Vitamins, herbs and minerals, both in whole-food form and in supplements, can be beneficial for overall health. But can it be hard to decipher which should be taken for a specific need. When it comes to caring for and improving the condition of the skin, there are some specific supplements to be on the lookout for to improve skin health.
Healthy Skin Through Diet
Few may realize the appearance and condition of the skin are indicators of overall health. When someone's skin is clear of blemishes, smooth in texture and bright with an even skin tone, this is directly reflective of what is going on inside their body. A deficiency of a certain nutrient or consuming an excess of others can present itself in the skin, proving a balanced, healthy diet is the ultimate tool for maintaining skin health.
A balanced diet should include several servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of fresh water and a good balance of healthy fats and lean protein. Artificial ingredients, processed foods, added salt and sugar and caffeine may all contribute to degenerative processes in the skin.
Nutrients for Skin
In addition to that healthy diet (and regular exercise to ensure good circulation), there are some specific supplements that can be taken daily to improve and protect the condition of the skin from the inside and out. These supplements include:
ACE -- Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants that can act to defend against the damages done by free radicals. The highest food sources of these nutrients include broccoli, dark leafy greens, peppers, almonds, spinach, avocados, carrots and sweet potatoes. Antioxidants work together in a synergistic fashion, suggesting that lower doses of multiple antioxidants may be more effective than higher doses of single antioxidants. In addition, research has demonstrated potential adverse effects of high doses of these vitamins over long periods of time in certain populations.
Omega-3s -- Not only is the SAD (Standard American Diet) loaded with omega-6 fatty acids (that are found in baked goods and grains) but it’s also lower than recommended in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-3s are involved with skin repair and flexibility. Foods like salmon, mackerel, sardines, walnuts and flax seed will provide these nutrients to support the condition and health of the skin.
Selenium -- Elasticity is what helps youthful skin "spring back," maintaining a smooth, wrinkle-free complexion. This mineral is responsible for skin's natural elasticity and its ability to fight damage from free radicals. Brazil nuts are a reliable source of selenium -- one or two nuts is sufficient to meet the recommended daily allowance. Two 4-oz portions of meat or seafood will also meet daily requirements for most individuals.
Zinc -- This mineral is reported to reduce levels of oil in the skin, although the exact mechanism is unclear. Meat, seafood and nuts are all good sources of zinc.
Although it's best to get nutrients from food, special needs and conditions or dietary restrictions can make it difficult to acquire sufficient levels in the body. If considering long-term use, it's best to have levels monitored by a health professional.
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