Sunday, April 27, 2014

Secrets of Healthier Skin

In the nutrition class I teach, students ask what they can do to have healthier skin.  Are there any foods that would promote healthier skin?  Yes.  Below is a list of things you can do and eat for healthier skin. In the next two weeks, we will review foods and nutrients that will help you look younger and healthier.  
Water – keeping hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your skin.  By keeping hydrated you can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  No, it won’t remove wrinkles but will give your skin a softer, smoother appearance.  Drinking fluids also helps your blood flow so improves circulation and gives you a glow. 
Selenium – a trace mineral you might not have heard of.  This mineral helps protect your skin cells from damage.  Where can you find it?  

                                Brazil nuts, mushrooms, shrimp, fish, and whole grains (e.g. oatmeal, Cheerios,    whole grain breads)  

CoQ Coenzyme Q – one of Dr. Oz’s favorites.  This is an antioxidant that your body actually makes.  But as we age, our production decreases.  CoQ helps protect our skin cells from damage.  It is also used to produce energy in our bodies.  You can use it topically – in creams you put on your skin.  These are reported to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.  Food Sources:

                Fish (salmon and tuna), chicken, turkey, organ meats, and whole grains (e.g. Oatmeal, Cheerios, whole wheat bread.)

Antioxidants – foods rich in antioxidants help slow damage to your cells by free radicals.  Skin cells damage by free radicals can lead to signs of aging, wrinkles and dry skin.  Great food sources of antioxidants are fresh fruits and vegetables.  Vary the color as each color delivers different antioxidants.  Food sources:

                Fruits:  Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries), apricots, tangerines

Vegetables:  tomatoes, beets, squash, spinach, sweet potato, peppers, beans

Vitamin A think of this vitamin as the repair tool for your skin.  It helps prevent dry, flaky skin.  The darker the color the more vitamin A in the food.  Lettuce would have little, but spinach a lot.  Food sources:
o   Fruits:  Orange, cantaloupe, apricots

o   Vegetables  - carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach

o   Dairy – choose low fat milk and yogurt
What a great time of year to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables.  Our farmer’s market just opened.  Stop by your local farmer’s marker or farmer’s stand and choose an array of fresh fruits and vegetables.  At your grocer’s choose the whole grains, mushrooms for that salad, and fish or poultry.
Sources:  Foods for Healthy Skin Image source:  Water

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