When it comes to nourishing and protecting your skin, what you eat is as important—if not more so—than what you put on it. Assuming you don’t smoke, a well-rounded, healthy diet that steers clear of many of the staples in the Standard American Diet should repay you with a fresh, glowing complexion that makes you look years younger than you are!
Controlling Free Radicals and Acne
Antioxidant-rich foods have the capacity of seeking out and destroying free radicals, which are unstable molecules that make their way through the body, stealing from our healthy cells in an effort to become complete. While they are naturally occurring in the body to some extent, environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also spawn free radicals.
Normally, the body can handle free radicals, but if your diet is lacking antioxidants or free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Free radical damage accumulates with age and is a major contributor to wrinkles. By making sure your diet is chock full of the following nutrients, you can provide optimal support of healthy skin. If acne is something you struggle with, you may also benefit by cutting out high-glycemic foods like refined grains and processed sugar, as well as milk and vegetable oil; they can bring on blemishes.
Omega-3s — Cold-water oily fish are loaded with anti-inflammatory EPA and DHA; look to mackerel, salmon, anchovies, and sardines for the best complexion benefits.
Vitamin A — Antioxidant-rich vitamin A is abundant in dark leafy vegetables and dark orange vegetables. Dark leafy greens are also high in fiber, which slows blood sugar production.
Vitamin C — Antioxidant-rich vitamin C is found in papaya, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, pineapple, Brussels sprouts, and of course, oranges and grapefruit.
Vitamin E — Antioxidant-rich vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, dark leafy greens, papaya, asparagus, and bell peppers.
Selenium — Critical in the production of a glutathione, a substance that combats free radicals, you can find selenium in tuna, cod, halibut, shrimp, salmon, and turkey, barley, and lamb.
Antioxidants — You can’t go wrong by loading up on berries, green tea, and such purple and deep red foods as acai, pomegranates, purple carrots, black grapes, and beets. The latter contain anthocyanins, which help promote blood flow to the skin.
Fiber — Whole grains help combat inflammatory responses in your body that can trigger a breakout.
Zinc — Found in oysters, crab, lean meats, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds, zinc helps reduce oil production that can lead to acne.
Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles: Eat Your Way to Firmer, More Beautiful Skin with the 100 Best Anti-Aging Foods by Allison Tannis, MS
Author’s content used under license, © 2012 Sprouted Content, LLC