Your skin is a great visual indicator of what’s going on inside your body; and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body’s internal needs, including its nutritional needs. Ideally, you should focus on getting these key nutrients from whole food sources rather than supplements. Feeding your skin from the inside out gives you the best outcomes. To protect yourself from the inside out, focus on the key nutrients listed below to maximize your natural defenses.
Oxidative damage has been linked to increased risk of cancer, and studies show that diets rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids, Vitamins C & E and other phytonutrients seem to lower risks.
- Orange foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin & cantaloupe are high in Carotenoids, which can reduce the risk of sunburn & prevent premature wrinkles.
- Red, green & purple-pigmented foods, such as such as apples, peppers, dark berries, tomatoes, leafy greens & citrus fruits are high in Quercetin, an antioxidant now being studied as a candidate for cancer treatment & prevention.
- Spinach, kale & deep orange & yellow colored vegetables & fruits are high in Lutein, a type of carotenoid antioxidant that is most well-known for protecting eye health, but is also beneficial in protecting the skin from UV light.
- Tomatoes, red peppers, carrots, watermelon & grapefruit are high in Lycopene, a cancer-preventative antioxidant.
- BONUS: Berries are the fruits highest in antioxidants, and also tend to be lower in sugar than other fruits.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory, and there are 3 main forms: DHA, EPA, and ALA. ALA is found in certain nuts, seeds & pastured animal foods like grass-fed beef & dairy; and EPA & DHA are found in fatty fish like salmon & mackerel (as well as in certain algae, which is the food source for those fish known to contain beneficial doses of Omega 3s).
Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to suppress & slow cancer growth, and are linked to reduced risk of heart disease.
A healthy balance of Omega-3 fatty acids to Omega-6 is essential. Too many Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (from sunflower, safflower & other vegetable oils) will work their way to the skin’s surface, where sunlight oxidizes them. This creates dangerous free radicals which will damage DNA, leading to aging of the skin & skin cancer.
Top sources of Omega-3s:
- Chia seed
- Wild salmon
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a role in maintaining the health of the body’s connective tissue as well as acting as an antioxidant.
Many studies have found that Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables lower the risk of cancer by protecting skin cells – by helping to clean up DNA damage done by the sun, but no studies had shown that Vitamin C supplements reduce cancer risk.
Top sources of Vitamin C:
- Bell peppers
- Leafy greens
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver & fatty tissues. Our body makes most of our Vitamin D on its own, rather than solely relying on food sources.
The reason our skin darkens with sun exposure is partially due to Vitamin D. Roughly 10 min of unprotected sun exposure can result in about 10,000 units of natural Vitamin D; however this amount differs from person to person depending on their skin tone.
Top sources of Vitamin D:
- Cod liver oil
- Wild salmon
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that prevents free radical damage to specific fats in the body that are critical for your health & naturally slowing aging.
Vitamin E strengthens capillary walls & improves moisture & elasticity in skin, acting as a natural anti-aging nutrient. Vitamin E reduces inflammation both within your body and on your skin, helping maintain healthy, youthful skin. Its antioxidant properties are also helpful to protect against cancer when you’re exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight.
Top sources of Vitamin E:
- Sweet potatoes
- Sunflower seeds
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Contributing Author: Jillian Warwick, Certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Functional Blood Chemistry Specialist, and Restorative Wellness Practitioner
The Back 2 Normal blog is an educational resource written by Back 2 Normal employees and professional associates. Back 2 Normal bloggers are professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.