zinc absorption.
- Include seafood, especially salmon, in your weekly food choices.
- Sprinkle nuts and seeds on salads and cereal, or use as snacks.
- Choose yogurt that is fortified with vitamin D.
- Use tumeric to flavor foods such as rice, curries, soup, or smoothies.
By Lynn Grieger RDN, CDE, CPT, CWC
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.