Nutrients that Nourish Your Skin
Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine.” This goes through my mind frequently as my self-pep-talk for fitting in those green drinks and salads on a regular basis. I feel a million times better when my day has been filled with vegetables, healthy grains and protein rather than chips and pasta. Our diets greatly influence our skin’s health, which tends to react poorly when fed a diet of junk food and looks great when fed lots of wholesome, antioxidant-rich food. When faced with skin issues, we tend to want to find quick fixes in the form of cosmetics and topical skin care when the solution is more likely what we’re putting in our body rather than on it. Chow down on these ingredients for your best dermatology diet!
The inside scoop! Your skin loves…
Fermented foods and probiotic supplements will help repopulate your stomach with the healthy bacteria needed for absorbing nutrients and balancing the ‘bad’ bacteria that causes rashes, fungal infections and pimples. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi as well as dairy products like kefir and buttermilk.
Essential fatty acids
Omega-6 (linoleic acid) and omega-3 (a-linolenic acid) fatty acids keep skin soft, smooth and glowing. They help build the skin’s natural barrier, which can be helpful in conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. They are also anti-inflammatory, which helps to prevent premature aging in the skin. They can be found in nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, olives and most plant-based oils as well as oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardine, herring and mackerel.
Fruits and vegetables
The more of these alkaline foods you can add to your diet, the better. They contain an array of vitamins and antioxidants to support the functions of your skin. For instance, vitamin C, found in broccoli and kiwi fruit, helps build collagen, the substance that keeps skin firm. If you’re not a huge vegetable eater, invest in a juicer so you can get all the nutrients you need in one shot.
These foods can cause inflammation, accelerated aging and are also known allergens so keep them to a minimum in your diet:
- Fried food
- Hydrogenated Fat
Foods that work inside and out
I’m pretty much obsessed with lemon right now. It is so easy to squeeze them in water and it adds a refreshing flavor that I know will benefit my body in many ways. It helps digest food and detoxes the liver. It is especially helpful to people who suffer from hormonal acne because it helps process the excess hormones in the liver that cause the overproduction of sebum. If you are prone to eruptions, make sure to include at least a quarter lemon in your daily routine, ideally in the morning with a glass of water before you eat.
Fats are essential for skin health. Without them, you would have dry, dull, flaking skin. Avocado is full of healthy fats with up to 70% oleic acid (omega 9). They keep your skin healthy and hydrated by strengthening its protective barrier, keeping moisture in and harmful substances out. Avocado is also an abundant source of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. It is the perfect addition to salads and makes smoothies extra creamy.
Flax oil, also known as linseed oil, contains 55% a-linolenic acid (omega 3) and 22% linoleic acid (omega 6). Both of these fatty acids have the ability to make skin look soft and renewed and can treat stubborn dermal inflammations such as eczema. It can be taken in a capsule or added to salad dressing. Eating the ground seeds is also beneficial so try and add it to your smoothie, salads and oatmeal.
Turmeric is known for its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, mostly credited to the yellow pigments called curcuminoids. People take it to treat a multitude of inflammatory conditions such as chronic digestive disorders, joint pain and psoriasis. It’s traditionally formed into a paste to treat fungal infections such as ringworm and some people swear by it to calm rosacea flare-ups. Its high antioxidant content makes it a perfect skin-healthy addition to your food.
Good enough to eat!
Avocado, Flax and Turmeric Hydrating Mask
- ½ avocado
- 1 tsp of flax oil
- 1 tsp of honey
- ¼ tsp of turmeric
Mash avocado with a fork until smooth. Add honey and turmeric. Spread over entire face, avoiding eye area. Leave on skin for at least 15 minutes and remove with water.
Lemon Cold Sore Treatment
Lemon can be used on the skin to combat minor cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus because it has anti-viral properties. Applying the lemon juice straight works but it can sting so diluting in healing honey is recommended.
- 1 tbsp of honey
- pinch of turmeric
- 1 tsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice
Mix together and apply frequently until cold sore is gone.
It’s no wonder that the beauty industry is a billion dollar one. We look to creams, ointments and serums to solve all our skin issues. If we took a step back, we would see that many of our complaints can be solved by choosing the right foods for our body and skin on a daily basis. If you suffer from something in particular, keep a food diary to determine what could be creating flare-ups and what could help clear them up.