We've all been in the same boat at some point with having problematic skin — desperate to try do whatever we can to achieve the results we want. Sometimes that includes choosing topically applied natural products to improve our skin with minimal harm; which is one of our favorite merbabe approaches! But another significant thing that we can also do to improve our skin — while reducing the number of skincare products in our daily lineup — is starting from the inside and move outward. Holistic approaches that nurture self-love are paramount, and the idea of eating our way to glowing skin is just too appetizing to ignore!
Our skin needs certain vitamins and nutrients in order to function. Skin is an organ after all. A natural way of obtaining these essential nutrients is by paying attention to what we’re eating. Certain foods negatively affect the skin, some only do that for certain skin types too. But many foods give you vitamins and minerals that can help your body overall, including your skin.
To achieve overall wellness and give our skin the defenses it needs against the external hazards of life, let’s look at what we can do internally.
Water is something our body craves; we cannot live without it and for good reason. For our skin, water gives us a plump and elastic feel and look and helps with skin rejuvenation. Of course, the word plump may sound concerning. Some do tend to get puffy if they drink too much water. But we do have a natural solution for that. Surprisingly, watermelon reduces water retention even though it has a high concentration of water. If drinking a lot of water does give you puffy eyes, try watermelon as a possible solution.
Another liquid that can help our skin is green tea. Green tea provides us with catechins which helps protect our skin from sun damage. Just like water, not only can it help with moisturizing our skin but we get the benefit of elasticity as well.
Protein helps to strengthen our skin. It helps produce collagen which aids in keeping a firm skin structure. This leads to skin that is smoother and stronger. The world comes at us with many weapons of aging, both internally and externally, and loss of collagen doesn’t help that. These threats lead to thinner and dryer skin but giving your body more collagen which is produced by Protein, can help combat that. Grabbing a handful of nuts to snack on is a great place to start!
Omega- 3 fatty acids
Omega- 3 fatty acids are a great way to keep our skin moisturized. These can be found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines. Fatty acids also help our skin.
The word fatty might not be appealing to some but healthy fats are great tools for helping the body. Avocados are packed with healthy fats and which keep your skin thick, moisturized, and flexible.
Did you know that your body cannot produce fatty acids on its own? Consuming those fatty acids is how you will gain those benefits. These fats, also found in walnuts, helps reduce inflammation in your body, including in your skin.
Walnuts are a portable food, which makes it easy to carry around and snack on. It can be difficult to bring an avocado or filet of salmon with you. Portable foods help you easily gain the benefits of those foods.
Though studies are not conclusive, Vitamin B is thought to help keep skin healthy by supporting the production of new skin cells. It has also been found to help with acne and the aging of skin but reducing inflammation also leads to a better overall look. Greek yogurt is a great source of Vitamin B. You don’t want just plain yogurt which can have a lot of sugars. But plain greek yogurt with healthy additives is a great way to get a boost of vitamins for breakfast or a snack.
There are many ways to add Vitamin B into your diet throughout the day. Legumes such as beans and lentils are great sources of Vitamin B as are certain fruits such as bananas. These foods and others can be incorporated into any meals you have planned.
Studies are always being done on what helps skin and Vitamin E is among them. It has been linked with UV protection which helps reduce the risk of premature aging of the skin.
Almonds and sunflower seeds are great portable snacks that give you Vitamin E.
Studies have shown great benefits from Vitamin C for the skin. It helps prevent exposure to UV radiation which in turn helps reduce the appearance of aging. It also helps your body retain water which helps your skin stay hydrated. Hydrated skin which has protection from the sun helps you achieve younger-looking skin as you age. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, mango, tomatoes, and green bell peppers.
This vitamin is essential for skin repair. Many of us do have deficiencies in Vitamin D, especially those with darker skin tones. While this can be helped by laying on the beach to get more sun exposure, that isn’t always the best for our skin. Natural ways of getting Vitamin D include salmon, which also has Protein and Omega fatty acids. Fortified milk is an obvious choice but may not work for some people whose skin reacts poorly to milk or who are vegan or dairy-free. There are good substitutes, soy-based products, which provide good doses of Vitamin D. Soy milk and tofu are good alternatives. You can also try fortified almond or rice milk.
Zinc helps your body produce new skin cells. Many studies have been done on the benefits of Zinc, as it is essential for many functions in the human body. Zinc deficiency can give the skin a cracked appearance. Many skin related problems can be helped by Zinc; many studies have focused primarily on how Zinc can help acne and its benefits involving inflammation. Good Zinc sources include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and shiitake mushrooms, so don't think that tossing vegetables out of your diet is easy if you are focusing on better skin.
Beta Carotene may be a new term for you. This amazing compound has been found to decrease the skin’s oil production and helps to block the sun. Taking in this compound is essentially giving your skin a natural sunblock, which, when used with a topical sunblock, can help prevent wrinkles, dryness, and keep cells from dying. So you can chill out in the waves, knowing your skin is fortified from the inside as well.
You probably have been eating a lot of foods with this compound without even knowing. Beta Carotene is found in carrots and red bell peppers, both good portable foods with some prep work. For something more substantial, sweet potatoes also have high levels of Beta Carotene.
What about that myth that red wine helps the skin?
In theory, it would but you'd have to consume large amounts that come with their own negative side effects. The reason that is a myth is because of the properties of red grapes. Red grapes have Resveratrol which has many health benefits including helping the appearance of aging on the skin. This is found in blueberries and peanut butter but is also found in a popular treat...
Saving the best for last, we have dessert. Dark Chocolate helps your skin! You do have to get the right kind, not a lot of sugar, and at least 70% cocoa, but dark chocolate is full of antioxidants. It contains Resveratrol, fatty acids, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Zinc among many others. This can lead to hydrated and thicker skin so you are less susceptible to sun damage. This protection from UV radiation can help reduce your risk of sunburn (although it goes without saying that you always need to wear SPF diligently!). Dark Chocolate does still have sugar and also caffeine, so it should be consumed in moderation, but at least you know that your indulgence is giving you some nutritious benefits for your skin. And if chocolate isn't for you there are numerous fruits that are just as tasty and healthy to treat yourself to.
Yum For Your Skin!
Natural ways of improving skin are preferable. Products filled with synthetics and artificial chemicals can poorly affect skin. Even some natural solutions can give us negative reactions when combined topically. To reduce the number of products you place on your skin, try starting from the inside with what you are putting into your body! Consuming these vitamin-rich foods may not give you results immediately but improving your overall wellness should reduce your need for additional products in the future. Winner winner skincare dinner!