Foods for healthy skin

Healthy skin is not just about good complexion but vitality that comes from within. A firm skin tone and a glow is unmatched by the world’s best cosmetics.

The skin weighs 16 percent of our total body weight. It is the largest and one of the toughest and complex organs of the body whose condition reflects the state of your internal environment.

Eating a balanced diet having all vital nutrients – like carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, in the right proportion, is essential for good healthy skin.

Foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids are mainly found in abundance in fresh fruits, vegetables, sprouts, low fat milk, meat and whole grains. Including these in your diet will ensure an adequate supply of all these nutrients.

Common skin problems
The most common skin problems that we face are premature aging, wrinkles on our faces, skin eruptions like acne and pimples, pigmentation, and tired and dull skin.

Foods rich in antioxidants (Beta Carotene, Vitamins C and E) slow down premature aging prevent wrinkles and repair the damage caused by harsh factors such as stress, pollution, sun rays and infections, thus giving you a healthy skin.

Antioxidants also restore collagen, a protein that glues the skin together and makes it firm and free of wrinkles. Vitamin C is essential in the production of collagen. Vitamin E helps in slowing down of production of collagenase, an enzyme breaking down collagens. Minerals like sulphur and zinc help in building collagen.

Beta Carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, controls excess production of sebum, an oily substance secreted by the oil glands of the skin. Sebum lubricates the skin to ward off dryness and wrinkles, and restricts the growth of micro-organisms causing skin infections. For normal production of sebum, Vitamin B-complex is essential.

Vitamins A and B-complex help in fighting acne and pimples, promote proper blood circulation and improve elasticity of the skin.

Intake of Vitamin C foods help in healing skin injuries, repairs the skin, provides immunity to your body, prevents premature aging, and reduces pigmentation.

Vitamin B2 prevents brown coloured pigmentation or liver spots on the skin. Severe Vitamin B2 deficiency deposits small amounts of fat under the skin of forehead, cheeks and behind the ears and produces excess sebum. In some cases, the skin at the corner of the eyes, the mouth and under the nose cracks and becomes sore.

Deficiency of Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B6 can cause eczema or dermatitis.

Facial aging not just skin deep

Sources of Vitamins:
The main sources of vitamins A and B-complex are milk and milk products, poultry like eggs, fish, beef, mutton and meat, whole grains, pulses. Fruits like peaches, papaya, mangoes, citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, strawberries, pineapples, cherry, watermelon are rich in Beta Carotene, Vitamins C and E. Vegetables like carrots, red pumpkin, beetroot, tomato, broccoli, sweet potato, spinach, lettuce, both red and green peppers, turnips, cauliflower, cantaloupe (kharbooja), sweet corn and lettuce provides the much needed vitamin content in your diet.

Green leafy vegetables are very good source of Vitamins C and E.

Vitamin E is also found in peanuts, almonds, and in oils like almond, olive and sesame.

A good source of Vitamin B2 is Brewer’s yeast. Taking a tablespoon of Brewer’s yeast thrice a day for a month cures eczema.

Anti-ageing creams vs wrinkle-free diet

A diet rich in vitamin B3, B6, B12, folic acid along with minerals such as copper (found in apples, bananas, lemon, cauliflower, and carrots), cobalt (found in green leafy vegetables) and iron (found in tomatoes, spinach, potatoes, and corn) are helpful in curing anaemia, and leads to glowing skin.

Sources of minerals:
These minerals are largely found in milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables, eggs and fish. Fish such as salmon, sardines and shellfish are good sources of calcium.

Include whole grains like wheat, millet, oats, and brown rice in your diet to enhance them with irons.

Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, peas, beans, beetroot, tomatoes, onions and broccoli and green leafy veggies are rich sources of these minerals.

Fruits include apples, bananas, figs, grapes, and lemons. Mushrooms are another rich source of sulphur.

Sources of zinc are mushroom, brewers yeast, lean red meat, eggs, seafood, oysters, pumpkin, spinach, sunflower seeds, non fat milk and whole grains. These are very essential for healthy hair.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 keep the skin hydrated and glowing. EFAs prevent inflammation, itchiness and dryness of the skin.

Omega 3 EFA is found in flaxseed oil, salmon, walnut and canola oil. Omega 6 EFA are found in cereals, whole grain breads, vegetable oils, margarine, eggs and poultry.

The task of internal hydration is taken care of by water. Drinking plenty of water transports nutrients to skin cells, and keeps them nourished. Having lime water, coconut water, fresh fruit juices, soups, buttermilk or green tea also provides necessary liquid content to the body. Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol and other fizzy drinks.

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Also read:

An ayurvedic guide to beautiful skin
Healthy skin in your 30s
Simple ways to look beautiful

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