Youthful skin efficiently repairs injuries and damage from the sun or pollution. As we get older, the rate at which cells are used and renewed slows down, resulting in older-looking skin. An easy, first line of defense is to pay attention to the food you eat. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins provides plenty of antioxidants that can boost skin cell renewal, which means healthier looking skin.
If you have noticed that your skin is dry or rough, you may be lacking in vitamin A. This vitamin helps rebuild skin tissues and control acne as well. Sources of vitamin A include milk, leafy greens, eggs, sweet potato, and pumpkin.
There are eight forms of vitamin B, commonly referred to as B-complex and include: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), inositol (B8), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12). The B vitamins are essential for healthy skin. Vitamin B1 boosts circulation; eat egg yolks, nuts, and raisins. Vitamin B3 prevents the development of acne, among other benefits; B3-rich foods include carrots, tomatoes, and broccoli. B6 helps maintain good skin tone; eat poultry, fish, garlic, spinach, walnuts, green beans, and whole grains.
Protect your skin against sun damage and skin cancer by adding foods rich in vitamin C to your diet. Vitamin C helps the skin repair itself, create scar tissue, and is key to the production of collagen—the protein that gives your skin firmness and strength. You may first think of an orange as the star vitamin C food; however, there are several others with higher amounts, such as papayas, red bell peppers, broccoli, kale, strawberries, kiwi, and cauliflower.
Almonds, hazelnuts, avocado, mangoes, sweet potato, and vegetable oils (e.g., olive oil, corn oil) are great sources of vitamin E. This vitamin works by speeding up the natural repair system of the skin and preventing further damage.
Consume a balanced diet—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins—and aim for the highest quality of food (i.e., not processed). Consult with your doctor if you are interested in adding supplements; vitamins A, D, E, and K can be toxic in high doses because they are fat soluble and can accumulate in your body to unsafe levels. Water soluble vitamins that are not used by your body pass right through. A good multivitamin may be an easy first step.
While you are attempting to improve the appearance of your skin by eating healthy food, you must equally be vigilant in eliminating anything that may counteract your good intentions, e.g., smoking, pollution, stress.