A healthy diet is important for the proper function of your organs including your skin. Perhaps, if the beauty industry emphasizes the importance of eating healthy, we might rely less on skincare products to give radiant skin. As more studies uncover the beneficial compounds in fresh fruits and vegetables, it is more evident that a plant-based diet can significantly improve our skin health. This article looks at how a plant-based diet can help achieve healthy skin.
Since your skin is constantly shedding older cells and replacing them with new ones, it requires a steady supply of key nutrients to support this regenerative process. By knowing the nutrients that benefit your skin, it is easier to eat your way to youthful skin. Here are the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to achieve youthful skin.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant that is important to skin health. It regulates keratin production (the most prominent substance in our skin cells), supports collagen development, and supports skin elasticity. Vitamin A also limits damages caused by exposure to UV rays by inhibiting the process that breaks down collagen. Vitamin A deficiency often leads to bumpy, itchy, and dry skin. Although there are dietary supplements for Vitamin A, you can easily get it from a variety of foods including avocados, collards, carrots, and sweet red pepper.
Collagen, a major component of your skin, plays a major role in strengthening your skin as well as hydrating it. When your body produces less collagen, your skin starts to age more. Vitamin C supports collagen production and aids wound healing. It is also a strong antioxidant, protecting your skin from harmful free radicals and lowering your chance of developing skin cancer. Foods with the highest source of vitamin C include broccoli, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and citrus fruits.
There are about 8 different B vitamins that make up the Vitamin B complex. Some vitamins include Vitamin B-3 (Niacin), Vitamin B-5(Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B-6(Pyridoxine), and B-9(Folic acid). These B vitamins aid the production of new, healthy cells in the body, which improves the texture of your skin naturally. A study shows that Vitamin B5 helps treat acne and reduce skin inflammation. Leafy greens such as spinach and collard greens are known to have the highest B vitamins content.
Zinc is a mineral that benefits the body both inside and out. It plays an integral role in collagen and sebum production thereby reducing skin aging. Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, it is also the skin’s best friend when it comes to fighting infections such as acne. Many skincare products such as sunscreen and acne treatments contain zinc, however, the best source of this helpful mineral is plant foods. Zinc can be gotten from plant-based sources such as nuts, chickpeas, and asparagus.
Most plant foods are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help protect, hydrate, and enrich the skin. However, some fruits and vegetables have a higher content of these helpful nutrients. Here are the top 5 fruits and vegetables you need to add to your regular diet if you aim to achieve healthy skin.
Apart from being a delicious addition to your meals, avocado has an impressive list of skin-boosting benefits. This fruit contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that support skin health. Avocado is a rich source of Vitamins C and E, two powerful antioxidants which play a key role in collagen production and prevent inflammation. Avocados can help soothe your skin, prevent sun damage and improve skin elasticity. If you have acne-prone skin, you can benefit a lot from including avocado in your daily diet.
The skin-boosting benefit of red and yellow bell peppers is rarely talked about. Bell peppers, especially red peppers are rich in Vitamin C. Half a cup of red peppers provides about 300% daily nutritional value of vitamin C. Moreover, bell peppers contain phytochemicals and antioxidants that defend skin cells and prevent oxidative stress. Red and yellow bell peppers also contain vitamin B6 which helps reduce the effects of hormonal imbalance that cause acne breakouts.
Broccoli is packed with all the important nutrients needed by your skin to stay healthy. It contains Vitamin A, C, E, essential minerals such as Zinc, lutein, and Sulforaphane. Lutein has similar effects as beta carotene, it helps to prevent damages that may occur due to oxidative stress, therefore, preventing the skin from drying out or wrinkling. Sulforaphane provides similar benefits, however, it may have properties that prevent some types of skin cancer.
Papaya is a common ingredient in skincare products. However, most people rarely make an effort to include it in their diet. Papaya provides skin benefits due to its high content of vitamins A, B, C, and its proteolytic enzymes called papain and chymopapain. These enzymes have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Papain can decrease inflammation by dissolving protein and removing damaged keratin that clogs the skin. This helps reduce acne and prevents other types of skin inflammation.
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and Vitamin E. They are high in anthocyanins, which fight blemishes and dark spots by limiting free radical activity. The antioxidants present in sweet potatoes are responsible for a natural sheen. They are also a natural source of pantothenic acid, best known for its soothing, hydrating, and moisturizing abilities.
Maintaining healthy glowing skin doesn’t always come easy! However, you stand a better chance when you consume healthy meals rich in vitamins and minerals that contribute to your skin health. Keep in mind that there is more to great skin than a healthy diet. Avoid being outdoors when the sun's rays are strongest. When outdoors, be sure to use broad-spectrum sunscreen (reapply every 2 hours) and wear protective clothing. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, as hydrated skin is healthy skin.