There's more to caring for your skin than just applying lotion. Having a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet can help your skin look beautiful and stay healthy. ShopSmart magazine compiled a list of six skin-smart diet tweaks that you should keep in mind for your next trip to the grocery store.
1. Load up on antioxidant-rich produce
Include some of these fruits and vegetables in your diet to get your vitamin A, C, and E: bell peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, berries, oranges, and pomegranates. The antioxidants in these foods help keep the skin cells healthy and protect collagen and elastin from being degraded.
2. Mind your minerals
It's easy to forget minerals, but they are essential for healthy skin. Get more zinc in your diet by adding oysters, crab, beef, poultry, kidney beans and fortified cereals. Zinc has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, and protects it from collagen degradation. Selenium has antioxidant properties that help protect the skin from wrinkles, sagging and sun damage. Get your daily serving with Brazilian nuts, fish, poultry, couscous, and oat bran. If your skin is in need of repair, eat more clams, soybeans, lentils, spinach, and beef liver; they are rich in iron and will aid in skin repair.
3. Get your omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, walnuts, canola oil, flaxseeds, and omega-3-fortified eggs, can bolster the skin barrier and decrease inflammation in the skin. Chronic, low-grade inflammation, which is invisible to the eye, can destroy collagen and elastin. So have fish for dinner tonight: stick with low-mercury, high-omega-3 species such as sardines, wild salmon, herring and Pollack.
4. Eat less sugar
Eating too many highly processed or sugary foods can raise your blood sugar and your insulin. But what does that mean for your skin? Too much sugar can trigger chronic, low-grade inflammation at the cellular level. You don’t have to give up sweets, just eat them in moderation. And if you crave something sweet, eat a small piece of dark chocolate, which is loaded with protective antioxidants.
5. Choose the right proteins
Which are the right proteins? Your body needs amino acids, the building blocks for the maintenance and repair of skin tissue. Different amino acids help construct collagen, the scaffold that gives skin its structure, or create lubricating ceramides, which help the skin hold onto water. Eat more lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy products to get those essential amino acids.
6. Think about your drinks
Staying optimally hydrated by drinking enough water so that your urine is light-colored is important. But gulping down glasses and glasses of water every day can become boring. One tip to stay hydrated is to sip green tea. Research suggests that the epigallocatechin gallate green tea contains offers some protection against DNA damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and triggers anti-tumor activity by the body’s immune system.