Recipe for Great Summer Skin…Part II

From the Inside…OUT!

In Part I of Recipe For Great Summer Skin, I discussed how important it is to protect our skin from premature aging, dryness, itching, wrinkles, and perhaps even skin Cancer.  We have been bombarded by so many marketing campaigns to buy topical products, ointments, and creams to slather and coat our bodies, that it can be confusing.

What many of us are unaware of is the fact that our true defense to minimize and prevent skin damage starts from the inside….OUT!  It may be a cliché, but the simple truth is we really ARE what we EAT!  Our skin is a great indicator of what is going on inside our bodies.   Many studies have demonstrated truth to the diet-appearance connection.  There is a definite association between the nutrients we put in our mouths and our skin tone and health.

After scouring through the internet and multiple research-based articles on the food/skin relationship, I have condensed the information into a usable, concise format.  May you never have to look past this list again for better skin!

 

OXIDATION AND FREE RADICAL DAMAGE:

Just as apple and banana slices turn brown when exposed to the environment, our unprotected  skin also becomes raw, inflamed, and eventually toughened & marked over time.   All of these result from a natural process called oxidation. It happens to all cells in nature, including the ones in your body.

When free radicals are on the attack, they don’t just kill cells.  The problem is that free radicals often injure the cell and damage the DNA, which creates the seed for disease.  When a cell’s DNA changes, the cell becomes mutated. It grows abnormally and reproduces abnormally — and quickly.

External toxins such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and too much sun are “free radical generators”.  Pesticides, insecticides, chlorine and other toxins are found in our environment on a daily basis which can attack a weak immune system.  Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, soda, caffeine, and sugars also trigger substantial free radical production.

The best defense against the free radical damage of oxidation is a diet rich in anti-oxidant vitamins and minerals (and plenty of water).    The following are the BEST antioxidant supplements needed to extend a youthful appearance and protect our largest organ of the body:

VITAMIN C:  The most abundant water-soluble antioxidant.  It plays a key role in collagen production and cell protection from oxidative damage.

Strawberries     Citrus fruits     Lemons            Tomatoes      Red/yellow peppers

Sweet potatoes        Mangoes            Pomegranate     Papaya     Acerola cherries      

 

VITAMIN E:  The most abundant fat-soluble antioxidant.  Vitamin E strengthens and protects cell membranes and guard against UV radiation damage.  Combined with Vitamin C, it can give an extra boost of anti-aging protection to the vulnerable subcutaneous fat layer of skin.

Wheat germ             Almonds            Avocados       Sunflower Seeds            Hemp Seeds

            Tomato products     Fortified cereals such as General Mills Total Raisin Bran and Cornflakes

BETA CAROTENE/VITAMIN A:  It is converted to Vitamin A in the body.  Beta carotene/Vitamin A is involved in the growth and repair of body tissues.  Foods with carotenoids have deep hues of color which can lead to a hint of healthy color on the skin.  Carotenoids such as lycopene,  lutein and astaxanthin are linked to improving skin’s elasticity and smoothness…slowing cellular damage.

Sweet Potato            Pumpkin            Carrots           Mangos            Apricots         Tomatoes

            Watermelon             Eggs                Kale/Spinach Salmon            Soy/Tofu        Dark Chocolate

SELENIUM:  Helps to safeguard the skin from sun damage and delays aging by protecting skin quality and elasticity.  Selenium plays a role in thyroid and immune function.

Cottage Cheese        Tuna               Salmon           Yogurt

ZINC:  Essential for wound and ailment healing such as acne, scalp conditions, eczema, psoriasis, burns, boils, ulcers and diaper rashes.  It also aids in preventing aging related disorders by combating with free radicals. It helps in enhancing immunity as well.

Oysters          Red Meat      Crab              Beans     Fortified Cereals

OMEGA-3 FATS:  Healthy Fats known as Omega-3 Fatty Acids help maintain cell membranes so that they are effective barriers—allowing water and nutrients in, and keeping toxins out.  Helps skin and hair stay moisturized and smoother.  Omega-3 fatty acids help alleviate inflammation in the body (irritation/redness/dry/itcy/flaky) and skin.

Flaxseed                    Salmon                        Hemp Seeds             Walnuts         Sardines


WATER AND GREEN TEA:
  Water is hands down the number one skin-booster.  It’s a simple equation:  hydrated skin is healthy skin, and healthy skin is beautiful skin.  Dry, dehydrated skin looks older, has more lines, and is more prone to breakouts.  Even mild dehydration can result in visible skin aging.  When possible, switch up your water to green tea.  Green Tea (compared to black/white) releases catechin, which is an antioxidant with proven anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.  The best bet is to drink it while it is hot (fresh-brewed)  and non-processed (not bottled!). 

The above list of foods pack the most punch when striving to improve skin’s texture, elasticity, tone, and clarity.  You can achieve a radiant glow to your skin any season by eating a kaleidoscope of foods rich in nutrients.  For the extra “insurance policy”, I recommend adding supplementation to your foods.  Common and safe supplements frequently seen in kitchen cabinets and used on a daily basis are:

            Multi-Vitamin          Vitamin C            Omega 3/6 Fish Oil              Flaxseed Oil

                                                Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc Mixture

In summary, our skin is the most important and largest organ of the body that protects us from the elements.

Though it is essential to add topical lotions to our skin on a daily and nightly basis for preventative and reparative measures, we can also utilize our own natural barriers by balancing our diets with the above foods.  I recommend taking this list to the grocery store and introducing new foods to your daily routine.  We can’t be perfect every day…but we can try!

Mindi Boysen, owner of Fit For Golf! Fit For Life!  is a TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Level III Certified Golf Fitness Coach at various private clubs in the North Phoenix/Scottsdale area.   She is also an ACE certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant.  Her book, Synergistic Golf, outlines each day of the year with golf performance & life enhancing tips. Mindi is available for private or group golf fitness training as well as seminars and nutritional consultations.