Healthy Skin From The Inside-Out

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There’s an old saying that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and that’s very true in relation to your health, including that of your skin.

For most people, their skincare routine is all about what cleaners, toners and moisturizers they use.

But, that’s only a very small part.

Your diet is not only important for boosting your energy and your immune system, but it also has a part to play in keeping your skin vibrant, glowing, and younger-looking.

In fact, eating healthy foods can protect, repair, and slow the aging process in relation to your skin.

Research into the best foods for healthy looking skin is limited. But, we do know that antioxidant-rich foods have a protective effect on the body, and the skin.

Simply put, the best foods for healthy, glowing skin, are those that promote good health overall.

Let’s take a look at the specifics…

1. Keep Your Skin Hydrated

We all know that staying well hydrated is important for our general health, and bodily functions.

It is also extremely important for keeping your skin looking and feeling healthy.

It’s a fact, that when your body is properly hydrated, it sweats more efficiently, and this helps keep your skin clean and clear.

Personally, if I get dehydrated, it shows up on my face in the form of a deep laughter line crease, on the left side of my face. Weird, but true!

I always find it takes some time for my body to rehydrate, and for that line to disappear once again.

How Much Water Is Needed?

The exact amount of fluid you need varies from person to person. But as a general rule, women need about 9 cups of fluid, and men need around 13 cups each day.

Water is your best option, but unsweetened tea, green tea and other herbal teas, are also great.

The water from soft drinks, fruit juices, or fruit drinks, do not count. These drinks are full of sugar, which is not beneficial for your skin, or your waist line.

Why Green Tea Is Beneficial

Green tea is the least processed of all the teas, and that is why it provides the most antioxidant polyphenols.

Green tea has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it is protective to the cell membrane. It is even thought to help in reducing the risk of skin cancer.

Most of the studies showing the health benefits of green tea are based on the amount of green tea consumed in Asian countries. This is about 3 cups per day, and this is a marker you should be aiming for also.

2. Eat The Right Foods

A nutrient-rich diet, which will provide the nourishment your body needs, is basically the “secret” to healthier looking skin.

Here are 10 of the main players in keeping you looking your best:

1. Essential Fats

Essential fatty acids are responsible for maintaining healthy cell membranes. These act as a barrier to keep harmful components out.

Your cell membranes also hold water in. So the stronger that barrier is, the more efficient your cells are at holding moisture. That means plumper, younger looking skin.

A deficiency in fatty acids, may lead to white heads and inflammation.

To get a good dose of essential fats into your diet, you need to be eating fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna regularly. As well as nuts and seeds, a small amounts of olive oil, and flaxseed oil.

2. Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps to keep your skin soft and supple. It also helps to repairs skin cells and tissue. And, it may even help to keep acne at bay.

Vitamin A rich foods include, yellow vegetables and fruits, like pumpkin, carrots, cantaloupe, and apricots. Also foods like spinach, kale, broccoli, milk, natural yogurt, and cheese.

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3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps to counter the effects of sun damage, smoking exposure, and pollution. It also helps in the production of collagen, which gives skin its strength and elasticity.

Some of the best foods to include in your diet are oranges, broccoli, bell peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi, berries, cabbage, pineapple, tomatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables.

4. Vitamin E

Vitamin E can also help to counter the effects of sun damage, smoking exposure, and pollution. And, it improves skin texture, and helps prevent wrinkles.

Some of the best vitamin E containing foods, include dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, bell peppers, olives, and sunflower oil.

5. Zinc

A deficiency in zinc can bring on acne, but adequate zinc in your diet can help to control oil production, and reduce acne tissue damage.

Zinc can be found in foods such as beef, lamb, venison, poultry, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, eggs and yogurt.

6. Copper

Copper is important for helping to form elastic fibers, which support the skins structure.

You can find copper in leafy greens, squash, asparagus, meats, tofu, nuts, seafood, barley, dried beans, and peas

7. Biotin

Biotin helps in the production of nails, skin, and hair cells. A deficiency of this vitamin can cause dermatitis and hair loss.

To get a biotin boost into your diet, add some swiss chard, eggs, dairy products. Some wholegrain breads, cereals and other grain products, are also fortified, so check food labels to find your best sources.

Other foods rich in biotin, include soybeans, nuts, and mushrooms.

8. Niacin (B3)

Niacin helps to smooth dry and flaky skin.

It can be found mostly in meats, poultry, fish and legumes. But also in mushrooms, squash, green peas, leafy greens, and spelt grains.

9. Selenium

Selenium also helps to counter the effects of sun damage, smoking exposure and pollution. And helps in the production of healthy skin cells.

It can be found in wholegrain products, seafood, meats, eggs, mushrooms, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and brown rice.

10. Antioxidants

Antioxidants help protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals, by helping to stabilize these free radicals, and prevent cell damage.

They have anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to protect skin cell membranes.

Antioxidants are abundant in all fruits and vegetables, along with a whole host of other foods, such as nuts, whole grains, green tea, meats, poultry, and fish.

Rather than getting too bogged down with the specifics of which nutrients you need to be eating, think of the diet for healthy skin, as one that is rich in color — yellows, oranges, reds, greens, purples and blues.

Variety, color, and texture… these are the keys to good health and great looking skin, in its very simplest form.

3. Balance Your Lifestyle

Besides food and hydration, stress can also take its toll on your skin.

Rest

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One of the most important things you can do for your health, and how you look, it to get some rest.

We all know it, but lack of sleep can wreck havoc on us outwardly (not to mention inwardly). Puffy eyes, dull complexion, and zits. Not a good look.

Your body needs time to heal. And, it does that best each night as you rest.

Research indicates that people who sleep less than 6 hours each night, have 25 percent higher levels of inflammation markers in their blood. We also know that lack of sleep increases stress hormones, and can lead to weight gain.

Eight hours should be your aim for improving your health, and your complexion.

De-Stress

If you are highly strung all of the time, it’s going to show in your health sometime, or another.

That’s why it is so important to relax, take time out to do the things you love, and practice the habit of positivity, on a regular basis.

Deep breathing techniques can really help you to relax, if you find this challenging, and it’s a great practice to get into on a daily basis.

Exercise

Regular exercise is thought to lower inflammation markers in the blood.

It also simply makes you feel better. And, it can brighten an otherwise dull complexion, by getting your blood pumping more efficiently around your body.

Exercise also helps you to feel more relaxed, and to sleep better — so it’s a win-win situation.

Once you make changes to your diet and lifestyle, don’t expect an overnight miracle, in terms of how good your skin looks.

Experts say it takes around six weeks for new skin to emerge to the surface, so the visible benefits from these healthy changes will take some time to show.

But, don’t be put off, you will soon notice these changes, and all the effort will be worthwhile.

What are your best tips for healthy looking skin?

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?


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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicola @ Eat Well NZ August 31, 2011 at 9:05 am

It’s funny how hundreds of dollars is spent on creams for the face when good skin comes from mostly what we eat (and sunscreen for protection!). Enjoyed this article :)

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Melanie September 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Isn’t is, Nicola! I have been sucked in in the past, too. You see all of the ads on TV and magazines and think you need to spend so much to get a good cream. No doubt some of them really do a good job, but I’ve actually found lately that using a simple almond oil on my face is working really well. And it doesn’t contain unhealthy parabens, etc.

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Nicola @ Eat Well NZ September 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

I haven’t thought of Almond oil, might give that a go when my Trilogy products run out.

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Carrie Hucal August 31, 2011 at 2:36 pm

This article is great, and it really solidifys our DMO for every day living. We all take and promote Juice Plus which has 17 of the great fruits and veggies and grains you talked about that bring many of the great qualities needed in our diet for great skin, and overall health! Awesome article! I will be using it!!

Reply

Melanie September 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Hi Carrie,
What benefits have you noticed personally since taking Juice Plus?

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cathy in NZ August 31, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Lots of people believe that I’m younger than I am, chronologically and they say it’s in my face…then they ask what I do for my face, what creams?

I’m not into commercial cleaning products/face wise…although when I was a teenager, way too many years ago I used a cream cleanser.

Right now, I’m on a big standard fruit/veg intake due to health reasons…i.e. am about to go for a complete health check to ascertain exactly where things are in the health arena. I need to get back to some dedicated excerise as well, but think that should be on the back burner until the current problems are sorted out…I’m not lacking in exercise though because I don’t have a car…

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Melanie September 6, 2011 at 5:56 pm

That’s great, Cathy. You must be doing something right to have such a glowing complexion!!

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Treating Scoliosis September 1, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I’d also recommend always using sunscreen while outdoors. Even if you aren’t prone to burning, it’s still bad for your skin and can lead to cancer and wrinkles.

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Melanie September 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Interesting comment. I’ve read that some sunscreens are bad for your skin, too. What do you think?

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Britney E Taylor April 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I often have a green tea in the morning as it also has good ingredients to settle the stomach but since taking the tea on a regular basis I have noticed a great improvement to my skin so it must also contain natural properties which are good for the skin like you suggest.

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Such a helpful article. I really love this article because it helps me so much to take care of my skin.

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