By guest blogger Julie Daniluk, Nutritionist, author and TV host
Having radiant skin starts with building beauty from deep inside our body. I love the saying, “You are what you eat so don’t be fast, cheap, easy and fake!”. People underestimate how much our outward appearance is influenced by diet and nutrition. Here is my list of the top skin nutrients that beautify from the inside out.
Drink good fluids
Try herbal tea or fruit in your water instead of reaching for coffee, sodas, and alcohol which all dehydrate the skin. If you must drink alcohol, buffer it with 2 glasses of water per serving.
Consume anti-aging foods
Avocado is a perfect skin food. It is a good source of vitamin E and can help maintain healthy skin and slow down the aging process. Vitamin E may also help alleviate menopausal hot flushes and has a powerful action against the damage of free radicals. Vitamin E helps our skin retain its moisture, and a lack of it brings premature wrinkles, pale skin, acne, easy bruising and slow wound healing.
Eat your sunscreen
For head to toe protection against the skin damaging effects of UV rays have a healthy dose of zeaxanthin and lutein. These special antioxidants saturate in the skin and eyes where they block UV rays from the sun and prevent free radical damage. Unlike topical sunscreens which need to be re-applied frequently these natural SPF nutrients work all day long! Good sources of zeaxanthin and lutein include kale, egg yolk, and orange peppers.
Go crazy with the cruciferous
The family of Cruciferous vegetables includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, turnip, Brussels sprouts, radish and watercress. Cruciferous vegetables help to balance hormones by supporting liver function. Unbalanced hormones can lead to skin breakouts. You should try to consume at least 115g/40z of any one or a combination of these vegetables on a daily basis. If possible, eat them raw or very lightly steamed so that the important enzymes remain intact.
Ginger is anti-inflammatory and cleansing
Fresh ginger can help keep your skin clear by acting as an anti-inflammatory and is effective for detoxing the body. You can get your daily dose—2 to 4 grams (more than that can actually cause heartburn)—by steeping ginger in hot water to make tea, chewing a piece of ginger, or using ginger generously when you cook.
Fish oil is rich in essential fatty acids
The Omega 3 fats EPA & DHA found in fish and fish oil are nature’s beauty secret. This is in part due to their potent anti-inflammatory effect. “Inflammation plays a big role in skin health and affects everything from skin aging to firmness, hydration, blemishes and colour tone. Consuming 1000-2000mg EPA+DHA daily feeds your skin from the inside out and keeps it looking youthful and blemish free” says Ascenta Skin formulator Marc St-Onge.
Studies have also shown that increased consumption the Omega 3s EPA & DHA increases your skin’s resistance to UV damage, reduces skin reddening, and increase firmness and elasticity. It is important to consume less saturated and processed fats if you want the EFAs to work as fats compete for absorption in the body.
More GLA please
While people generally consume too much pro-inflammatory Omega 6 (vegetable oils) there is a special type of Omega 6 called GLA which acts more like an Omega 3 than an Omega 6. GLA is super hydrating for the skin, reduces redness and gives the skin a smooth supple feel. A good source of GLA is organ meats however GLA is also produced from borage oil and sold as a dietary supplement.
Spinach is rich in iron
Iron is used for the formation of hemoglobin. A deficiency in iron brings anemia, and this shows up in our bodies by a pale complexion and dark circles under the eyes. Iron is best processed from animal food but can be found also in some vegetables.
Eat dark vegetables
Dark orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash) and dark green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, kale) are rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin B complex. Vitamin A helps in the formation of new cells, which keeps our skin renewed and it’s also vital for healthy eyes and hair. If you are lacking Vitamin A, your skin will be dry and flaky. Vitamin B complex is important as it releases energy from food for skin metabolism, keeping your skin moist and smooth.
Red peppers and citrus contain vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, essential for the production of collagen (the elastic tissue in our skin that declines with age). Every time you are smoking, under stress, or receiving too much sun exposure, you are draining vitamin C from your body.
Hemp seeds are high in zinc
Zinc is a mineral vital to the manufacture of collagen and speeds up healing in our bodies, including skin. A deficiency produces stretch marks, a dull complexion, white spots on fingernails, dandruff and stubborn blemishes.
For a serious boost to your skin care regiment try adding 1-2 tsp of the new Ascenta Skin. It’s a combination of 6 different skin beautifying and anti-aging nutrients that exemplify the concept of “beauty from within”. Heather Thompson from Real Housewives NYC says “Ascenta Skin is staple of keeping her skin young and healthy”.
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts The Healthy Gourmet on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her first book, Meals that Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process. Check out more amazing recipes and nutrition tips at www.juliedaniluk.com
Check out Julie on Facebook at Julie Daniluk Nutrition and on Twitter @juliedaniluk.