Skin Health and your Overall Health
Your skin is your largest organ and it performs many vital functions. An adult has about eight pounds of skin and the health of the skin is often an indication of the health of the individual.
Nutrition is viewed as the most important factor in the health of the skin. The phrase, “you are what you eat,” is very relevant for your skin.
As an individual ages the skin will also age and that means wrinkles, discoloration, and loss of elasticity. Genetic makeup will play a key role in when an individual’s skin begins to display these signs of aging. However, the skin’s aging process can be accelerated by poor nutrition and environmental damage such as sun exposure and smoking.
Oxidation is a chemical process in which unstable molecules (free radicals) cause damage to healthy skin cells. Smoking and sunlight are the two most damaging factors in this oxidation process.
A diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables is highly recommended for both good overall health and skin health because they contain antioxidants. Nuts, seeds, and beans are also good sources of antioxidants as well as healthful fats and proteins. Antioxidants are nutrients that help defend your body’s cells (and skin cells) from damage caused by oxidation. Some of the most important antioxidants include Vitamin C, E, and A, selenium, and a category known as phytochemicals.
A healthy diet also avoids many types of foods. At the top of the list is sugar – refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar can cause inflammations but more importantly it has a negative impact on cell membranes and collagen. Collagen is a critical protein that helps skin retain its elasticity. Also, limit or eliminate foods that come from a box because they usually contain both sugar and other additives.
Other important items to consider for your diet are omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, flaxseed, and grass-fed beef. Probiotics is also recommended by a number of nutritional experts. And perhaps the simplest suggestion of all – drink plenty of water. Your skin can become dehydrated and that causes it to shrivel and wrinkle.