Monday, October 18, 2010

Food for Healthy Skin


Every year, women spend billions of dollars on skin care products and cosmetic procedures to improve the appearance of their skin. In relying on these products and cosmetic procedures, you could be overlooking the one thing that could do more for your skin than any superficial treatment: Your diet.

Let's take a look.

Healthy Skin From the Inside Out 
How you are on the inside affects how you look on the outside. That means eating foods that are rich in protein to build collagen, antioxidants to fight inflammation, minerals that promote healing and fluids for hydration. It also means eating fiber to help speed waste through your gut and out of your body as waste.    

Foods for Skin Health
Meat, fish, poultry and other protein-rich foods. Meat is a major source of protein, which is used to make collagen. Collagen is a fibrous protein that helps to give skin the smooth appearance that you desire. It is the key to preventing premature wrinkling. Good sources of protein include low-fat meats, seafood, eggs, dried beans and peas, nuts and seeds.

Citrus fruits. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which is necessary for collagen formation. It is also a powerful antioxidant that helps to prevent inflammation that could damage skin cells. Good sources of vitamin C include mangoes, papaya, guava, kiwi, strawberries, red bell peppers and sweet potato. And of course, orange juice and other citrus fruits are important sources of vitamin C in the American diet. 

Sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, not to mention vitamin C and other key nutrients. Vitamin A has been long associated with helping to create smooth healthy skin. In addition to sweet potatoes, you can get vitamin A from a variety of yellow-orange fruits and yellow-orange or dark leafy green vegetables. Mangoes, papaya, carrots, pumpkin, spinach and collard greens are all great sources.

Water. Water is really important for keeping your skin well-hydrated. You can easily do this by drinking 4 to 8 glasses of water daily. You may need to drink more water if you are in a hot environment, engaging in intensive sports/exercise or otherwise sweating a lot. Stay away from fluids that are high in sugar or salt, however, as these can cause inflammation, be dehydrating and damage rather than heal your skin.

Whole grains. Whole grains are rich in zinc, a mineral that is well-known in medical circles for its healing properties. Besides whole grains, you can get zinc from nuts, seeds, legumes, dried beans and peas, and all kinds of animal products and seafood.

Fiber. You would hardly associate fiber with skin health. Yet, it can play a key role. Keep in mind that one of the major roles of fiber is to keep your digestive tract healthy by binding and mopping up toxic waste along the gut and getting rid of this waste by way of the colon. This helps to cleanse your whole body, including your blood. Healthy blood flow to the skin will help to produce and maintain healthy cells, promote collagen formation and keep your skin aglow.

Eat foods that are rich in protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc and fiber to help repair skin damage and promote a smooth, healthy appearance. Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep your cells properly hydrated, as well.