You probably know that eating a healthier diet can help you lose weight and keep cholesterol in check. But did you know choosing the right foods can also help your skin? Just as calcium is critical in bone health, other nutrients play a crucial role in the health of your skin, hair and nailsand those nutrients may even help you look younger.
Skin cells need certain nutrients to repair and regenerate. This is also true for healthy hair and nails. And that's where the foods you put on your plate come in. Here are nine nutrition secrets that can help you look and feel younger.
Antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A are substances that protect against the breaking down of cells in the body, including the skin. The best protection is an array of antioxidants, from brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Add dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, blueberries, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, red peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, plums, prunes, purple grapes, beets and tomatoes to your weekly menu.
Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, the spongy stuff that keeps skin plump and wrinkle-free. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits, red peppers, dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, strawberries and kiwi fruit.
Beta Carotene is critical for skin health, too. In the body, it converts to vitamin A and is involved in the growth and repair of skin cells and may protect against sun damage. Note: Vitamin A supplements in high doses can be toxic so go for carrots, pumpkin, mangos, sweet potatoes and other orange colored foods.
Vitamin E helps protect healthy cells and guards against sun damage, too. Wheat germ, fortified cereals, nuts and seeds have vitamin E. There's even some research that suggests Vitamin E can join forces with Vitamin C for an extra boost of anti-aging skin protection. So how about a glass of orange juice with a handful of almonds for an afternoon snack to nourish your skin?
Healthy fats such as omega-3 fats found in salmon, flaxseed and walnuts and the mono-unsaturated oils found in olive oil, canola oil, avocados and nut butters are heart healthy and help keep skin moisturized from the inside out.
Beauty on the half-shell? Oysters are a great source of the mineral zinc which is involved in wound healing and the formation of new collagen. Rather have sushi? The mineral selenium found in tuna and crab may help delay aging by reducing sun damage and protecting skin's elasticity. Selenium is also found in grass-fed beef and buffalo.
Finally, think about what you drink: Overdoing it at the bareven the coffee barcan show on your face. Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine which can dry and dehydrate your skin, robbing the cells of needed water, and causing fine lines to be more visible. And be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. This helps keep your skin hydrated and looking its best.