One of the main reasons I initially became so interested in nutrition years back was to make my skin as nice, clear, and healthy as possible. So here are my top ten nutrients for clear, healthy, glowing skin! Enjoy! *keep in mind that all of the sources listed here are plant-based, because I am vegan, so I am recommending foods that I would personally eat, though some of these nutrients are available in animal products, I don’t worry about that. 🙂
1: Water! : If your body is dehydrated, your face will be too! Water keeps our skin hydrated and healthy and helps flush toxins out of the body.
Sources: Uhh… the tap! (if you live in BC tap water is usually safe) or you can get a filter for your faucet. What ever you do please don’t buy bottled water! Buy a water bottle!
2: Fibre: it keeps toxins from accumulating in the colon and keeps “things” moving smoothly. If your digestive system is backed up, your skin will be negatively effected. Good digestion = good skin.
Sources: Anything that comes from the ground! (i.e.. plants!) Eat some fruit, veggies, grains, beans, whatever.
3: EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids): these are important for growth and keeping the skin moisturized, soft, and young. They also have anti-inflammatory benefits for acne. You will want to focus mostly on getting lots of the Omega 3’s, because Omega 6’s are not needed in as high amounts and are more common.
Sources (Omega 3’s): flaxseeds & oil, chia seeds & oil, pumpkin seeds & oil.
(Omega 6’s): most plant oils, including canola, corn, peanut, sesame, safflower, and sunflower oils.
4: B-vitamins: these guys are essential for many bodily functions, and also essential for keeping the skin in good condition.
Sources: nutritional yeast, whole grains, beans, peas, nuts, as well as leafy greens.
5: Vitamin C: as an antioxidant, it helps prevent oxidation, and aids in the formation and maintenance of collagen.
Sources: citrus fruits, papaya, cantaloupes, strawberries, peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, and almost any other fruit or veggie will have some.
6: Zinc: this mineral helps maintain body levels of vitamin A, aids in collagen formation, improves wound healing, and also helps the skin’s oil glands function. Zinc is one of the main anti-acne nutrients.
Sources: Whole grains, such as whole wheat, rye, oats, pecans, brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds. NOTE FOR GIRLS: taking birth control pills ( or having an IUD) increases your body’s need for Zinc, so load up!
7: Vitamin A (beta-carotene): an antioxidant that also stimulates growth in the base layer of the skin, and helps protect the skin from cancer cell development. Beneficial in healing acne, along side zinc and vitamin E.
Sources: yellow & orange fruits and veggies, such as peppers, carrots, mangos, apricots etc. as well as dark leafy greens like spinach and kale.
8: Vitamin E: acts as an antioxidant, stabilizing cell membranes and protecting tissues including the skin from oxidation.
Sources: the oil components of all grains, seeds, and nuts, as well as cold pressed vegetable oils and soybeans.
9: Selenium: this mineral is an antioxidant as well that protects cell membranes and tissues , including the skin, and helps slow the aging process. It works synergistically with vitamin E to serve these functions.
Sources: brazil nuts, barley, oats, whole wheat, and brown rice.
10: Silica (aka silicon): silica is a mineral that promotes strength and firmness in the body tissues, including the skin.
Sources: whole wheat, oats, and brown rice. also in lettuce, cucumber, avocados, strawberries, onions, and dark greens.
Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you have questions! 🙂
References: “Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medecine (21st century edition)” , 2006, by Elson M. Haas, MD. with Buck Levin, PhD, RD.