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      The Role of Nutrition in Skin Health

      The Role of Nutrition in Skin Health | New Life Aesthetics

      Published May 31, 2024

      Did you know that your skin is considered an actual organ? It’s perpetually replacing new skin cells – regenerating itself – and all that self-renewal takes energy and essential nutrients. That’s why eating a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals is crucial not just for cell regeneration but for collagen production as well. Also, don’t forget how important balanced nutrition is for protection against free radicals.

      Vitamin C is an example of a nutrient found in food that not only acts as an antioxidant, protecting our skin from free radicals, but is essential for the synthesis of collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm and elastic. Collagen diminishes as we age, so everything we can do to replenish collagen through nutrition is crucial. Replenishing your Vitamin C from food helps keep your collagen stores rich and your skin looking renewed, fresh and youthful.

      Not only can the nutrition in the foods we eat have a tremendous impact on the appearance, structure and function of our skin in several key ways, but nutrition impacts skin in other important ways. Food allergies and sensitivities, for instance, can trigger new skin conditions or exacerbate existing ones. Also, foods influence your hormones and hormones play a critical role in skin health.

      A lack of essential nutrients also plays a role in your immune system and the body’s ability to fight fungal and bacterial skin infections – ranging from acne and dermatitis to impetigo or athlete’s foot.

      First, let’s start with a discussion of key nutrients.

      How to ACE your Skin Care from A-Z

      Think Vitamins A, C, E and Zinc. They can really help you ACE your skin care with nutrition from A-Z.

      That’s an easy mnemonic to help you remember the vitamins most essential for skin care. Remembering them is important for many reasons we’ll go into. We’ve already talked about Vitamin C, but Vitamin A is important too since it promotes the regeneration of new skin cells which aids in the repair and formation of fresh, new skin tissue. It also helps prevent against flaking, dry skin. Vitamin E also protects your skin from free radicals and oxidative stress with its antioxidant properties.

      And since we’re going all the way from A-Z, let’s talk about Zinc. It is core to wound healing and also promotes collagen formation and cell regeneration. It also helps in the wound healing process.

      Let’s Talk Food!

      Antioxidants found in foods such as greens, berries and nuts help us to fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals to protect our skin. Oxidative stress not only damages skin cells but it can accelerate the aging process and the actual rate of skin aging.

      Chronic inflammation can contribute to skin issues like rosacea and acne. Some foods, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and nuts, can help reduce inflammation thereby improving the appearance of your skin.

      Top 10 Foods for Healthy Skin

      So, is there a master list of foods for skin health? There is, and we’re going to share with you our Top 10 Foods for Healthy Skin.

      Now, some of these foods can have transformative positive effects on your skin, or they can be detrimental. For instance, if oxalates are a concern for kidney stones, greens and berries – the first two foods on the list – are contraindicated. People with milk allergies would want to avoid dairy.

      Just as important, vegans may not want to eat oily fish and need to identify substitutes that accomplish the same skin health goals in their diet. That’s why it’s important to work with a knowledgeable, experienced functional medicine professional who understands the relationship between skin health and nutrition and the impact foods can have on health.

      1. Greens like kale and turnip greens.
      2. Berries and other low-glycemic fruits like kiwi.
      3. Vitamin A rich foods. Think of vegetables like carrots (but don’t juice too many or your skin might turn orange).
      4. Lycopene rich foods like watermelon and tomato. With every bite you can just tell watermelon is making your skin more dewy, can’t you?
      5. Nuts and seeds. Reach for walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds when you need a snack. The healthy fat content keeps you satiated and feeds your hungry skin. Did you know the humble little sunflower seed is the highest healthy food source of Vitamin E? Sprouting them neutralizes anti-nutrients.
      6. Oily fish, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, mackerel, and sardines. They’re also incredibly rich in calcium and Vitamin D.
      7. Legumes like chickpeas, beans, and lentils. Sprouting them makes them even more nutritionally accessible. They contain vitamins and minerals essential for skin health and are rich in protein.
      8. Sprouted non-GMO whole grains. Ancient Einkorn wheat is just one example of a sprouted whole grain to feed your skin. Though, for some people, going grain-free or gluten-free is essential for skin health.
      9. Fermented dairy products. Rich in calcium and vitamin D, good for bone health and cell regeneration, fermented dairy like cheese, yogurt and kefir can be helpful for bone health and cell regeneration, as well as gut health. Cheeses like rich Pecorino Romano are some of the highest sources of nutrients like CLA, which most of us don’t get enough of. A dairy-free diet may be prescribed for optimal skin health when inflammatory conditions are of concern.
      10. Water. Hydrating your skin is perhaps even more important than feeding it. The human body can live indefinitely without food, but only a few days without water. That tells us something.

      H20 not only transports nutrients but eliminates waste and toxins, keeping the skin free from impurities. Water also regulates our body temperature, promotes lymphatic circulation and ensures oxygenation of skin cells. A lack of water can not only lead to more wrinkling, it can weaken your skin’s barrier function.

      Having a healthy water source is not only important for drinking water, but also for long soaks. Your skin absorbs copious amounts of water from soaking. Some people swear by soaking baths for skin rejuvenation. Hydration brings firmness, elasticity and that dewy appearance only water can bring.

      The Wrong Foods

      Just as important as the impact the right eating habits can have on your skin is the even greater impact the wrong foods can have.

      If your diet is consistently unbalanced and high in sugar, unhealthy fats and processed foods, nutrition then becomes a trigger instead of a cure for skin problems.

      Carbs and sugar – especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup in most processed foods – can cause glycation, which affects the structure of collagen and elastin, weakening your skin. These poor food choices can bring oxidative stress and inflammation, contributing to premature aging.

      The salt, preservatives and chemicals in processed foods are catastrophic to your overall health, including skin health. The phytoestrogens that leach into our food supply from packaging and processing chemicals are also destructive.

      Wear Your Food

      Certain foods are essential ingredients in the highest quality skin products, including nourishing oils or exfoliating natural enzymes. See our list of products for skin health. Also, foods have traditionally been used as skin health applications. We’ve all seen the classic: cucumber slices on eyes. The debate about whether or not it really works is still raging, but there’s no doubt wearing your food has come a long way.

      What Types of Skin Conditions Are Influenced by Nutrition?

      All skin conditions – and we can say this unequivocally - can be improved or exacerbated by nutrition and food-based changes – some more than others. Below are a few examples of conditions that illustrate the connection between nutrition and skin health. Click on the links to learn more.

      Autoimmune conditions like Psoriasis and Eczema that affect skin are perfect illustrations of the connection between food sensitivities and neural inflammation. That’s one more reason why accurate early detection of food sensitivities is critical.

      Potential Skin Symptoms from Nutritional Deficiencies or Food Sensitivities

      It's most important to pay attention to symptoms that don’t get better with time. What you’re looking for are symptoms that are ongoing - especially if you experience them every time you eat certain foods.

      While mild nutritional deficiencies often don’t show noticeable symptoms, food sensitivity symptoms can sometimes mimic mild allergic reactions. Symptoms may not always manifest immediately, and, in some cases, it could be a few days before your particular issues appear. Some of the possible early symptoms of the most common food or nutrition-related issues could possibly include:

      • Acne
      • Itching
      • Redness
      • Swelling

      Food Sensitivities: The Importance of Early Detection and Intervention

      Accurate early detection of food sensitivities is critical to avert ongoing damage to your health. Unlike food allergies - which in extreme cases can even be fatal - food sensitivities usually only present with symptoms that are uncomfortable. But if left untreated, food sensitivities can lead to systemic inflammation which, over time, can contribute to major health problems. Many neurodegenerative diseases, for instance, illustrate the connection between food sensitivities and neural inflammation. Food sensitivities can trigger the onset of certain skin conditions or exacerbate skin conditions you already have. Food sensitivities can develop over time or increase in severity. While you may once have been able to eat potatoes, now you break out every time you eat French fries.

      Whether you’re dealing with a food intolerance or sensitivity - we will conduct thorough testing and a comprehensive medical evaluation.

      At New Life Aesthetics, we offer MRT Food Sensitivity Testing to provide insight into inflammation-provoking foods and food chemicals – and it also identifies the foods that are optimal choices for your ultimate health and wellness.

      Request Your Consultation Today!

      If you have skin symptoms or concerns – or simply want to improve the appearance and health of your skin - we invite you to reach out to us. We’re here for you, every step of the way, and happy to answer any questions you may have about your symptoms and our methods for optimizing your nutrition and rejuvenating your skin and overall health.

      Our Raleigh, NC team of aesthetic nurses, Meredith Harris, NP and Heather Shelton Roberts, RN, BSN are amongst the country’s top specialists in both skin rejuvenation and nutrition. Together, they have administered safe and effective care for thousands of patients. We also offer special skin care consultations to evaluate your skin issues.

      Compile your list of symptoms – and keep a food diary for a couple of weeks or longer before you come in. Also note any food sensitivities you may have noticed or simply suspect. We can help put together a comprehensive skin health plan to help you love the skin you’re in. Call ☎ (919) 521-8282 or contact us online to schedule your consultation!

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