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Eat these 7 Skincare Ingredients to Improve Your Skin Health

There is a popular saying, “You are what you eat” and we can all agree that this is true because most of the time, we find that our dietary choices impact the state of our skin health. The skin is like a mirror that projects what goes on within our bodies so it's expected that when we consume unhealthy foods over healthy ones, we find ourselves experiencing skin issues such as dryness, acne breakouts, and early aging signs. 


Before we delve into the healthy essential nutrients you need to consume to improve your skin health, let’s have a little chat on the science behind healthy skin. 


fruits for vitamin C

Image by @melissaswardrobe

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The science behind healthy skin

Looking at the skin, one would think that it is just a single layer of organ spanning around the body, but interestingly, the skin is more complex than we think it is. The skin is made up of 3 layers which include: (nutriadvanced)


  • The outer layer known as the epidermis which acts as a waterproof barrier.


  • The middle layer known as the Dermis which is the thickest layer that contains hair follicles, sebaceous glands, sweat glands, blood vessels, nerves, lymphatics, and proteins such as collagen and elastin.


  • The inner layer known as the hypo-dermis which is made up of subcutaneous fat designed to keep the body insulated and serve as an absorber for any external shock or pressure encountered by the body thereby preventing its damage. 


When we look closely at the epidermis, we find out that it is made up of 4 layers with the topmost layer containing a mix of factors known as natural moisturizing factors that hold moisture thereby keeping the skin hydrated. 


Moisture is one of the main factors that determines a healthy skin, and when one's skin is kept moisturized at all times, the result is a healthy and glowing skin. Another factor that determines a 

healthy skin is the oil (sebum) produced by the skin. Sebum functions to keep the moisture locked into the skin, thereby preventing it from evaporating. This oil is produced by the sebaceous gland contained within the dermis. A healthy skin can only be maintained if its production is balanced because when produced in excess, they clog the pores and when produced in small amounts, they lead to dry and flaky skin. (introstem.com)


Two other factors contained within the dermis that determine healthy skin are collagen and elastin proteins. While collagen is known to produce strength and resilience to the skin, elastin on the other hand produces elasticity and flexibility thereby giving the skin a youthful appearance. It's interesting to know that these two proteins are sustained by some of the essential nutrients we will be discussing further in this article. Keep reading to find out what these nutrients are and other nutrients are needed for your skin health. 


7 Essential Nutrients for a Healthy skin and their benefits

Considering your skin serves as a mirror that reflects the happenings within the body, to maintain healthy skin, there needs to be adequate nourishment with a good balance of nutrients that will help your skin glow from within. There are tons of these essential nutrients the skin needs which can be gotten from natural foods, and we will look at seven of these essential nutrients, their skin benefits and natural food sources. 


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is such an important nutrient that plays a role in binding together the two protein structures contained within the dermis. Vitamin C is very essential for the synthesis of both collagen and elastin which are protein structures that give strength and elasticity to the skin. 


Vitamin C serves as a good antioxidant protein that protects the skin from the free radicals that destroy the skin. These two functions prove that vitamin C is an essential nutrient that helps to slow down the aging process. 


Natural sources of vitamin C
  • Citrus fruits: Oranges, lemons, lime, grapefruit, and strawberries are known to have a high content of vitamin C with 100g of Orange fruit containing about 59.1mg of vitamin C.


  • Bell peppers: The nutritional content of the bell peppers varies, with a 100g of red bell pepper containing about 142 mg of vitamin C, orange bell pepper containing 158mg, green bell pepper containing about 99.5mg, ad yellow bell peppers containing 139 mg of vitamin C.


  • Strawberries: These are excellent sources of vitamin C containing 59.6 g per 100g of vitamin C.


  • Guava: These contain about 228 mg of vitamin C per 100g.


  • Kale: These are leafy vegetables that contain about 93.4mg per 100g plus other nutrients such as calcium and vitamin K.


Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a good antioxidant which serves to neutralize free radicals from sun exposure. It encourages skin turnover, replacing dead skin cells with new ones giving a final result of an even toned youthful looking skin. 


It also promotes the production of hyaluronic acid that retains moisture in the skin keeping it supple, soft, and hydrated. Lastly, It encourages collagen synthesis promoting skin firmness and decreasing wrinkles. 


Natural sources of vitamin A
  • Eggs: These contain about 180 mcg of vitamin A per 100g. 


  • Spinach: These are leafy sources that contain 973 mcg of vitamin A per 1 cup.


  • Milk: A cup of milk contains about 76 mcg of retinol per 100g.


  • Yogurt: A plain yogurt made with whole milk contains about 48 mcg of Retinol per 100g.


  • Carrots: One cup of cooked carrots contains about 1280 mcg of vitamin A per 100g. 


Zinc

Zinc contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria. It encourages proper cell division and specialization which are good for wound healing. Just like vitamins A and C, it also plays a role as an antioxidant and helps promote the synthesis of collagen and elastin needed for skin firmness and elasticity. 


Natural sources of Zinc
  • Beef: This contains about 4.06mg of Zinc per 100g.


  • Kidney Beans: Kidney Beans contain 3.29mg per 100g.


  • Almond nuts: These nuts contain 2.86mg per 100mg.


  • Quinoa: Quinoa is a healthy food item that contains about 2.77mg per 100g.


  • Cashews: These are excellent sources of Zinc containing about 5.07mg per 100g.


Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids help to regulate the production of sebum from sebaceous glands thereby preventing the clogging of the skin pores and occurrence of skin breakout.


 Similar to other nutrients discussed above, it also serves as an antioxidant and supports the synthesis of collagen and elastin needed for skin strength and elasticity. Aside from benefits to the skin it provides benefits to Heart health. 


Natural sources of Omega 3
  • Chia seeds: These are very high in omega 3 containing about 5,050 mg per 28g. It also contains other nutrients such as selenium, manganese, and Magnesium.


  • Walnuts: These are very nutritious containing vitamins, copper, and Manganese and omega 3. Its omega 3 content is about 2,570mg of omega 3 per 28g. 


  • Flax seeds: These contain about 2,350mg per 16.3g of whole seeds.


  • Soybeans: Soybeans contain about 1440 mg of omega 3 per 40g. They also contain other nutrients such as vitamin K, folate, potassium, and Magnesium. 


  • Salmon: This is a nutrient-dense food that contains not just omega 3 but other nutrients such as proteins, vitamin D, and vitamin B. Its omega 3 content is about 2,150mg per 100g.



Biotin

Biotin plays a huge role in skin renewal, skin regeneration, repair, and maintenance. It helps with wound healing and just like other nutrients discussed, it provides good antioxidant defense. 


Natural sources of Biotin
  • Chicken liver: This is a very rich source of biotin containing about 138 mcg per 75 gram.


  • Sweet potatoes: this food item is a nutrient-dense food that contains nutrients such as minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3. Its omega-3 content is about 2.4 mcg of biotin per 125 grams of cooked sweet potatoes. 


  • Mushrooms: A fungi which is also a nutrient-dense food containing 5.6mcg per 70 gram

  • Egg yolks: Egg yolks contain about 10 mcg of biotin per 50 g and when it is advised that it is cooked properly to improve biotin absorption. 


Niacin

This nutrient is like the skin’s gold mine. It works well to ensure the skin is hydrated while strengthening the skin barrier. It also helps decrease hyperpigmentation providing an even skin tone. 


Just like other nutrients discussed, it serves as a good skin antioxidant and helps sustain the synthesis of collagen and elastin. 


Natural sources of Niacin
  • Chicken Breast: This is a highly proteinous food and also a good source of niacin containing about 11.4mg of niacin per 85 gram.


  • Green peas: A food rich in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins such as niacin. Its niacin content is about 3 mg per 145g. 


  • Mushroom: Aside from being rich in biotin, it is also rich in niacin containing about 2.5mg per 70 grams. 


Protein

These are the major building blocks for the body so it plays a huge role in maintaining the integrity of the skin barrier, encouraging the synthesis of the skin proteins and maintaining skin moisture.  


Natural sources of Protein
  • Whole egg: Whole eggs are highly proteinous and contain about 6.3g of protein per 50 g.


  • Almonds: A plant-based protein that contains about 6g of protein per 28.35g.


  • Greek yogurt: This contains about 19.9g of protein per 200 g and is also a good source of vitamin B12, vitamin A, and zinc.


  • Lentils: Another plant-based protein that contains 9.02g of protein per 100g. It is also a good source of fiber, iron, and copper. 


While there are tons of skin supplements and serums with a concentration of these nutrients in the market today, the body still needs nourishment from natural food sources. Although this is not an exhaustive list of all nutrients and their natural sources, We have discuss some of the very essential ones, stating their nutritional value per serving. (US Department of Agriculture, healthline.com)


There is no doubt that skin care products sold in the market are able to produce a healthy and glowing skin but nevertheless, the body still needs nourishment from natural sources. Incorporating natural food sources in your daily diet will help optimize your skin renewal and regeneration process. 




DISCLAIMER: Features published by Adaaba are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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