Food and health

Foods For A Healthy Skin

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We often hear the statement that “we are what we eat”. This is not far from the truth as experts always tell us how diet plays an important role in our health.

Without a proper diet, our health suffers as a result and this often shows on the appearance of our skin.

Take for example, when we don’t drink sufficient water. We feel dehydrated and it starts showing on the skin as it becomes dry and dull among other things, and this may lead to some skin problems in the long run including other health complications.

The skin is the body’s largest organ made-up of different layers. It protects us from various environmental factors such as light, injury, and bacterial infections, among others.

If we don’t take care of our skin inside out, we are doing ourselves a disservice, as it will not have the capacity to shield us from the harsh external environment.

According to research, there are key micronutrients that play a vital role in maintaining skin health, such as vitamins A, C, D, E, and minerals such as zinc, copper, and selenium.

Healthy fats such as omega -3and -6 fatty acids are also thought to have skin health benefits.

Adding the foods rich in these micronutrients in our diets will benefit the skin and overall health, as opposed to just targeting specific foods as this will be counter-intuitive.

A diverse and healthy balanced diet is a way to go, that’s what experts usually recommend.

“While there’s no mistaking how our diet affects our overall health, we are just beginning to understand how certain foods or lack thereof can impact our skin’s health, said Dr. Suzan C Taylor”- Sciencedaily

Without further ado let’s find out what foods benefit the skin health.

Are Omega-3 and -6 Fatty Acids Really Good For Your Skin?

Omega -3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, while omega -6 on the other hand is pro inflammatory when ingested in excess. A good balance between these two fatty acids is said to be essential.

“Researchers found that the acids reduce damage from the ultraviolet (UV) radiation and markers of inflammation and immunosuppression in the skin”

“A diet high  in omega -3 fatty acids, may, therefore, help reduce inflammatory symptoms and help the skin less reactive to UV rays from the sun”- Medical News Today

Omega-3 rich foods include: fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines, and herring

Plant-based omega-3 and 6 fatty acids include: nuts (almonds, walnuts), canola oil, flax seeds, etc

Selenium, Copper, And Zinc Rich Foods Are Good For A Healthy And Glowing Skin

The said minerals are beneficial to a healthy skin. They act as antioxidants and protect the skin from damage caused by ultraviolet rays, according to research.

Although sunlight helps the skin to synthesize vitamin D too much exposure can cause sunburn and produce free radicals in the skin thus causing oxidative stress, research reveals.

“This, in turn, activates enzymes that break down collagen and damage the DNA of cell causing premature aging”

“Exposure to UV rays can cause premature aging of the skin and signs of sun damage such as wrinkles, leathery skin, liver spots, actinic keratosis, and solar elastosis”, says American Cancer Society

According to Skin Cancer Foundation “unprotected exposure to UVA and UVB damages the DNA in skin cells, producing genetic defects or mutations that can lead to skin cancer (as well as skin aging)”

“These rays can also cause eye damage, including cataracts and eyelid cancers”.

Selenium rich foods: seafood (salmon, sardines, etc), organ meats, brazil nuts, grains (brown rice, lentils) dairy products, muscle meats ( chicken, beef, turkey) and cereals, eggs, spinach – National Institute of Health

Zinc-rich foods include: pumpkin seeds, chicken, almonds, kidney beans, cashews, green peas, chickpeas, baked beans .

Copper rich foods: potato skin, oyster, chickpeas, seeds, and nuts, beans, avocados, “sun dried” tomatoes, dark chocolates, etc.

Vitamin A, C, D, and E Work Along With Other Nutrients To Boost Skin Health

As mentioned above the skin protects our bodies against external environmental factors such as bacterial infections and UV light among others.

Vitamins C and E along with zinc, selenium and copper act as antioxidants. These antioxidants work with other nutrients such as vitamins A and D to maintain overall skin health.

Vitamin A protects the skin against UV rays which could cause damage to skin cells. It also increases the skin hydration and moisture.

Beta-carotene, and lutein act as antioxidants as well and support the skin immune system.

Vitamin A, food sources include: carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, liver

“Exposure to excess UV light induces oxidative stress impacting the genetic integrity of a living organism, including the skin”

“This also triggers the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines which may result in degraded collagen and skin elasticity” according to research

Vitamin C, on the other hand, plays a role in collagen synthesis, as well as wound healing among other roles and it’s thought to “significantly suppress free radicals induced by UV light and protect the cells from oxidative stress”

“Inefficacy studies on human skin, vitamin C significantly increased epidermal moisture content, improving skin hydration”

Vitamin C rich foods include blueberries, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits like oranges, and lemon, broccoli, and strawberries.

Vitamin D is also involved in wound healing and in regulating skin inflammation among its other roles. It is also thought to prevent the skin from premature aging. If, ingested in healthy amounts.

Vitamin D food sources include: mushrooms, egg yolk, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and fortified foods

Vitamin E, with its antioxidant effects, boost the immune system, prevents skin inflammation and collagen damage due to UV light.

Vitamin E food sources: almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, broccoli, peanuts, vegetable oils.

Keeping Your Body Hydrated benefit Skin Health

Water keeps the skin hydrated and help rid the body and skin of toxins. Drinking water improves complexion, aids in digestion, assist in the absorption of nutrients, and improves the blood oxygen circulation, to name just a few roles.

“A 2007 study by in the international journal of Cosmetic Science took an in-depth look at the effects of long term water intake on skin health.

The study found that drinking 2.5 liters (9.5) of water every day for four weeks altered skin density and thickness”

“A second study from the University of Missouri Columbia showed that drinking 500 milliliters of water( about two cups) increased blood flow to the skin- Forefront Dermatology 

The Final Thought

As research reveals, the skin is the largest organ of the body. It plays an important role in shielding our bodies against external environmental factors such as UV rays, bacterial injury, and bacterial infections.

Whilst the skin protects us from the harsh external environment, it needs to be fed certain nutrients to be able to carry out its function.

These nutrients and include: omega -3and-6 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, D, E, along with minerals such as selenium, copper, and zinc.

Some of these nutrients have antioxidant properties that boost the immune system, prevent skin inflammation and collagen damage due to UV light and other external environmental factors.

Water is also a key role player in benefiting the skin health by keeping it hydrated. Drinking sufficient amount of water is necessary to hydrate the body and skin.

It also assists other processes such as digestion, absorption, and circulation. “Dehydration and lack of certain key nutrients reflect on the appearance of the skin”

In a nutshell, a diverse and healthy balanced diet is key as this will not only maintain our skin health but will also benefit our overall health.

Thank you for taking the time to reading this article. If you found it useful kindly leave your valued comment, opinion and/or question at the comment section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.



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  1. Some great advice here and people so understimate the value of drinking plenty of water. I also like the classification of food and different options which is useful when thinking about the skin. Its not all about creams and potions. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Phil for your comment. Yes, beauty starts inside out. We feed our skin the right foods, and it will in turn shield us from harmful external factors.

  2. HI Maggie, very informative article. I have to say I struggle to drink water…. have tried so different ways like put fruit or leaves in it but still I need to make an effort to drink water through out my day. I drink a lot of tea but I know it is not the same, and of course it reflects on my skin. Ah…if we just knew the importance of a balanced diet. We can take from food pretty much everything we need. I’m trying to eat as much as healthy I can including all the suggestions you gave. I love fish and grains so that is a good thing. Keep up the good work.

  3. Hi Maggie. Very interesting article, thanks!
    Now that I am aging it is all the more important to take care of my skin, so I am glad I live up to all your recommendations 🙂
    Lately I became very interested in the significance of the colors of food. Yellow and orange food are extremely well for your skin. As you pointed our a varied diet is important. So I try to eat as many colors of food as possible.

    1. Rainbow colors in our diet are sure to provide us with essential nutrients at least that’s what experts say. Thanks for dropping by.

  4. Hey Maggie, I love how each article you write is guaranteed to provide, interesting, beneficial and useful information. Much of my work is in pain management and personal development and one of the questions I’m frequently asked is what can I do in relation to diet that can help relieve my pain? . . . Much of the pain is caused by inflammation, although not the only cause. This article will definitely help many people. Thank you.

  5. Hi Maggie,

    Very beautiful and neat article. I enjoyed reading it. I have a keen interest in health and improving especillay the skin. I have a question for you; how can someone in their 30s to get a spot free skin?

    Thank you


  6. Thank you so much for this highly informative article, Maggie! I will be the first to admit that I have terrible eating habits (I’m eating junk food and drinking soda as I type this. Haha); I really need to clean it up. Although I’m trying to gain weight, drink plenty of water and have a regular exercise routine (I’m a workout junkie), I fall off of the bandwagon when it comes to my diet (I do eat fruits and vegetables, but nowhere near as often as I should), My skin is not in terrible condition, but I want to improve how it looks and feels. I will certainly take these tips to heart. God bless you!

  7. I work with selling cosmetics and content like this help a lot in my business. Thank you.

  8. Thank you for the good information. You are more than right with your article. I am a breastfeeding mom and all the doctors always recommend drinking at least 2 litter of water per day. We definitely are what we eat.

  9. Hi Maggie,
    Thanks for sharing a really interesting and informative article. I try to eat healthily and am always trying to get my kids to drink more water, which I am a big advocate of.
    I love fish but it’s difficult getting my daughters to eat mackeral, sardines and other oily fish. However, they do like nuts which is great and tend to sprinkle on their cereal. They have got young healthy skin which they want to keep looking good.
    Thanks again, Mark

    1. That’s great to hear Mark. It helps to instill the importance of healthy eating to your kids whilst they are still young and they will do this habitually when They grow older.

    2. That’s great Mark, it helps to instill the importance of healthy eating to your kids whilst they are still young and they will do this habitually when they grow older. Thanks for leaving the comment.

  10. Hi Maggie,

    Thanks for this informative article about foods for healthy skin. Among all the vitamins you mentioned, I find myself only eat enough foods for vitamin C. For the rest, I might need to eat other foods but still keep in balance.

    Although we know the importance to drink water, people tend to forget this truth. I personally bring a 2L bottle with me, so I could know how much do I drink every day. Do you have a better way to remind ourselves about drinking enough water per day?


    1. Hi Matt

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t really have a better way to suggest in terms of drinking water however I drink water when I feel thirsty. It was not always the case that I remember drinking water daily. I started by drinking 2 glasses of water immediately when I wake up in the morning, say an 30 minutes before breakfast.

      I then drink two glasses in between breakfast and lunch, especially when I feel thirsty. Sometimes I crave tea then replace tea by drinking water instead.

      I also try drinking 3 glasses of water in between lunch and super and drink one glass before bedtime.

      I’ve also noticed that if I didn’t drink enough water sometimes it will be because some of the foods I eat have water content, such as fruits like pawpaw, watermelon, pear.

      I try replacing things like tea by drinking water instead if I feel I didn’t drink enough water. One more thing,I don’t force myself to drink water. I started with less water, say like 4 glasses a day. When I got used to it I increased to more glasses until I was able to drink water religiously.

      I hope this helps.

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