Omega-3 fatty acids are a kind of polyunsaturated fat, which your body can’t make but needs to build cell walls. They also block a chemical that lets skin cancer grow and spread, and they may lower inflammation. We discussed earlier about an excess of Omega-6 potentially being harmful for you; well, Omega-3 is what we need to balance the nutrient against, which isn’t as abundantly found in western diets.
Probiotics promote a healthy gut and balanced microbiome, which is linked to reduced inflammation in the body. They are basically live microorganisms that can have both physical and mental health benefits when consumed. In addition to helping our skin look and feel better, they have also been found to improve digestive and cardiovascular health, while also reducing overall depression.
Proteins you eat are turned into building blocks called amino acids by your body and are reused to make other proteins including collagen and keratin that form the structure of skin. Amino acids also help turn over old skin. Proteins are good, but careful about the excess of other nutrients you may consume when eating rich sources.
Vitamin A (Retinol) is needed by both the upper and lower layers of skin. It prevents sun damage by interrupting the process that breaks down collagen, promoting cell growth. Since it’s an antioxidant, it may also give your skin some protection against sunburn (although not as much as wearing sunscreen). It helps oil glands around your hair follicles work more effectively and may also help cuts and scrapes heal better, especially if you’re taking steroids to reduce inflammation. Without enough Vitamin A in your diet, your skin might get dry and itchy or bumpy.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) helps twisted webs of collagen proteins hold its shape as fibroblasts busily forms new skin cells. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, protecting you from free radicals and possibly lowering your chance of skin cancer. Low levels of Vitamin C can cause easy bruising and bleeding gums, as well as slower-healing sores.
Vitamin E is both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that can also absorb energy from UV light, which would otherwise damage skin and lead to wrinkles, sagging, and possibly skin cancer. It regulates retinol levels in the body and also works with Vitamin C to strengthen cell walls.
Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the “sunshine Vitamin” because when skin is exposed to UVB Rays in sunlight, it makes Vitamin D from cholesterol using the energy. But for many people, they simply don’t get enough sunlight and facing a deficiency is not uncommon. Vitamin D plays an integral role in skin protection and rejuvenation. In its active form as calcitriol, Vitamin D contributes to skin cell growth, repair, and metabolism. It enhances the skin’s immune system and helps to destroy free radicals that can cause premature ageing.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble and aids the body in blood-clotting when repairing skin-breaking wounds. Without it, blood would not clot. Some studies suggests that it may also help maintain strong bones in the older adults. Foods that are high in Vitamin K include leafy green vegetables (cooked and raw), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, pickled cucumber, asparagus, kiwifruit, okra, green beans, and salad greens like lettuce.
Zinc is a mineral that helps your skin heal after an injury. The outer layer of your skin has five times the concentration of this mineral than in the layer underneath. It’s needed to keep cell walls stable and for cells to divide and specialize as they grow. Zinc may also protect skin from UV damage because of the way it behaves in relation to other metals in your body, like iron and copper, acting almost like an antioxidant. Too little Zinc in your diet can affect your skin with an itchy rash that looks like eczema, but it won’t get better when you apply moisturizers or topical steroid creams.
Selenium is a mineral that helps certain antioxidants protect your skin from UV rays. Selenium deficiency has been linked with a greater chance of skin cancer.