Who does not want to have beautiful and healthy skin?
We all believe that beauty comes from the inside. Aside from good skin hygiene, it has been long known that healthy skin is related to good nutrition, hydration, physical exercise, rest, and stress-free life. Regarding nutrition, recently more researches found that various dermatological conditions are influenced by diet. Food high in nutrients such as vitamin D, E, C, polyphenols, carotenoids, omega-3 fatty acid, pre and probiotics are beneficial in improving and maintaining healthy skin, and also delaying aging.
Known as the “sunshine” vitamin, at first vitamin D was acknowledged as an important nutrient for bone and teeth formation. However, researches show increasing evidence that vitamin D efficiency is involved in development of numerous dermatological diseases. There are currently only 3 known sources of vitamin D: sunlight, food source, and vitamin D supplements. Therefore, sunbathing as long as 15 – 20 minutes can help to increase body level of vitamin D. Food sources include cod liver oil, egg-yolks, mackerel, salmon, tuna and fortified milk.
Vitamin C and E
Known in other name as L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin which is not produced by human body. Whereas vitamin E is fat soluble vitamin commonly known as tocopherols. Vitamin C and E work synergistically to reduce free-radicals, substances which are hazardous to the body and skin. Fruits such as citrus fruits, kiwis, chili peppers, and berries are rich in vitamin C. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn and soy.
Polyphenols are widely found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, peanuts and soy beans. They are known for a broad-spectrum of health-promoting effects because of their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant actions. Therefore, they are beneficial in combating free-radicals which can make the skin wrinkly and dry.
Carotenoids are vitamin A derivates. Beta-carotene, astaxanthin, lycopene and retinol are included in this nutrient group. They act as anti-oxidants and skin protector from UV radiation. Carotenoids are rich in colorful fruits and vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, mangos, papayas, and mangosteens. They can also be found in algae, salmon, shrimp and crayfish.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
The high content of omega-3 fatty acid in fatty fish, shellfish, nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados and leafy vegetables can help delaying skin aging.
Pre and Probiotics
In recent research, good gut health leads to good overall health of the body. This is where pre and probiotics play their most important roles. Prebiotic is non-digestible food components which promote the gut microbiota to benefit the host body. In short, prebiotic is food for probiotic. Probiotic is living microorganism which, when consumed in adequate amounts, have beneficial effect on the host body. Pre and probiotics helps to protect from allergic skin diseases.
The easiest source of probiotics is yoghurt, kefir and cheese. Whereas any food high in fibers have high prebiotic content as well.
TRUTH OR MYTHS?
1. Eating nuts can drive your acne nuts?
Perhaps the most common misconception about acne is associated with eating nuts, especially peanuts. Fortunately, this is not true. As mentioned before, nuts, legumes and seeds have high content of flavonoids and essential fatty acids which, contrary to common beliefs, can reduce acne. Unless allergic to nuts (which can manifest as acne as well), eating nuts moderately is beneficial for skin health.
2. Eating sugar makes you happy therefore makes your skin “sweet”
Unfortunately, more research showed that eating or drinking too much sugary food and beverages, such as pastries, noodles, sweetened beverages, cakes, etc, accelerate aging, making acne worse and increase the risk of having skin diseases. Too much sugar intakes increase production of harmful free radicals inside our bodies.
It is not wrong to occasionally have a piece of cake however it is highly advisable not to overeat it.
3. Oily complexion? Drinking less water will make it dry
This is completely a myth. Around 70% of our body consists of water. Approximately 20% of the water is accumulated in the skin. As a part of the body, skin needs hydration. Therefore, drinking enough water helps to maintain our skin glowing, supple and healthy.
4. Vegetarian or vegan tends to have drier skin
This is not entirely wrong or true. Those who has well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet tend to have healthier skin due to increased consumption of vegetables, fruits and soy beans which, as mentioned before, are rich in anti-oxidant. On the contrary, unbalanced vegetarian/vegan diet may result in wrinkly and dry skin.
5. Cow milk is “boo” to the skin
This is also a misconception of nutrition for healthy skin. Fortified cow milk are rich in calcium and vitamin D. Both nutrients work together to combat free-radicals and improve the body’s immunity against skin diseases. Yoghurt and kefir helps to improve gut health thus prevent allergic-related skin diseases. Unless allergic to cow milk and its products, drinking milk or eating yoghurt benefits for skin health.