Eating For 'Skin Glow' - A guide to Vitamins & Minerals

We are our own eco-systems, comprised of trillions of cells that make up your body, these cells need stable conditions to function effectively and contribute to your survival, this is known as homeostasis. Homeostasis ensures that your internal environment remains steady despite changes inside and outside your body. A large part of you is fluid surrounding your cells known as interstitial fluid, homeostasis keeps this fluid at the optimal temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit) and maintains adequate nutrient and oxygen levels for your bodies cells to flourish. 

Your body's homeostasis is affected by your environment and your behavior and to a lesser degree your genetics. The air you breathe the food you eat and the thoughts you think all contribute towards your body's ability to maintain homeostasis. The choices you make can either support or interfere with this equilibrium. The key takeaway is that homeostasis is the body's own innate ability to heal - given the right environment. Many diseases are the result of years of poor health behavior and or choices.

Nourish your skin from the inside out

Skin health is the key to healthy skin. 'Skincare', in my opinion, is both internal and external. What we can see on our outer layer of skin is often a reflection of the health of our internal environment. Everything is connected.  Choosing to eat a wide variety of skin-friendly, seasonal, organic if possible - to lessen exposure to pesticides and herbicides, will help achieve ' Skin glow'.

Gut health is incredibly important and a big subject, read my blog post here "Do I have a Leaky Gut?"  in this article I am going to concentrate on foods that help to boost your skin health which you can incorporate into your diet. That said there is one ingredient you could quit starting today that will massively contribute to your internal and external health... sugar.

Refined sugar contributes to higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease - are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. As far as your skin health is concerned sugar damages your collagen and elastin in the dermis, resulting in a dull appearance and the early signs of aging - wrinkles. Try an alternative to refined sugar honey or dates or a sweetener like Stevia.

One more thing before we take about vitamins and skin-loving foods, sleep, does anyone get enough sleep? I think this is one thing most of us really struggle with and yes it has a huge effect on your health and that of your skin, guess what I have written three articles about that too! Just click on the links below to discover how you can improve your sleep hygiene habits.

  1. What is Effecting your ability to sleep...?
  2. Sleeping Beauty
  3. Eating for Better Sleep

Vitamin and Minerals for skin glow

VITAMINS

Vitamins are essential for maintaining optimal levels of skin health, appearance, and function. Eating nutrient-dense foods is helpful for a variety of skin conditions, for example, acne, psoriasis, and the effects of photoaging.

Skin disorders associated with Vitamin deficiencies include:

  • Vitamin C - Deficiency include easy bruising, slow wound healing, dry scaly skin
  • Vitamin B - Angular cheilitis is a condition that causes the corners of the mouth to crack, split or bleed, may also be caused by an insufficient intake of iron and B vitamins, particularly riboflavin
  • Vitamin B7 - A lack of biotin can cause brittle hair and nails. Biotin helps the body convert food into energy. 
  • Vitamin B'sDandruff and seborrheic dermatitis may be caused by many factors, with a nutrient-poor diet being one of them. Low blood levels of zinc, niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) may each play a role 
  • Vitamins A & C - Keratosis pilaris is a condition that causes goosebump-like bumps to appear on the cheeks, arms, thighs or buttocks. Keratosis pilaris may have a genetic component, however, it has been observed in people with diets low in vitamins A and C. 

/ VITAMIN A / Helps to slow the aging process, it interacts with the skin to influence growth, cellular turnover, cellular renewal and contributes towards the activity of oil glands. There are two types of vitamin A: retinoids (preformed vitamin A) and carotenoids (proformed vitamin A). Both types are converted to retinol by the liver. There, it’s either stored or transported by the lymphatic system to cells throughout the body.
Food sources: Eggs, organ meats, carrots, kale, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, salmon and tomatoes.

/ VITAMIN B1 / (Thiamin) Supports your nerves, muscle, and heart function, energy levels, and digestion.
Food sources: Cauliflower, avocado, liver, oranges, eggs, potatoes, asparagus, spinach and kale.

/ VITAMIN B2 / Riboflavin) Responsible for healthy nail and hair and skin, it is crucial for breaking down food components, absorbing other nutrients, and maintaining tissues.
Food sources: Broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, dandelion greens, watercress, kelp, mushrooms, asparagus, fish, meat, turkey, chicken, beef, kidneys, and liver.

/ VITAMIN B3 / (Niacin) Aids in the prevention of water loss to retain skin's moisture content. Maintains good circulation and improves the surface structure, helping smooth out the skin's texture and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
Food sources: Avocado, chicken, and eggs.

/ VITAMIN B5 / (Pantothenic acid) Supports wound healing, moisturization of the skin, promotes the growth and differentiation of keratinocytes, which are essential for maintaining a healthy barrier function in the skin, increases levels of glutathione in the cells, which acts as a potent antioxidant in the skin. 
Food sources: Liver and kidney, egg yolk, broccoli, fish, shellfish, chicken, dairy products, mushrooms, avocado, and sweet potatoes. 

/ VITAMIN B6 / (Pyridoxine) It is involved in more than 150 enzyme reactions. These help your body process the protein, carbs and fat you eat. B6 is also closely linked with the functions of your nervous and immune systems, and mood, it also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Food sources: Bananas, chicken, garlic, prunes, and avocados.

/ VITAMIN B7 / (Biotin) B7 is used by the body to metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids, it is also important for hair, skin, and nails.
Food sources: Liver, cauliflower, salmon, carrots, bananas, soy flour, yeast, wheat germ, eggs, dairy products, nuts, swiss chard, and chicken.

/ VITAMIN B9 / (folate) Folic acid must be converted into active vitamin B9, known as 5-MTHF, before your body can use it. Aids in building and repairing skin cells.
Food sources: Avocado, carrots chickpeas, eggs, and spinach. 

/ VITAMIN B12 / (Cobalamin) It supports the normal function of your nerve cells and is needed for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis. mood, brain health, heart health, adequate levels of this vitamin are needed to promote healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Food sources: Eggs, sardines, and seaweed.

/ CHOLINE / Important for liver function, normal brain development, nerve function, muscle movement, supporting energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
Food sources: Eggs, salmon, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts.

/ VITAMIN C / Stimulates collagen synthesis and improves elasticity for a toned looking skin, along with assisting in antioxidant protection against UV-induced photodamage and maintaining a healthy skin barrier.
Food sources: Pomegranates, kiwi fruit, radishes, spinach, pumpkin, lemons, oranges, berries, broccoli, acai, and goji berries.

/ VITAMIN D / family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3. Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. You can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood. This vitamin modulates inflammation and may be involved in wound healing, mood, and the immune system
Food sources: Salmon sardines egg yolk, shrimp, and mushrooms.

/ VITAMIN E / Concentrated in the sebum, a substance produced by oil glands, and in the membranes of skin cells and the lipid-based “glue” that holds them together, vitamin E is uniquely positioned to maintain the integrity and beauty of your complexion. vitamin E lives in and protects cell membranes, which form a barrier around cells to keep them healthy and hydrated, it indirectly helps skin stay moisturized and supple. Along with being an effective antioxidant, vitamin E also fights inflammation:
Food sources: Avocado, leafy greens, spinach, and tomatoes.

/ VITAMIN K / Is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be acquired through eating (dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are the best sources of Vitamin K1) or manufactured by the liver (Vitamin K2). Vitamin K is believed to connect with receptors on blood vessels, signaling them to constrict, limiting or completely stopping blood leakage. 

Vitamin K may also help to balance skin coloration. Vitamin K is believed to bind to pigment compounds and carry them out of the cells. Reduction of pigments may help lighten age spots, minimize the appearance of freckles or blemishes and further lighten dark under-eye circles.
Food sources: Asparagus, avocado, beetroot, kale, parsley, spinach, and red cabbage.

MINERALS

Are essential nutrients (micronutrient) found in all foods which your body needs to carry out its normal functions - yes homeostasis! Their roles encompass but are not limited too: bone health, energy metabolism, muscle and nerve functions to name but a few! You can read more about minerals 'The Vital Ingredient Your Skin Craves' here.

Skin disorders associated with micronutrient deficiencies include:

  • Zinc - Epidermolysis bullosa // Atopic dermatitis
  • Copper - Steely-hair syndrome
  • Selenium - Psoriasis // Epidermolysis bullosa // Certain skin cancers

/ CALCIUM / Vital for healthy bones teeth and important for muscle function, blood pressure and the heart, including the skin. Calcium plays a role in regulating the skin's many functions. Most calcium in the skin is found in the epidermis (outermost layer of skin). Too little calcium in the diet can impair your skin's health and prevent you from realising the skin benefits of calcium.
Food sources: Sardines, sesame seeds, spinach, and tofu.

/ CHROMIUM / Helps to regulate blood sugar levels reducing spikes which may age the skin also helps to curb sugar cravings. A healthy insulin response helps to maintain brain health and cognitive function into old age.
Food sources: Bananas, beef, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, basil, garlic, and apples.

/ COPPER / Essential for the condition of the skin, copper aids in the maintenance and repair of connective tissue, enhancing the function of antioxidants (such as selenium) which help to protect skin from oxidative damage. Works synergistically with vitamins and zinc to assist in the creation of elastin, which keeps the skin flexible. 
Food sources: Miso, kale, chickpeas, coconut, mushrooms, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans, and soybeans.

/ IODINE / Essential for the thyroid gland which a key role is to regulate the metabolism impacting weight levels. Thyroid hormones, which contain iodine, help your skin cells regenerate, lack of this mineral can lead to dry flaky skin.
Food sources: Seaweed, dried prunes, eggs, tuna, salmon, and sardines.

/ IRON / Is essential for healthy skin, mucous membranes, hair, and nails. Responsible for the production of healthy red blood cells, low levels can lead to tiredness and fatigue, dry skin and hair. Iron is also important for improved muscle health, it aids in the production of myoglobin that carries oxygen from hemoglobin and stores it in the muscle cells.
Food sources: Eggs, kale, dark chocolate, beef liver, chicken liver, mussels, oysters, and tuna.

/ MAGNESIUM / Is required for DNA and RNA synthesis, reproduction, and protein synthesis, essential for the regulation of muscular contraction, blood pressure, insulin metabolism, heart health, nerve transmission, and neuromuscular conduction.
Food sources: Banana, kale, almond, spinach, avocado, salmon, chicken, broccoli, apple, and carrot.

/ MANGANESE / Required for the normal functioning of your brain, nervous system and many of your body’s enzyme systems. It helps to promote elasticity and aid in repair. Manganese is a part of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which is one of the most important antioxidants in your body, antioxidants help protect against free radicals, which are molecules that can cause damage to cells in your body. Free radicals are believed to contribute to aging, heart disease, and some cancers. 
Food sources: Walnuts, spinach, tofu, leafy greens, and tea.

/ PHOSPHORUS / It plays an important role in the health of your kidneys, bones, muscles, and blood vessels, as well as each cell in your body. An important role in boosting immune health.
Food sources: Meats, poultry, fish, nuts, beans, leeks, and tomatoes.

/ POTASSIUM / Stabilises blood sugar and pressure, maintains optimal muscle and nerve function, improves bone health and muscle tissue growth maintains optimal fluid balance, prevents muscle cramps and boosts the nervous system.
Food sources: Salmon, chicken, fresh fruit juices, almonds, mushrooms, avocados, bananas, and coconut water.

/ SELENIUM / Selenium neutralizes free radicals and other skin-damaging compounds before they can lead to wrinkles. Along with other antioxidants this mineral can aid in reducing the risk of skin cancer. It also helps skin fight infection.
Food sources: Eggs, chicken, spinach, brazil nuts, walnuts, tuna, cod, and snapper.

/ SILICA / Activates enzymes involved in the production of collagen, has bone-building and bone-protecting properties, it helps to strengthen the connective tissues of the brain, nerve cells, and spinal cord thereby improving memory and helping to prevent memory loss. Silica also helps stabilize the pancreas's release of insulin.
Food sources: Leeks, rhubarb, strawberries, melons, cucumbers, artichokes, asparagus, dandelion, and leafy greens.

/ SULPHER / Is an essential mineral that plays an important role in the health of connective tissues - collagen as well as skin, bones, teeth, hair, and muscles.
Food sources: Eggs, meats, fish, garlic, and onions.

/ ZINC / Aids in the regulation of over 100 different enzymes, Zinc is vital for a healthy immune system, correctly synthesizing DNA, promoting healthy growth during childhood, and healing wounds.
Food sources:  Pecans, raw oysters, crab, beef, lobster, chicken, dark chocolate, sesame seeds, and baked beans.

Until next time

Be human, be kind, be you.

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REFERENCES//

Listing of vitamins
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/listing_of_vitamins 

Healthline / 8 Common Signs That You're Deficient in Vitamins
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-deficiency

 

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