Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do You Have Youthful Looking Skin?

 For years I have taught my clients the benefits of ingesting certain vitamins, antioxidants, and foods that nourish the skin, promote collagen production and give an overall appearance of a youthful and healthy glow. In my research, the following nutrients are the best to consume for healthy, young-looking skin. Although I am listing food sources below, you may not be getting enough vitamins and minerals since our foods and soil are depleted of nutrients.If you choose any supplements,  I advise visiting your health practitioner for recommended doses.

Silica:Silica is a trace mineral that strengthens the body's connective tissues - muscles, tendons, hair, ligaments, nails, cartilage, and bone - and is vital for healthy skin. Silica deficiency can result in reduced skin elasticity and can hamper the body's ability to heal wounds. Food sources of silica include leeks, green beans, garbanzo beans, strawberries, cucumber, mango, celery, asparagus and rhubarb. In its natural form, silica is found in the horsetail herb. 

Zinc: The mineral zinc is an important component of healthy skin, especially for acne sufferers. In fact, acne itself may be a symptom of zinc deficiency. Zinc acts by controlling the production of oil in the skin, and may also help control some of the hormones that create acne. Zinc is also required for proper immune system function, as well as for the maintenance of vision, taste, and smell. Zinc consumption is also strongly linked to a reduction of prostate cancer.
Foods rich in zinc include fresh oysters, pumpkin seeds, ginger, pecans, Brazil nuts, oats, and eggs. .

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Dry, inflamed skin or skin that suffers from the frequent appearance of whiteheads or blackheads can benefit from supplementing with essential fatty acids (EFAs), especially omega-3s. EFAs are responsible for skin repair, moisture content, and overall flexibility, but because the body cannot produce its own EFAs, they must be obtained through the diet.

The typical American diet is overabundant in omega-6 fatty acids found in baked goods and grains, and lacking in omega-3s, found in cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel, as well as flaxseeds and safflower oil. Simply balancing the intake of omega-3s with omega-6s can result in smoother, younger-looking skin. EFAs are also available in supplement form - such as fish oil capsules or evening primrose oil - and are effective at treating a wide range of disorders, from depression and cancer to arthritis and heart disease. Good sources of omega-3 oils include chia seeds, flax seeds and, for non-vegetarians, wild-harvested fish oils.

Selenium: Selenium is an antioxidant mineral responsible for tissue elasticity. It also acts to prevent cell damage by free radicals and is will known to be correlated with a reduction of breast cancer risk. It may play an important role in preventing skin cancer, as it can protect the skin from damage from excessive ultraviolet light.

Dietary sources of selenium include wheat germ, seafood such as tuna and salmon, garlic, Brazil nuts, eggs, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread. Brazil nuts are perhaps the best source, and eating just 3-4 Brazil nuts per day provides adequate selenium intake for most people. 

Vitamin C. Among the most important new dermatologic discoveries is the power of vitamin C to counter the effects of sun exposure. It works by reducing the damage caused by free radicals, a harmful byproduct of sunlight, smoke, and pollution. Free radicals gobble up collagen and elastin, the fibers that support skin structure, causing wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Make sure your diet includes plenty of vitamin-C rich foods (citrus and vegetables, among others), which can replace the loss of the vitamins. through the skin. Vitamin C supplements can also protect skin from sun exposure.
You can also use a topical vitamin C treatment to encourage collagen production, just as your body does naturally when you are young. 
Dietary sources include dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kiwifruit, papaya, oranges, and strawberries.

Vitamin E. Research shows that, like vitamin C, this potent antioxidant helps reduce the harmful effects of the sun on the skin. According to studies published by the AAD, taking  vitamin E daily appeared to reduce the risk of sun damage to cells as well as reduce the production of cancer-causing cells. Some studies show that when vitamins E and A are taken together, people show a 70% reduction in basal cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer.
Vitamin E can also help reduce wrinkles and make your skin look and feel smoother.
Excellent sources of Vitamin E include mustard greens, swiss chard, spinach, nuts (almonds, raw), tropical fruits, red bell peppers, avocado.

Maxine Drake - Clinical Aesthetician - Beauty Advisor

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