Information Provided By: Kaira Punjabi
When it comes to establishing healthy skin, it can be tempting to start stocking up on skincare products as your first step. However, one of the common culprits contributing to skin issues is your diet and what you eat. In fact, the best way to maintain healthy skin starts with your diet, minimising the impact of many common skin problems, including acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Eating healthier will make maintaining your skin a much easier journey as well.
Cover your basis with vitamin
Vitamins in general provide great benefits, including improving your immune system, enhancing your body’s ability to repair itself as well as protecting your skin from damage from the sun. Eating a healthy diet that "covers the rainbow" has a synergistic effect on the body. When Vitamin E is ingested with foods rich in Vitamin C, the results are even better. The intake of natural Vitamin E products helps against collagen cross-linking and lipid peroxidation, which are both linked to ageing of the skin.
Here are some of the most essential vitamins to include for better skin and how you can incorporate them into your daily diet.
Also most famously known as the sunshine vitamin as it is best absorbed through basking in the sunlight. Vitamin D provides anti-ageing benefits with research indicating that it also plays a significant role in reducing the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.
However, if getting regular sunlight isn’t an option due to location or seasonal factors, Vitamin D can also be consumed. The easiest way is to eat more oily fish and fatty seafood such as salmon, mackerel and oysters. For vegetarians, mushrooms are the only vegetables to contain Vitamin D.
Vitamin C doesn’t need much introduction, being responsible for your immunity and taking supplements for it can help reduce your risk of getting ill. This is perhaps the vitamin that can be easily integrated into your diet due to the different options available. However, it is also a water-soluble vitamin. This means that it is important to check that you take this vitamin daily as your body will not retain this vitamin in your body for long.
Citrus fruits are the most accessible source of Vitamin C. Do note that the peel is where most of the Vitamin C is! Make sure to infuse the peel in water to get its worth from the fruit.
Vitamin E is the vitamin that’s often found within our sebum (skin oil). It provides protection, maintains moisture in your skin, and keeps your skin soft. Vitamin E oil when applied directly to the face can help your skin looks younger.
If consumed, Vitamin E can also help improve your immunity and provide the foundation for healthy skin and eyes.
The best way to get Vitamin E includes eating almonds, avocado, sunflower seeds (and sunflower oil) by its’ extension, peanut and peanut butter, and pumpkins.
Load up on your minerals
Copper, Zinc and Selenium are minerals that help your body repair your skin and help regulate your hormones (especially estrogen!). Copper is a vital component that helps develop and maintain bone health and most of the body’s major organs (including the skin). Selenium and Zinc, on the other hand, are crucial to enabling the effects of Vitamin E and Vitamin A respectively.
While copper deficiency is unlikely since the human body only requires so little copper, it is a possibility and your doctor will likely inform you if you have copper deficiency by doing a blood test.
Please be aware that it is not recommended to take copper and zinc supplements together. If in doubt about whether your supplements can be mixed and matched, we recommend consulting a doctor.
Overwhelmed by all the information and trying to figure out how do you eat all these nutrients and minerals?
Let's start with the oldest question in the book: are you eating enough fruits and vegetables?
A lot of fruits and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants and can provide anti-ageing benefits as well. There is some truth in that eating an abundance of vegetables and fruits can help your skin glow!
One of the easiest ways to make sure you are getting a wide array of nutrients is to eat a rainbow as they usually say. If you feel overwhelmed about all the nutrients, this handy infographic below can help you decide on what to eat:
Source: Food Revolution Network
Don’t shun oily food
Healthy fat is one of the core components of healthy skin. While it can be good to cut down on fat that is found in deep-fried food or processed junk food, it is equally important to eat naturally fatty food such as salmon, beef and avocados.
Omega 3, most commonly found in oily fish like salmon, trouts and sardines, is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help improve certain skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.
Additionally, these fishes are also loaded up on selenium, which is known to keep your skin firm and elastic. Also, research indicates that it helps protect the skin from UV irradiation-induced stress.
Meanwhile, extremely rich food like beef, egg yolk and dark chocolate are loaded with Zinc, which has been known to support wound healing and reduce inflammations. This can help provide the foundation for having good skin.
Don’t miss out on soy and other legumes
Soy food products like tofu and tempeh include oestrogen, a different form of estrogen. Outside of being known as the hormones for the female reproductive system, consuming oestrogen can also help retain the skin’s basic biological structure.
Estrogen and oestrogen have research backing that shows there is a significant correlation between having a sufficient level of estrogen and delaying the effects of ageing. Additionally, research has also found that estrogen insufficiency is correlated to a lower amount of collagen found within the skin, a decreased elasticity, increased wrinkling and also a higher level of skin dryness.
Some of the common food that you can include to increase your oestrogen intake are soy-based products like tofu or soy milk. Certain legumes, including peas, chickpeas and kidney beans, can also offer a steady source of oestrogen.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Last but not the least, drinking enough water on a daily basis is extremely important. Dehydration is one of the common reasons why skin might be lacking glow. Experts recommend that we drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day.
As you get more dehydrated, your skin will lose its natural plumpness and elasticity. As a result, staying dehydrated over a long period of time can result in ageing faster, resulting in dry skin, more wrinkles and sagging.
Don’t know where to start? Look for an expert to help
When starting out your journey on eating healthier, it can be overwhelming. A nutritionist can help you make adjustments and figure out what your diet is lacking. They can also help keep you accountable when making these changes, making sure that you can make your life better and tackle the obstacles along the way.
1. Silke K. Schagen, Vasiliki A. Zampeli, Evgenia Makrantonaki and Christos C. Zouboulis. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermato-endocrinology. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23467449/
2. Get the facts: Vitamin D. National Eczema Association. (2022, January 5). Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://nationaleczema.org/blog/get-the-facts-vitamin-d/#:~:text=In%20a%20small%20study%20(11,significant%20improvement%20in%20their%20eczema.
3. Barrea, L., Savanelli, M. C., Di Somma, C., Napolitano, M., Megna, M., Colao, A., & Savastano, S. (2017, June). Vitamin D and its role in psoriasis: An overview of the dermatologist and nutritionist. Reviews in endocrine & metabolic disorders. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5486909/
4. Zhu, X, Jiang, M., Song, E., Jiang, X., Song, Y. (2015, January). Selenium deficiency sensitizes the skin for UVB-induced oxidative damage and inflammation which involved the activation of p38 MAPK signaling. Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25460360/
5. Food Revolution Network. (2022, June 17). Eat the Rainbow: Why Is it Important to Eat a Colorful Variety of Fruits and Vegetables? Food Revolution Network. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://foodrevolution.org/blog/eating-the-rainbow-health-benefits/