Foods to Promote Healthy Skin
Now that our sunny days are finally here, it’s important to consider consuming antioxidant-rich foods that have a protective effect for skin. Four nutrients that promote healthy, radiant skin are vitamins A, E and C and omega-3 fats. Here is some useful background, plus tips on how to incorporate foods rich in these nutrients into your daily diet. (Be sure to consult your doctor for advice regarding appropriate doses of these nutrients.)
Vitamin A: This vitamin has an essential role in skin health by decreasing cell damage and helping the healing process of bodily wounds. Low levels of vitamin A can lead to a dry, flaky complexion. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) to consume is 900 mcg for men and 700 mcg for women. Don’t hesitate to increase your intake of sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, apricots, cantaloupe and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin E: This antioxidant nutrient also helps protect against skin damage. Research has shown vitamin E plays an important role in photoprotection, preventing ultraviolet (UV)-induced free-radical damage to skin, as well as having related anti-inflammatory roles in the skin. The RDA for men and women is 15 mg. Try grabbing some sunflower seeds and almonds for your afternoon snack.
Vitamin C: In addition to promoting a strong immune system, this water-soluble vitamin is vital for skin health. Vitamin C has an important role in the synthesis of collagen, a major protein of body tissues that include the skin. Dietary and topical ascorbic acid (a form of vitamin C) have beneficial effects on skin cells, and some studies have shown that vitamin C may also help prevent and treat UV-induced photodamage. The RDA for men is 90 mg and 75 mg for women. Include broccoli, red peppers and green peppers in your favorite dishes, or enjoy oranges, strawberries or kiwi for dessert.
Omega-3 fatty acids: These healthy fats are considered essential fatty acids. They are necessary for human health, but the body can’t make them; you have to get them through food. Research has shown that omega-3 anti-inflammatory properties include a protective effect against sunburn and helping prevent premature aging. One of the symptoms of omega-3 deficiency includes dry skin. An adequate intake (AI) for men and women is about 1 g daily. Try sardines, tuna or salmon for a quick and delicious dinner tonight.
Learn more about our dietitian services at PacMed, or call 206.505.1300 for an appointment.