By Sunithi Selvaraj, RD
Get Naturally Healthy Skin
You are what you eat, and that goes for your skin. Feed your skin healthy, nourishing foods and see your skin glow with happiness, health, and sunshine! I am a natural health person and believe in the power of good nutrition to nourish your body and skin. Here are my favorite skin helpers!
Chicken broth photo by Jakub Kapusnak from Foodiesfeed.
The popular trend for skin care nutrition is collagen. It is no wonder that collagen supplements are taking over the skin care industry—because they work. Collagen is a protein that provides structural support to connective tissue, muscle, and skin. It also plays a role in joint and bone health.
You can get your collagen from a homemade natural source which is bone broth, or you can just buy a can and drink it up. You can make bone broth by simmering animal bones (a mix of leftover chicken, pork, beef) 20 hours in a crockpot. Alternatively, place bones in a pressure cooker for 2 hours. Then simmer for about 4 more hours to get all the good skin-strengthening substance out.
Vegan Collagen Sources
I started consuming bone broth a few years back to help my joints. As a bonus, my hair started to sprout and my skin looks way healthier. Now if the thought of animal bones creeps you out and the process is too long, try a collagen supplement. A good supplement should have collagen from a variety of sources.
Collagen, which is literally a skin cement, is better absorbed with vitamin C. If your supplement does not contain vitamin C, you could add a squirt of lemon or eat an orange or take a vitamin C pill with the bone broth. Collagen is also best absorbed on an empty stomach. So drink it first thing in the morning, 1 hour before a meal, 2 hours after your meal, or the last thing at night for maximum absorption.
Avocado photo by Kira Schwarz from Pexels.
Avocados, nuts, and seeds are a powerhouse of skin health nutrition. Apart from supplying the skin with a nice dose of omega-3, omega-6, and vitamin E, they protect skin from UV damage and keep the skin supple and soft. Of note, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds are some serious skin helpers. Fatty fish like salmon, sardines and herrings also have an abundance of skin-friendly omega-3 and help the skin the same way as nuts and seeds do.
Sky photo by Lukas with vitamin D photo by Pietro Jeng from Pexels.
Vitamin D is known as the “skin vitamin.” It does much to strengthen the bone structure which is a framework for your skin. Strong bones prevent your skin from sagging. The calcitriol in vitamin D helps skin repair, renewal, and prevents skin aging. A natural source of vitamin D is the sun. Many people limit sun exposure to prevent UV damage. With many folks deficient in vitamin D, your best bet is to pop a vitamin D pill.
Eating The Rainbow Raw
Root vegetables photo by Daniel Cuklev from Foodiesfeed.
Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables pumps your skin with all the vitamins and minerals you need for healthy skin. Think of bell peppers in a variety of colors, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, mushrooms, radish, carrot, and jicama with a nice creamy dip. Eating raw produce will give you more vitamins than if you cook them. An exception to this is the popular tomato which increases in lycopene when you blanch or cook it. You will get more lycopene (a skin-friendly antioxidant) from marinara sauce, tomato chutney, tomato soup, etc.
Of note is spinach, “The Queen of Vegetables,” is a skin health powerhouse. When you whip some spinach into smoothies or eat it raw in a salad, your skin begins to glow, not a neon green, but a nice healthy glow. Of note, some good skin-helper fruits are berries, oranges, papaya, grapefruit, and pomegranate. Raw unpasteurized juices are a good way to get a maximum dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your system.
Watermelon photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels.
A post on skin health is not complete without discussing sunscreen. Many people consider topical sunscreen a necessity for anti-aging and general skin health. You can drink sunscreen in the form of watermelon juice (the rind especially has a good dose of skin-protective lycopene) or tomato juice. Supplements like vitamin E, vitamin D, resveratrol, and fern block provide internal protection. Not a fan of slathering on creams? Replace the creams with these internal remedies or use them as extra insurance along with sunscreen lotions.
Bioactive water photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels.
The most valuable thing you can do for your skin is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water helps skin stay hydrated and increases skin elasticity. The more elastic your skin is, the less wrinkles you will see. While it is recommended to drink about half a gallon of water per day, drinking bioactive water, which is water with fruit or vegetables in it, will boost your absorption of H2O.
You can drink less water per day if it is bioactive since this is absorbed five times as much as plain water. To make bioactive water, add some slices of lemon, fruit, herbs, etc. to water. Cran water is 100% unsweetened cranberry juice added to water in the ratio of 1:10. This is a skin-healthy natural diuretic that takes all the water retention and bloat away from your body and skin.
Blue margarita photo by Antonio Jose Meza Cárdenas from Pexels.
Foods to stay clear of if you want healthy skin are sugar, salt, and alcohol. The occasional drink, donut or side of fries will not hurt your skin. However, regularly eating junk food and alcohol will damage it. Do a test: Stay off sugar for just one week and watch your skin improve.
Keep your life fairly stress-free or do what it takes to destress, eat healthy, be happy doing things you love and do not obsess over your skin. Everyone gets older and people use a variety of cosmetic and dermatology products to age gracefully. These natural skin helpers will slow down the aging process!
Main photo by Orione Conceição from Pexels.