Foods for a healthy glow

Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s time to have more fun in the sun. But whether you’re hitting the beach, lying out by the pool or spending more time on those playing fields, it’s important not to forget to take care of you skin! While lotions and creams with SPF are the first line of defense against sun damage, what you eat can also help you retain a youthful glow and healthy skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A and zinc can help nourish your skin and affect the way it looks and feels.

The spring and summer months may bring on harmful environmental effects (caused by the sun, smoke and pollution) but they also bring an abundance of healthy foods loaded with nutrients that can help protect your skin. Here are some that can lead you down the path to a more youthful, glowing complexion.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps to reduce skin damage caused by free radicals (harmful byproducts caused by the environment), which break down collagen and elastin (which support the skin), cause wrinkles and advance the aging process. It is easy to combat these pesky little fellows by simply increasing your intake of vitamin C-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. 

Vitamin E: Like vitamin C, this antioxidant can help reduce the effects from the sun. We often associate vitamin E with wrinkles and then head for the creams to make our skin smoother and more youthful. But by increasing your intake of vitamin E-rich foods such as vegetable oil, nuts and green leafy vegetables, you can make sure you are getting the right amount of this vitamin every day.

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is necessary for skin tissue repair. So if your vitamin A levels are inadequate, symptoms such as drying and flaking might present themselves. But this is easy to fix, as fruits and vegetables such as carrots, spinach, red pepper and cantaloupe, in addition to liver and eggs, are loaded with vitamin A.

Biotin: Biotin is an important vitamin in regards to your skin, nails and hair; without it, dermatitis or sometimes even hair loss can occur. Your body usually makes plenty of biotin to keep your skin, nails and hair intact, but including foods like oatmeal, eggs, rice and bananas can help.

Selenium: Scientists believe that selenium, a mineral, can help lower the risk of skin cancer. Some good dietary choices of selenium include whole-wheat products, garlic and eggs.

Zinc: Zinc can help control the formation of acne and also can reduce hair loss and keep hair shiny. Good sources of zinc include oysters, meat and poultry.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA): These nutrients are important to the production of the skin’s oil barrier. If you lack EFAs, the skin’s natural behavior is to produce more oil and can result in additional skin problems. The key is to consume plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Generally, omega-6 fatty acids aren’t an issue since they are found in baked goods, oils, grains and poultry; but your omega-3s may be lacking. Increase your intake by including salmon, sardines, mackerel, and safflower and flax oils into your diet.

Water: Don’t forget water! Since our bodies are mostly made up of water, it is so important to keep hydrated. Consuming enough water daily can help keep your skin from drying out. Drink a minimum of eight cups a day or more, depending on your activity levels.

Eating a balanced diet will help keep your skin looking and feeling great while providing the nutrients your body needs to be at its maximum potential. If you feed your skin from the inside out, you can’t help but reap the rewards!