Real food inspiration & healthy living tips to help you achieve and keep a happy body.
Top 10 Essential Nutrients for Healthy Skin
Everybody wants soft, glowing, smooth and unblemished skin. From growing out of teenage breakouts to fighting off oily versus dry to covering up with makeup to trying our best to age gracefully (wrinkles are natural, folks), we go through a lot of phases with our skin.
The skin is in fact the body’s largest organ, and it only makes sense that we treat it with care. Naturally, we can find a way to make an impact with the foods we eat.
We’re going to suggest that you forgo the facelift or the commercial acne products and instead, get on board with these ten nutrients that will nourish your skin every single day.
Let’s start off with one of the lesser known nutrients that could improve your skin a LOT. When we’re young, our bodies have plenty of this stuff to work with.
As we age, it is often replaced in our bodies with calcium. Collagen – the connective tissue in our skin – relies heavily on silica as it’s one of its main components. When we have enough silica, it increases collagen production which can help reduce wrinkles.
Supplementing with silica has also been proven to decrease acne because it lessens inflammation of our skin cells.
Where to get it: Food sources include apples, oranges, fish, oatmeal and seeds. You can also supplement with bamboo extract which contains around 70% silica.
Omega-3 fatty acids
What aren’t omega-3 fatty acids good for? We stress the importance of packing in the omega-3’s for optimal health all the time, especially in the Happy Body Formula meal plan, and glowing skin is no exception.
These fatty acids can be especially beneficial to people who suffer from chronically inflamed skin such as those with eczema. They help the skin to easily repair itself, manage cortisol levels which in turn prevents wrinkles, and helps keep the skin moist.
Where to get it: Omega-3 fatty acids don’t naturally occur in the body, so eating oily fish like salmon or sardines is the best source of the stuff. Plant sources include flaxseed and hemp seeds. Alternatively, you can supplement with fish oil pills.
This trace mineral is kind of a big deal when it comes to healthy skin. Besides just wrinkles and acne, our skin is often exposed and wounded, and this is where zinc comes in.
It helps to repair the damaged tissue effectively. Zinc oxide is also a good natural sunblock as it helps to protect the skin from harmful UV rays, warding off both sunburn and the threat of skin cancer. Lastly, zinc is an amazing acne-fighting nutrient because it helps to regulate the skin’s natural oils.
Where to get it: Oysters, pecans and mushrooms are great real food sources of zinc. You can supplement with zinc oxide cream using it as a natural sunblock or even a dandruff treatment.
Dry or flaky skin a problem? Moisturizer comes in all shapes and sizes, but oftentimes, it doesn’t do much for the problem at hand. A more long term solution? A bit of vitamin A goes a long way.
Vitamin A pairs with beta-carotene (a precursor, so it helps to produce it in the body) to provide skin repair by reducing damage from free radicals, for example, overexposure to the sun.
Overall, this vitamin makes your skin stronger giving a new meaning to “thick skin,” so getting plenty of it will help you stay protected against infection.
Where to get it: Beta-carotene helps the body to produce vitamin A, so make sure you’re eating vibrant veggies like collards, asparagus and sweet potatoes. If you’re a fan of offal, liver packs in loads of vitamin A.
This B vitamin – otherwise known as Niacin – is one of the most potent in giving your skin the VIP treatment it deserves. One study claims the stuff can prevent skin cancer!
It’s also quite an effective acne treatment. People who suffer from rosacea or chronic redness of the skin can benefit from supplementing with vitamin B3. Finally, regular niacin intake can help ward off signs of aging (no Botox required) and increases moisture in skin.
Where to get it: You can supplement with Niacin tablets or you can opt for real food. Some good sources include lamb’s liver, tuna and green peas.
This miracle vitamin is the holy grail of skin food. It can do just about anything it puts its mind to. Vitamin C can reduce brown spots caused by the sun, boost healthy collagen production for smooth skin, and improve the skin’s healing process leading to a quicker rebound from breakouts and acne.
Moreover, vitamin C can actually increase effectiveness of sunscreen! Next time you’re packing a picnic for the beach, don’t forget your citrus.
Where to get it: Not just oranges! You can make a vitamin C serum with powder at home to supplement with easily and on-the-go. When planning out vitamin C heavy meals, choose foods like bell peppers, fruits like guava and kiwi, and plenty of leafy greens.
This vitamin isn’t just a vitamin, it’s also a powerful antioxidant. With antioxidants come good things! This is a classic ingredient for skincare products, and it’s been used for a long time.
It helps to neutralize free radicals and lessen their damage on skin. You can mix up some vitamin E with olive oil for an effective treatment for rough skin, or you can use it to reduce brown spots as application promotes healthy cell regeneration.
Where to get it: You can often find it in the vitamins and supplements aisle in capsules with liquid inside. Though it’s good for skin, it can be harmful, so it’s best to use vitamin E in conjunction with other antioxidants (products that also include vitamin C and/or CoEnzyme Q10). Avocado, almonds and hazelnuts provide solid food sources of this vitamin.
This essential mineral – also an antioxidant – is one in which a little goes a long way. We don’t need much, but the small amount we do get makes a big impact, especially on our skin.
It protects cells from damage like most nutrients on our list, making it a suitable contender for those of you who like to soak up the sun.
Since the immune system relies pretty heavily on selenium, it’s one of the most vital nutrients in fighting skin infection. Finally, this nutrient is anti-inflammatory which helps the skin to age more gracefully.
Where to get it: You don’t need to overdo it with selenium. A single Brazil nut provides TWICE your daily intake! Otherwise, just make sure that you’re getting plenty of seafood and beef which are generally sufficient sources of the stuff.
Another B vitamin makes our list, and this time, we’re talking Pantothenic acid (B5’s fancy nickname). It supports proper healing of wounds especially when used as a topical treatment. It also increases levels of glutathione which act as a powerful antioxidant.
This means your skin cells are better protected from sun, pollution and any other physical stressors because the cell membranes are in good shape.
Where to get it: Once again, liver ends up in our “foods for your skin” list as it’s quite a potent source of vitamin B5. Not a fan? Fish, shellfish, and chicken will do. Chronic stress and pregnancy can put you at risk for deficiency, but otherwise, you ought to be getting enough through diet.
This technically is NOT a nutrient, but it IS something you can easily supplement with. Like eating liver is good for your liver, collagen consumption is good for the collagen in your skin which is largely what it’s made up of.
Makes sense, right? This protein, produced by our skin, literally helps hold it together. Therefore, it’s one of the best remedies for wrinkles and overall suppleness in our skin. Our skin produces less collagen as we age, so supplementation via diet is very important.
Where to get it: Plenty of foods contain collagen-producing ingredients like leafy greens, avocado oil, rosehips (which make a lovely tea) and even chocolate.
A pretty tasty lineup, eh? Gelatin-rich foods like homemade bone broth, gelatin gummies, or a grass-fed collagen hydrolysate powder are easy ways to add a collagen boost as well.
What’s your secret to healthy, vibrant skin? Share it with us below and share this list with your friends!