Keeping your skin happy with food

Banana and Kiwi fruit

With summer coming up, it is important to remember to look after your skin as best you can when exposed to the harsh UV rays pumping out from the sun. Yes, it is important to have some sun exposure, and the length of time you can stay in the sun varies, but there are internal elements which also assist the health of your skin. So which nutrients are most important for helping with healthy skin growth?

The skin is actually an organ which covers the external side of your body, and is made up of many different layers, and contains a variety of features such as hair follicles and pores to assist with keeping us cool and warm. We can nourish our skin from the outside with the use of moisturisers and lotions, and the food we eat can provide us with different vitamins and minerals to keep our skin in the best possible condition. Fruits and vege contain the greatest variety of nutrients to keep skin looking healthy and functioning as it should.

  • Antioxidants: these are nutrients such as beta-carotene and vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A, which can curb the damage caused by compounds called free radicals which damage the cells within our body. Beta-carotene is rich in orange fruits and vegetables, and vitamin C is rich in citrus fruit, and fruit and vege, and vitamin E rich sources include nuts, vegetables such as sweet potato, and fruit such as avocado. Blueberries, strawberries, different types of peppers and green leafy vegetables also contain a wide range of antioxidants which keeps our skin and other cells healthy and happy.
  • Omega 3 rich foods: oily fish such as salmon, and sardines are excellent sources of omega 3 which assist with reducing inflammation in the body and encouraging the production of healthy top skin cells to replace the old ones, creating a strong barrier against external factors which can damage your skin and make you feel unwell. Plant based sources of omega 3 also include walnuts, flaxseed oil or linseeds, chia seeds, and some other plant based oils.
  • A well-balanced diet: although this is not a nutrient, having a wide variety of foods and nutrients as part of your daily intake will assist in developing healthy skin and ensuring that the combination of nutrients available is ready to assist with healing if any damage is done to the skin. A wide variety of fruits and vegetables is key to healthy skin.

It can take a period of time before you notice changes in the health of your skin, so be patient and continue putting in the effort to make changes if you need to see long term results. If you want to know more about the nutrients that are good for your skin, or how to change your intake for healthier skin, or to discuss the use or need of supplements for healthier skin, make an appointment with one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians for more information.