10 Ways to Eat Your Way to Better Skin

If you’re tired of spending copious amounts of money on skin products, look no further. Save money by simply changing your diet for the long run to have radiant, soft and glowing skin just by eating a healthy and delicious plant based diet!

Did you know that our skin can often predict our health status and it is linked to the foods we place in our bodies? Free radicals cause damage to our skin and come from unhealthy foods, poor sun exposure, not enough sleep, and smoking. These toxic cells steal electrons from healthy atoms in our bodies and create chaos in our bodies. We can reverse these effects by adding in antioxidant rich foods which donate electrons to create stable atoms and in return, nicer looking skin. Anti-aging really is possible! Stock up on foods bursting with the nutrients listed below to eat your way to better skin.

Iron
Iron is an essential nutrient for reducing oxidative stress caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Reactive oxygen species are unstable cells known to cause damage in the body and promote wrinkling. By adding in iron rich foods you can reverse environmental damages that promote reactive oxygen species like ultraviolet (UV) rays, pollution and alcohol. Main food sources of iron include beans, lentils, tofu, dark leafy greens and whole grains. The Wholesome app is a great reference tool for finding which foods are the richest in various nutrients like iron and for allows you to track your micronutrients.

 Wholesome app: Top food sources richest in iron (left), Nutrition tracker (right)

Wholesome app: Top food sources richest in iron (left), Nutrition tracker (right)

Looking for the app on Android? Find out when it releases here.

Vitamin A Derivatives
Beta carotene, a Vitamin A derivative, is found to reduce erythema, a condition where the skin becomes red from dilation of blood vessels. Erythema is often caused by UV rays, medications, pregnancy and multiple medical conditions. Astaxanthin is another Vitamin A derivative that can be found in skin products because of its effect against wrinkling and sagging skin. Looking to add more Vitamin A in your diet? Try incorporating carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, spinach and broccoli.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant filled with skin fighting abilities. Studies have found that people with Vitamin C deficiencies often have higher chances of wrinkled and damaged skin! Dermatologists recommend it due to its role in collagen production in the body which creates elasticity in your skin. Still not convinced this antioxidant is a must have in your daily diet? Vitamin C is also found to help with reducing skin pigmentation changes by donating electrons to help stabilize free radicals in our bodies and prevent further destruction to our cells. Foods containing Vitamin C include strawberries, kiwis, oranges, papayas and bell peppers.

Zinc
This trace mineral is found highly concentrated in our skin and is a key micronutrient for repairing tissue. This mighty mineral is also well known to reduce inflammation, help with skin pigmentation conditions and treat infections. People with severe acne are sometimes prescribed Zinc sulfate as an oral treatment to reduce breakouts. Find an abundance of Zinc in spinach, cashews, pumpkin seeds, beans and mushrooms.

Essential Fatty Acids
Long chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, or PUFA for short, help with creating tissue lipids and reducing inflammation from UV rays. If you’re looking for more subtle skin and reduced wrinkle formation, load up on fatty acids to reduce dryness! Foods high in essential fatty acids include sunflower seeds, walnuts, oils, dark leafy greens and whole grains.

Polyphenols
Often found in proclaimed “super foods”, polyphenols are micronutrients filled with antioxidants that maintain cell survival and fight disease. Resveratrol, a common polyphenol found in wine has anti-aging properties by creating new cells and preventing collagen from breaking and losing our skin’s natural shape. Topical green tea polyphenols contain other skin fighting properties that help with reducing inflammation, erythema and UV damaged edema. Try incorporating cocoa, berries, walnuts, green tea and grapes into your diet for more polyphenols!

Niacin
Niacin, Niacinamide, nictonic acid or B3, there are many names this multiverse vitamin goes by. From strengthening skin to improving dryness and reducing damage you can count on niacin to do all the above! Make sure to stay within the RDI limits however, as overdosed levels can result in reddened skin. Add niacin rich food sources like peanuts, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, peas and avocados to your meals today.

Selenium
If you keep forgetting your sunscreen (although I highly suggest you apply it daily), try integrating the trace element Selenium into your daily routine. Selenium has a photoprotective effect which helps keep our skin from damaging against harmful UV rays. Sunburnt skin results in wrinkling, so make sure to load up on brazil nuts, chia seeds, mushrooms, beans or brown rice for added protection.

Vitamin E
Say hello to Vitamin E, an antioxidant known to neutralize free radicals in our bodies and impair skin. Vitamin E does this by preventing free radicals from causing destruction in lipid cells. When deficient in this vitamin our body can cause edema (swelling due to fluids accumulation), dry skin and depigmentation. Add in Vitamin E rich foods like almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes, wheat germ and sunflower seeds for all the benefits mentioned!

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is known to protect our skin from apoptosis and blocks stress activated protein kinases to stop our skin cells from dying. Studies even suggest that Vitamin D may protect us from skin cancer. If you have wounds, Vitamin D is essential to induce repair and healing. Other than the sun, mushrooms, fortified milks, fortified cereals and oatmeal are other excellent sources to include in your daily diet.

 

Although you can get these nutrients from USP certified supplements, it is always best to eat whole foods due to added health benefits such as fiber and to prevent toxic overdosing. Use the Wholesome App today to determine recipes rich in the top 10 micronutrients listed above or to track your diet to see if you are meeting your daily nutrient requirements!

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The Wholesome App even includes recipes and scores them on how healthy they are so you can be confident knowing the meals you made are nutrient dense. If you notice micronutrient deficiencies or skin problems arising please see a Registered Dietitian, Dermatologist or Doctor for further information.