I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” There’s truth to that statement as apples are filled with Vitamin C, which boosts immunity and helps maintain overall health. Vitamin C also helps produce collagen, which creates firmer, tighter skin. So, apples and a slew of other fruits, vegetables, and other food groups serve the double-duty goodness of creating health and beauty from the inside-out.
Skin is an organ and responds to healthy nutrition as positively as other organs in our body. However, it’s challenging for our skin to get those vital nutrients from food alone because less than 1% of the vitamins we ingest ever make their way to the skin. You want to eat well to be healthy inside, and apply externally to restore the exterior strength and beauty. I like to think of this concept as a “nutrition sandwich”.
What should be on that sandwich? Here’s my advice on how to eat yourself (and your family) beautiful:
Sweet potatoes, carrots, green tea, broccoli and pumpkin are rich in vitamin A.
Vitamin A is applied to the skin to reduce wrinkles, firm, and tighten, and to protect against UV radiation. When applying topically, vitamin A is effective in creams, lotions, and serums. It’s important to point out, that in high concentrations; topical vitamin A can be harsh. I like applying A daily, so I use the milder forms with concentrations of .01-.05%.
As I mentioned earlier, vitamin C is a co-factor in the production of collagen. It also boosts UV absorption when worn under sunscreen and helps improve immune defense against cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, and eye disease. One pomegranate can supply 40% of an adult’s daily requirement of vitamin C. Other foods rich in C include oranges, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and tomatoes. Vitamin C has to be present in order for collagen to be made, so I encourage daily use of a concentration of 20% or higher. Apply in the morning under sunscreen to boost sun protection.
What is the only vitamin the body makes? Vitamin D; all other vitamins come from food. D is made in the skin and gets converted to a hormone. When vitamin D hormone levels are balanced, a lot of skin conditions will improve such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and heavy wrinkling. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources of Vitamin D. Liver, mushrooms, and egg yolks are great sources too. Check out SkinAuthority.com for some great VitaD-rich recipes. USDA daily requirement for D is 600 IU per day. I consume 3000 IU per day as I need more replenishment to maintain my active lifestyle. I apply morning and night. As we age, the skin’s ability to produce D declines. Seasonal variations (such as dreary weather) and geographical location also reduce our skin’s ability to manufacture vitamin D from sunlight.
How does skin benefit from plant-based sources such as flax seed, walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts? Those foods are packed with Omega Fatty Acids, including Omegas 3 and 6, to improve the skin layer that holds moisture in and keeps irritation out. Fatty Acids may also improve rosacea and dermatitis. They are also found in fish, including salmon, tilapia, and cod as well as safflower or sunflower oil.
In addition, I urge you to eat whole food sources to extract the greatest nutritional value of food. It’s what the body absorbs and uses that count, which is why whole foods should be on your grocery list. Whole foods (fruits, vegetables, etc.) offer a healthy solution for everyone in the family – kids, seniors, vegans, and raw dieters.