Dermatology

Eating for Healthy Skin

Fill your plate with a gorgeous array of produce of every color.  This helps insure that you are getting the vitamins and minerals that your body craves from natural food sources.  And this rich mix of natural foods helps provide the phytochemicals and antioxidants are essential for skin health.  Antioxidants work to protect your skin from free radical damage from environmental and intrinsic factors and help with reversing sun damage.  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of foods that you should eat, but it’s a good starting point for achieving skin health from your diet. 

The different phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables give each item its unique color.  For example, red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene and ellagic acid which help fight cancer, diabetes and heart disease while strengthening skin health.  Red peppers, cherries, grapes, raspberries, pomegranate, beets, watermelon.  

Fruits and vegetables that are orange and yellow are full of vitamin C, B6 and carotenoids such beta-carotene as well as fiber and potassium. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body which boosts our vision and keeps all of our cells, including our skin cells, healthy.  And the hesperidin in citrus fruits increases blood flow, an essential part of our skin’s recovery after any injury, stress, or just the elements of the day.  Oranges, beets, corn, pumpkin, squash, pineapple, carrots.

Dark Green fruit and veggies (broccoli, green apples, spinach, green grapes, kiwi, leafy greens such as kale, romaine, and collard greens) contain kaempferol, folate, lutein, and quercetin.  These help strengthen our immune system and have also been shown to improve our mood.  Mood is very influential on our skin health. They also provide vitamin K which is an essential component of blood and bone health.  Folate is critical in fetal development, so women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy should be getting this in their diets as well as through a folic acid supplement as recommended by their OBGYN.   

Fruits and vegetables that are blue and purple in color are full of phytonutrients such as anthocyanins and resveratrol.  These are often isolated and added to skin care products because of their antiaging properties!  And those phytochemicals play an important role in reversing the oxidative stress and inflammation that our skin cells undergo after sun exposure, contact with pollutants, or environmental toxins. Examples are blueberries and blackberries, purple cabbage, eggplant, plums, figs.  Grapes are loaded with phytochemicals that boost immune system and protect against cancer. 

And don’t forget white and brown produce!  Even though these may pale in comparison to their brightly colored compadres, they are just as important in achieving a healthy, balanced diet and contain phytonutrients.  Cauliflower has sulforaphane and garlic and onions contain allicin and quercetin all of which are powerful cancer-fighting agents.  Mushrooms, potatoes, and parsnips also play a role in overall health.  Beans are chock full of antioxidants and have the added benefit of being a good source of protein, B vitamins, potassium, and fiber.  They are filling and provide lots of energy.  Red beans, pinto beans, black beans are optimal.  And peanuts are in this category too!  Peanuts are not truly nuts but rather legumes, so fall into the same category as beans and peas.   

And while we’re talking about brown foods, let’s throw in dark chocolate! Yes, this treat is actually good for you.  This satisfying dessert has fiber, iron, manganese, copper, potassium, zinc, selenium, magnesium!   It has antioxidants to protect your skin again sun damage and has been shown to increase blood flow; as I’ve already mentioned, that healthy blood flow is very important for healthy skin.  The flavonols in dark chocolate have also been shown to promote skin hydration.  Choose high-quality chocolate has a 70-85% content of cocoa.   

Enjoy incorporation a rainbow of healthy foods into your every day diet to keep your skin healthy and strong!

 

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