Fab Five: Nutrients for Glowing Skin
Problematic skin is something that most people have dealt with at some point, whether it is the odd spot, dry skin, oily skin, dull skin or persistent acne. All of these conditions can make us feel rather lacklustre and can cause serious self confidence issues. Having struggled with skin issues since my early teens I truly have been there and tried everything, the frustration it caused me when yet another "solution" didn't work was terrible. There are millions of skincare products out there claiming to work wonders on your skin - and don't get me wrong, a great skincare routine is essential, but that is a topic for another day! However the single most important thing you can do for your complexion is to nourish it from within. Getting the glow starts from feeding your skin will all the wonderful nutrients it needs to do its thing, it is the largest organ in your body so it needs some proper nourishment! So today I am going to talk you through five fab nutrients that will help you work towards healthy, clear, glowing skin.
1. Zinc: An essential mineral that is key to so many functions in our body, in our skin it promotes healing, has anti-inflammatory effects and helps our cell membranes. Research is showing that zinc may be beneficial for acne sufferers, a study found that people with severe acne had significantly lower zinc levels than those with normal skin! Many people find that upping their zinc intake improves their skin, it is likely that zinc helps heal blemishes and reduces the inflammation in the complexion that is a major part of acne. To increase your zinc intake, include foods such as beef, lamb, crab, lobster, oysters, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, cashews and even dark chocolate!
2. Vitamin C: As I said in my Fab Five Nutrients for Immunity post, vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants, meaning that it neutralises free radicals that cause stress to your cells. It is extremely popular in ant-ageing skincare for its ability to brighten the skin, repair damage, protect from UV rays and boost collagen production. It is also essential in your diet and works from the inside-out to repair your skin cells, prevent further damage and boost your skins elasticity - leaving the cells healthy and glowing. Bell peppers, citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, tomatoes and kiwis are all great sources of vitamin C!
3. Vitamin E: Another great antioxidant, this vitamin also detoxifies and protects the skin. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory, moisturiser and it promotes wound healing. Vitamin E prevents water loss across your skin cell barriers, working alongside your water intake to keep the cells plump and happy. Overall vitamin E repairs your cells and maintains them in great condition - keeping your skin calm, hydrated and healthy. Some great sources of vitamin E include almonds, sweet potato, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, spinach, kale, avocado and vegetable and nut oils.
4. Essential Fatty Acids: Otherwise known as your omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, your body cannot make these itself and so relies on the foods you eat. They are beneficial to our bodies for so many reasons, one of their main effects is to reduce inflammation. In the skin this means that they calm the tissue and help repair it, reducing the redness and irritation associated with conditions such as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and acne. They also balance your skin's moisture levels, reducing oil and also reducing dryness! Lastly, they are part of the top layer of the skin that protects it from the outside world, so they are indeed essential! Eat a diet rich in fish (particularly mackerel, tuna and salmon), walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseed, rapeseed oil, nuts, seeds and dark green leafy vegetables.
5. Vitamin A: You may have heard of vitamin A used in skincare products - retinols and roaccutane are both forms of vitamin A that are proven to help skin texture and acne. This is because it stimulates cell production and turnover which keeps your skin looking fresh and youthful. It is just as beneficial in our diet, in fact, severe vitamin A deficiency is known to cause some rather nasty skin conditions. It is also another antioxidant, reducing inflammation and keeping the skin generally healthy. The good news is, it is fairly easy to reach your recommended intake as there are quite a few foods that are packed with it! Carrots, sweet potato, kale, red peppers and liver are all great sources.
One thing to note is that while the following things are particularly vital for your skin, there are a wide range of other vitamins and minerals that your skin needs and so the overall best thing you can do is to eat a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, lean proteins and low in processed foods. Once again, the standard balanced diet is always the answer! I am by no means saying that this will be a complete cure for your skin and in fact, the occasional spot is normal, but diet is undoubtedly linked to skin health and so we should nourish our skin as much as possible. A good skincare routine is also essential to maximise that glow, if you are interested in a post on skincare then let me know!