It is that time of year when we make our New Year's resolutions and aspire to pursue goals which will improve our lives. One goal you can add to your list for this coming year is to eat healthy to maintain good skin health. There is a strong connection between what we eat and our overall health and this includes the health of our skin. In this post we are going to talk about six power packed foods which are full of essential nutrients to give your skin a healthy glow, improve elasticity, or even protect your skin from skin cancer.
Remember that diet alone cannot give you healthy skin. It is also essential to protect your skin from the sun and to visit your dermatologist at least once a year to be screened for skin cancer or other skin disorders.
Here are six foods which may up the odds for you to have healthy, beautiful skin:** 1. Tomatoes**
Tomatoes are a wonderful source of lycopene, which has been reported to be associated with a reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer and may provide some protection against other cancers such as breast and cervical cancers as well as heart disease. With regard to skin health, eating tomatoes seems to provide some protection against sunburn. In one study reported by the BBC, volunteers who added five tablespoons of tomato paste to their daily diet had 33% more protection against sunburn after three months. This doesn't mean you skip your sunscreen but eating more tomato based foods may increase your skin's natural defenses against harmful UV rays.
The same study showed that tomatoes can also boost your skin's collagen, the protein which keeps your skin elastic and supple.
2. Romaine Lettuce
You may want to pair up those tomatoes with some romaine lettuce to get a super dose of healthy skin promoting ingredients. You don't need much of this type of lettuce to derive great health benefits. Just six leaves will give you more than 100% of your Daily Value of vitamin A which helps your skin by improving cell turnover functioning. Romaine lettuce is also an excellent source of Vitamin C which helps to promote collagen formation, essential for keeping our skin youthful looking and supple. Also the potassium in romaine lettuce is said to improve circulation which gives the skin a healthy glow.
Spinach is another super food when it comes to boosting our skin health. In an article I wrote for our Skin Cancer site, I discussed the research which shows that spinach offers some natural protection again skin cancer. Spinach is a natural anti- inflammatory and the Vitamin B in spinach helps to also maintain the firmness of your skin. Spinach contains 13 flavonoids with anticancer properties. In 2006 it was reported by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research that "Green leafy vegetables are good sources of folic acid, vitamins A, C and E, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, and other components which may help boost the skin's natural defense against damage caused by UV rays," The researchers took a look at over a thousand people randomly selected who were living in a sunny sub-tropical region. They followed up with individuals for a decade and discovered that a high intake of green leafy vegetables including spinach cut the risk of reoccurring skin cancer by 55% in those individuals with a history of skin cancer.
4. Beans or legumes
The You Docs, otherwise known as Dr. Mike Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz, write about the importance of biotin-rich foods such as beans and legumes to promote healthier and younger looking skin. A lack of biotin can cause dry skin and hair in addition to brittle nails. Beans are an excellent source of biotin and the varieties are endless. Kidney beans, lentils, split peas, soy beans, and garbanzo beans are just some of your choices. Add them to your spinach or romaine lettuce salad and you have a skin healthy meal.
Surely by now you must have heard about the overall health benefits to including omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. One way to get a good dose of this nutrient is to eat more fish and particularly salmon or tuna. In a study published in the April 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that Australian adults, who consumed more than 5 ounces of omega-3 rich fish including salmon and tuna each week, decreased the development of precancerous skin lesions, actinic keratoses, by almost 30 percent.
In addition, salmon contains a carotenoid pigment called astaxanthin, which gives this fish its pink color. Astaxanthin also is a powerful antioxidant which may provide protection against UV light and is also reported to improve your skin's elasticity.
I wanted to include at least one food that you may not know about but may be willing to try. Natto is part of Japanese traditional culinary fare and it simply means, "fermented soybeans." Many people, including the Japanese, do not care for natto because of its consistency of being super sticky as well as super stinky. It is said to have a very strong odor. Nonetheless the health and skin benefits of eating natto may outweigh your resistance. In one study, the effects of natto containing collagen peptide, was found to have multiple beneficial effects on the skin. The subjects who took the fermented soybeans or natto, experienced improved skin texture and softness as well as an increase in their skin's elasticity.
Natto is also one of the foods included in the book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, by Jonny Bowden. This author claims that natto can improve your circulation and make your skin glow.
There are other amazing foods out there which may boost your skin's natural defenses as well as increase your chances of having healthier and younger looking skin. If you are interested in this topic here are some additional articles and posts for you to read:
How to Increase Collagen by Eating the Right Foods written by MySkinCareConnection member, Verdungal