The skin is the largest organ of our body, it is the barrier that protects us from microbes, external environment, regulates body temperature, and helps us feel a touch and change in temperature. Skin is also our beauty; we are constantly conscious of achieving a glowing skin which is age-resistant. We use the latest creams, beauty treatments and any other means to beautify our skin, but we forget that skin health is achieved inside out. What we eat, our mental health and our general lifestyle is what affects our skin.
Skin is a live organ and needs nourishment. Dead cells are constantly being replaced by new young cells, when we eat nourishing food, the new cells are healthy and the skin remains supple, young and glowing. While an overall good nourishing diet rich in proteins, antioxidants, healthy fats and fiber will obviously help, there are a few nutrients that are more important for our skin.
Here're 7 Nutrients That Are Essential For Skin Health:
1. Get the antioxidants: Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and they protect the skin cells from getting damaged. Our environment today is polluted, our lives stressed and all these factors will effect skin ageing, early wrinkling and dull skin. By adding a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, making your meals colourful will help you nourish your body with the entire range of antioxidants that protect the skin.
2. Vitamin C is vital for the skin. It is an important molecule for the synthesis of collagen, which is the building block of skin. Collagen is what prevents the skin from sagging, keeping it plump and young. In addition, Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and is critical for collagen synthesis. Vitamin C is available from commonly available foods and can be taken easily on daily basis. Lemons, papaya, tomatoes, guava are the best and easiest sources to include in your diet.
(Also Read: 5 Essential Skin Care Tips For Men)
3. Vitamin E alert: Another vitamin that is vital for skin health. It is the most abundant in the skin and protects against the damage caused by free radical production due to the Ultra violet rays. Vitamin E levels decrease with age causing it to sag and wrinkle. Nuts and seeds like almonds, avocado, hazelnuts, pine nuts and cooking oils like sunflower and corn oil are good sources of vitamin E.
4. Selenium is the secret to healthy skin. Acne is a sign of low selenium. An important mineral for the skin, Selenium prevents premature ageing and wrinkling of our skin by neutralising the free radicals that damage skin cells. It is also very effective in protecting against UV ray damage and prevents pigmentation. Selenium is found in lentils, brown rice, chicken, Brazil nuts etc.
5. Fat facts: Excess fat intake may be detrimental to heart health and obesity, but eating the right quantity and quality is essential for overall health. Omega -3 has an important role to play in skin health. They are known to add radiance and softness to the skin and keep it hydrated. Omega -6 is an integral part of the cell structure and this maintains the skin tone. Healthy plant oils, nuts and seeds like flax seed, chia seeds and fatty fish are good sources of both these fats.
6. Spices and herbs work well with skin. First up is haldi. Turmeric is a must-have for skin health as it is a potent anti-inflammatory food. Curcumin is known to provide anti-ageing properties .Tulsi is associated with improving the texture of the skin and keeping it smooth looking. The phytochemical-rich Ginseng is a herb popular for skin health as it protects against ageing. Ashwagandha helps rejuvenate the skin, keeping it glowing. Spices like cinnamon, fennel, cumin - are all known for their properties in adding digestion. A healthy digestion means a healthy skin. Most of the Indian spices are also rich in antioxidants and help the skin remain healthy and protected.
7. Hydration always: Last but not the least, keeping good hydration means a plump, soft and healthy skin. Any fluid that is sugar-free will aid in adding to the overall hydration quotient. So drink up to 45mls/kg body weight in this humid weather to stay hydrated and keep your skin glowing and fresh. Water is the best, but summer vegetables and fruits also add a lot of moisture to our meals.
Skin is the reflection of overall health, so in addition to eating a healthy meal, eat at the right time, eat fresh home cooked food, exercise daily and sleep well.S
About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.