Skin Care Diets  - thesmarttime Speaks

Skin diets and their effects

Eating well and drinking plenty of water will help your skin, as well as the rest of your body, stay healthy. But can certain nutrients help prevent skin problems, such as dryness or loss of elasticity? And how much is too much?

Cindy Moore, M.S., R.D., Director of Nutrition Therapy at The Cleveland Clinic and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, says certain nutrients, particularly vitamins A and C, are vital for healthy skin, and their best source is food. She says that it’s virtually impossible to acquire a toxic amount of vitamin or minerals solely from food. "That risk only comes from taking supplements," she says. Ms. Moore offers the following guide, but her best advice is to "eat a variety of foods and enjoy all the benefits."

Vitamin A

Best bets: sweet potatoes, tomato sauce, liver, eggs, milk

Also found in: orange, red and yellow fruits and vegetables, such as mangoes, apricots, pink grapefruit, tomatoes, asparagus; green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli

Essential for: antioxidant properties, which help reduce the risk for certain diseases, including cancer, and help fight and prevent infection; growth and repair of cells, tissues and skin; relieving allergy symptoms

When lacking, can cause: dryness, itching and loss of skin elasticity

B Complex Vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, B-6, B-12 and biotin)

Best bets: whole grains and whole-grain cereals; enriched and fortified grain and cereal produc

Also found in: rice, wheat germ, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, fish, eggs, almonds, liver, yeast, low-fat dairy products

Essential for: relieving dryness and itchiness; easing stress

When lacking, can cause: dry, flaky, sensitive skin; eye disorders

Riboflavin (B2)

Best bets: whole grain and enriched breads and cereals; milk and other dairy products; meat and organ meats; eggs; nuts; green leafy vegetables

Niacin

Best bets: whole-grain, enriched and fortified breads and cereals; poultry, fish, beef, peanut butter, legumes, enriched and fortified grains and grain products

Note: Too much niacin, typically as a result of supplements, can cause flushed skin, rashes and liver damage.

B-6 (pyridoxine)

Best bets: organ meats, chicken, pork, fish, whole grains, nuts, legumes

B-12 (cobalamin)

Found in: fish, milk and milk products, eggs, meat, poultry, fortified breakfast cereals

Note: Certain people may be at risk for B12 deficiency and should speak to a physician or dietitian before using a supplement. They include adults over 55, those with pernicious anemia or gastrointestinal disorders, and vegans (vegetarian who eats plant products only).

Biotin

Best bets: eggs, liver, yeast breads, cereals

Vitamin C

Best bets: citrus fruits, berries, red bell peppers, broccoli

Also found in: potatoes, garlic, onions, dark green and green leafy vegetables (spinach, parsley), apples, cabbage, tomatoes, sprouts, melons

Essential for: antioxidant properties; antihistamine effects; fighting skin infections and healing wounds; producing collagen and elastin for firm skin; healthy gums and firm capillaries

When lacking, can cause: scurvy; loose teeth and swollen gums; excess bleeding; wounds that won’t heal

Vitamin E

Best bets: green leafy vegetables, broccoli, oils, almonds, hazelnuts

Also found in: peanuts, red bell peppers, olives, brown rice, apples, whole grains, wheat germ, sweet potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils, split peas)

Essential for: antioxidant properties; reducing risk of disease; fighting free-radical damage; potential to help slow aging

Sodium (salt)

Essential for: regulating fluids and blood pressure

Note: Nearly everyone gets enough salt. Large amounts of sodium are found in highly processed foods (fast food, canned products, frozen dinners). These foods should be eaten infrequently, because an excess of sodium causes fluid retention and swelling and may contribute to other health problems.

Zinc

Best bets: meat, seafood, liver, eggs, milk, whole grains, wheat germ, fermented soybean paste (miso)

Also found in: apricots, peaches, onions, seafood (oysters), cocoa

Essential for: healing and overall skin health; working with vitamin A to maintain and repair skin; providing strength, elasticity and firmness to skin; promoting tissue growth; playing a role in many vital functions in the body

When lacking, can cause: reduced resistance to infection

Macro Nutrients

Carbohydrates

Best bets: whole-grain carbohydrates (breads, barley, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, couscous, oatmeal)

Essential for: energy, fiber and B vitamins

Protein

Best bets: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dry beans, nuts, tofu

Essential for: energy and repair of body tissues and cells

Note: Excess protein is stored in the body as fat.

Fats (essential fatty acids linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acid)

Best bets: vegetable oils, poultry fat, soy oils, nuts and seeds

Essential for: maintaining healthy, hydrated skin

When lacking: dry, scaly and flaky skin; hair loss

Water

Best bets: water, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, cooked grain products

Essential for: proper hydration of cells; regulating body temperature; carrying nutrients to cells and wastes away from cells

When lacking, can cause: dehydration

Note: Check your urine color to see if you’re getting enough water.

Light yellow—good

Clear—maybe too much

Dark yellow/orange—not enough