Nourish Your Skin from Within
By Helaine Krasner, MS, RDN, CSOWM, CDN
Did you know that skin is the largest organ in our body? We often hear about the benefits of good nutrition to support health, but did you know the benefits extend all the way out to your skin? Our skin plays an important role in providing a physical and chemical barrier that protects us from harmful environmental exposures. And our skin produces vitamin D with exposure to ultraviolet light.
Although it is natural that we notice changes in our skin as we age there are important nutrients to consume that can help reduce the signs of aging and keep our skin healthy. Some factors that negatively impact skin health are oxidative stress, inflammation, and dryness. Oxidative stress occurs when our body is unable to detoxify an excess of free radicals that occur as a natural part of human metabolism but also result from sun exposure and an unhealthy diet high in processed foods. Poor diet also promotes inflammation and inadequate hydration results in dryness.
Consuming nutrient dense foods and staying hydrated helps support good health. These are some noteworthy foods to consider including in your diet that contain nutrients specifically associated with skin health.
- Foods rich in vitamin C and antioxidants: citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and kiwi
- Foods rich in vitamin E (an antioxidant): almonds, sunflower seeds
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (help fight inflammation): fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, mackerel).
- Second best are plant sources of omega 3: ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts/almonds, edamame(soybeans)
- Foods rich in polyphenols, another antioxidant: tea/coffee, grapes, dark chocolate (look for more than 60% cacao)
- Honorable mention for tomatoes due to containing the antioxidant lycopene that can help keep skin smooth
Before investing in high priced facial creams and treatments consider investing in nutritious plant foods and finding ways to include them in your dietary routine. As always it is important to aim for a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods in recommended amounts and not to overconsume calories due to the harmful effects of excess weight. Too much of a good thing can dilute the health benefits we are hoping to achieve.
Helaine Krasner, MS, RDN, CSOWM, CDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist who takes great pride in helping our Bariatric and Medical Weight Management patients achieve their health and weight loss goals.