The skin reflects your health. Nutrition not only affects how you feel and how much energy you have, but it also affects your appearance. The most important influences of nutrition on the skin are: vitamins, zinc, essential fatty acids and water. A lack of certain nutrients can lead to various skin complaints. If you suffer from a food allergy, this can also lead to skin problems. What influence does nutrition have on the skin and which foods contain important nutrients?
Nutrition for healthy skin
Nutrition affects how your skin looks. A lack of nutrients can manifest itself in skin conditions such as dry skin, pale skin, itching, flaky skin, rashes, premature skin aging or dull skin. In addition, nutrition plays an essential role in how you feel. It determines your energy level and your overall health. The most important nutrients are listed below as well as the foods in which they are found.
Vitamin A helps to keep the structure of the skin cells in balance. A deficiency of this vitamin can cause you to lose skin cells that produce lubricants that keep skin soft and supple. It can lead to infections, irritated skin and dander.
What foods does it occur in?
There are two types of vitamin A that we get through food. The animal form of vitamin A is retinol and the plant form is carotene. Sources of retinol are: liver (tear), eggs, dairy products and kidneys. Carotene is mainly found in fruits and vegetables. A glass of carrot juice or a 90 gram portion of spinach is sufficient to provide the recommended daily amount. For example, a portion of liver pâté easily contains four times as much.
Vitamins from the B group
A deficiency of vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid) is associated with the development of the skin condition pellagra. This causes skin inflammation, dementia and diarrhea. The skin becomes darker and flaky, especially when exposed to sunlight. A deficiency of this vitamin is rare in our country because it is found in many foods. A deficiency of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) can lead to ulcers, especially in the corners of the mouth, eyelids and genitals.
In which foods are B vitamins found?
Meat, potatoes and whole wheat bread are particularly good sources. Vitamin B8 (biotin) is needed to break down fat and is found in bran and egg yolk. Dairy products, grains, fish, yeast, vegetables and fruit contain smaller amounts of vitamin B8.
This vitamin, also called ascorbic acid, is an important antioxidant. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage from aggressive substances called free radicals. Vitamin C helps keep tissues healthy. Vitamin C also contributes to the formation of collagen in your skin, which prevents wrinkles. A vitamin C deficiency can cause bleeding, especially from the blood vessels just beneath the skin surface and gums. With a serious deficiency, scurvy can even develop.
What foods contain vitamin C?
Vitamin C is found in many foods, including citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, potatoes, peppers, cabbage and zucchini.
Vitamin E is also an important antioxidant for healthy skin. It maintains the structure of the cells. Because it belongs to the fat-soluble vitamins, it can be stored in the body. Because it occurs in various foods, a deficiency will rarely occur.
What foods does it occur in?
The main sources of vitamin E are: vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, grain products and egg yolk. You don’t need a lot of it, tablespoons of sunflower oil when cooking or a handful of hazelnuts are enough to meet the daily needs.
Together with vitamin C, zinc ensures healthy collagen in the skin, which is an essential component of connective tissue. A zinc deficiency can lead to moist skin inflammation around body openings and on the hands and feet, but also to eczema, poor wound healing and reduced immune function. It can worsen existing acne.
What foods contain zinc?
Foods containing zinc include: oysters, pumpkin seeds, pecans, red meat, whole wheat flour and rye flour.
Essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids mean that they must be obtained from the diet and that the body cannot produce them itself. This concerns the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They ensure that the moisture balance in the skin is maintained. A deficiency of these fatty acids can lead to a skin rash, because more moisture is lost from the skin.
Foods that contain essential fatty acids are: oily fish, vegetables and red meat. It is also recommended to eat a portion of oily fish 1 to 2 times a week. Other sources include flaxseed and flaxseed oil.
The immune system protects us against harmful influences. Antibodies are produced when a harmful substance enters the body to neutralize and remove it. In the case of a food allergy, the immune system reacts to foods that normally do not pose a threat. This can lead to an allergic reaction. One of the most common reactions is the production of histamine, which can cause you to develop a rash or hives. The following foods can trigger a reaction: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts and strawberries.
Digestion and the skin
Healthy skin depends on healthy digestion and healthy intestines. If you suffer from intestinal problems, or if the liver or kidneys cannot process waste products properly, accumulated toxins enter the bloodstream. This can affect the skin. To prevent this, it is wise to limit the amount of sugars and processed foods as much as possible. A balanced diet keeps the herd in healthy condition. If you want to flush toxins from your body, drink a glass of lukewarm water with some lemon juice on an empty stomach.
Water is vital. The human body consists of about two-thirds water. It ensures the regulation of body fluids and you must drink well to maintain the fluid balance. On average, an adult person should drink 2.5 liters of water per day. This not only prevents dehydration, but also dull and dry skin.