Eat right to keep your skin looking and feeling young and healthy
At a time when many of us face skin problems due to growing pollution, lifestyle changes, and so on, it would be a mistake to take our skin for granted. However, for many in India today, skin care only means purchasing a range of fancily packaged creams and lotions that often deliver less than they promise.
Effective and sustainable skin care, however, requires taking a more holistic approach to nutrition, health and wellness. What we eat and how we live can have a profound effect on our skin. Fortunately, there are several simple but valuable strategies to promote skin health and wellness.
Why skin health is vital
While skin care contributes significantly to looking our best, skin health is about more than just good looks. The skin, which is the largest organ in our body, forms an important barrier between the external environment and the organs of our body.
It plays a vital role in maintaining optimum body temperature during all seasons and times of day. It also protects us from microbes and infections of various kinds. Indeed, skin health is an important symptom for physicians to track, as oedema, dehydration, dryness and so on provide important clues on the overall health of the body.
How poor lifestyle habits affect skin health
The recent shift to higher proportions of processed and junk foods is highly detrimental for skin health. Such foods are almost entirely composed of carbohydrates and bad fats. They are also lacking in protein, which is another important contributor to collagen formation. Junk foods also often replace much needed fruits and vegetables in our diet, further robbing us of important nutrients required for metabolism and skin health.
Subjecting our skin to an excess of chemicals in the name of make-up or cosmetic products can also severely deteriorate skin health. Our sedentary, indoor lifestyles also deny us of Vitamin D, which is only received through exposure to sunlight and contributes to prevent skin ageing.
Food and skin care
While we mostly focus on the creams and moisturisers we apply on our skin, what we eat plays a significant role in how supple and healthy our skin remains. The fundamental step to good eating is to include all the major food groups – grains, proteins, vegetables, fruits and dairy – in sufficient quantity. An absence of any of the food groups results in deficiencies that will show on the skin.
Among the food groups, fruits and vegetables are the most important, since they provide a wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that keep the skin young and supple. The fibre present in fruits and vegetables helps to flush out toxins and unwanted materials from the body. Healthy fats present in fruits such as avocado and in seeds and nuts such as walnuts helps maintain the oils required by the skin. Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, is also very useful for collagen formation, which helps in rejuvenating skin cells.
Another important aspect of diet is ensuring that we consume sufficient fluids, as hydration is vital for skin health.
Important foods for skin health
One of the easiest ways to boost skin health is to increase the quantity of raw fruits and vegetables in our diet. Citrus fruits and watermelon are rich in Vitamin C and provide much needed hydration for the skin. Vegetables like carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and green, leafy vegetables are rich in anti-oxidants and can be eaten raw or slightly blanched in salads or cooked in soups. Nuts such as almonds and walnuts provide healthy fats and can be a great substitute for unhealthy processed snacks.
Short of skin conditions like allergies or acne we might take our skin for granted. But skin care is vital not only for looking our best but also for overall health. Healthy eating along with plenty of hydration, good sleep and exercise are vital for keeping your skin looking and feeling young, supple and healthy.
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