The health benefits of eating a whole foods diet are endless. Some will find improvement in body composition, energy levels, or even just mood and quality of life. Another motivator for adopting a healthy diet is seeing an improvement in skin. Supplying your body with the proper vitamins and nutrients can nourish your body inside and out. If you’re looking for better skin – free of acne, bumps, or dryness – focus on getting an adequate amount of these key vitamins and minerals from your food. Vitamin A is one of the most recognized fat-soluble vitamins for promoting healthy skin. It promotes cell growth and differentiation in the skin, and is effective in preventing the formation of certain forms of acne. If you experien
ce rough, dry skin or scaly bumps on the back of your legs and arms, this could be a sign of Vitamin A deficiency. Many physicians prescribe their patients with synthetic forms of vitamin A to relieve conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and acne, which can also be treate
d by consuming natural sources of pre-formed vitamin A. Preformed vitamin A, which is optimally absorbed by the body, can be found in traditional food sources such as liver, cod liver oil, and whole eggs. I recommend Green Pasture’s Fermented Cod Liver Oil for supplementation. Vitamin A can also be found in leafy greens and red/orange fruits.
Zinc is a mineral that serves many physiological functions, including gene expression, immune function, and protein synthesis. For the skin, it has anti-inflammatory effects and protects against UV radiation. Zinc is best absorbed from animal sources, which are not bound to phytates (an anti-nutrient found in plants and nuts). Red meat such as beef and lamb, seafood like oysters, scallops, and shellfish are all great whole food sources.
Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant and is important for growth and repair of tissues, providing benefits to the body beyond just skin health. It is responsible for the formation of collagen, which is a protein needed for healthy skin, bones, and teeth. Lack of vitamin C can contribute to a condition known has hyperkeratosis pilaris (scaly bumps on arms and legs) when collagen formation is impaired and the follicles are damaged. Observational studies have shown that higher intake of vitamin C in one’s diet is associated with better skin appearance, less dry skin, and less wrinkles. The highest sources of Vitamin C can be found in bell peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kiwi, and citrus fruits. It is best to eat these foods raw or slightly cooked since vitamin C is sensitive to heat.
These are just a few among many of the nutrients that can help improve skin, but focusing on getting these 3 in your diet is a good place to start. You might be asking: what can I do right now to start? I would say start with these 3 things:
1. Eat liver 2x a week. If you can't stand the thought of stomaching this nutrient dense superfood, find a good cod liver oil supplement, such as Green Pasture's Fermented CLO.
2. Make a green smoothie. Stuff your blender with kale, juice from a lemon or orange, and some frozen berries. (Vitamin C and Vitamin A)1. Eat liver 2 times a week. If you can't stand the thought of stomaching this nutrient dense superfood, find a good cod liver oil supplement, such as Green Pasture's Fermented CLO. (Vitamin A)
3. Find a good source of red meat from a farmer or Whole Foods. Try to stay away from conventional meat, but if it's all you can find, choose the leanest cuts. (Vitamin A and Zinc)
Stay tuned for more skin care tips and ways to care for your body, both inside and out.