Nutrition for Better Skin

By Kirstin Hill, RD and Certified EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Instructor

Long summer days mean more time with our horses, yay! It also means more exposure to the sun, whose rays have become stronger as our ozone continues to shrink. Sunscreen helps protect your skin from the outside, which if you aren’t consistent with application over time, can lead to wrinkly, leathery and cancer prone skin. In addition, constant exposure to the elements can make skin age quicker, leaving a dehydrated appearance. The good news? You can better protect your skin from the inside out with your daily diet.

A healthy, balanced diet can do wonders for your skin, but certain nutrients can really help boost complexion. Incorporate the following skin protecting nutrients for a radiant, youthful look.

Instead of soaking in more sun, soak in better nutrition.

Lycopene: powerful antioxidant that protects against harmful UV rays. Increase your daily protection with fruits like watermelon, pink grapefruit & papaya. Canned tomatoes and marinara sauce are also full of lycopene.

Astaxanthin: pink-hued carotene compound found in shrimp and krill. It helps support skin elasticity and appearance by reducing wrinkles, dry skin and age spots.

Vitamin C: no surprise here; it’s beneficial internally and topically. The antioxidants protect against free radicals and help promote production of collagen. Aside from citrus fruits, kiwi, dark leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, papaya, bell peppers, and guavas also top the list. Depending on your skin type, Vitamin C serum is a good topical facial product.

Vitamin A: beta-carotene, its precursor, is found in bell peppers, cantaloupe, carrots and spinach. Known to help with repair, growth and maintenance of skin cells. Vitamin A deficiency can be characterized by dry or flaky complexion.

Vitamin E: a powerful antioxidant that can help improve skin texture, reduce wrinkles and photodamage. Sources include wheat germ, nuts, seeds, olives, leafy greens and vegetable oils.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: found in forms of EPA, DHA and ALA; DHA and EPA are long-chain forms found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna and herring, fish oil supplements and algae extract. Eat low-mercury, sustainable fish at least 2x/week. Non-fish sources of omega-3s include flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, wheat germ and soybeans. ALA is found in these foods in a short-chain form. The body needs to convert it to a long-chain form to make use of it, but the conversion doesn’t happen readily. Talk to your doctor about supplementing with fish oil on days you don’t eat fish.

Hydrate! Our bodies are largely composed of water. Tissues and muscles are mostly made of water. Water is vital for transporting nutrients and oxygen into cells, supports our metabolism, increases absorption of nutrients, detoxifies impurities, regulates body temperature and protects and moisturizes joints.

Photo Credit Wikipedia

 

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