Head2Toe

Eating Your Way To Healthy Skin

Low-Fat Dairy Products

One the most important components of a healthy skin diet is vitamin A. One of the best places to get it is low-fat dairy products. In fact, experts say that the health of our skin cells is dependent on dietary vitamin A.

Photo Courtesy: energeticnutritrition.com

Photo Courtesy: energeticnutritrition.com

Nutrition expert Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, says it’s doubly important to eat A-rich dairy foods if you have either diabetes or a thyroid condition.

“Many people who have these problems can’t convert the beta-carotene to vitamin A, which is the form found in many foods that we normally associate with this vitamin, such as carrots,” says Lipski, the founder and director of InnovativeHealing.com and the author of Digestive Wellness.

The A in dairy products, she says, is “true A,” so everyone’s skin can use it.

Lipski says low-fat yogurt is not only high in vitamin A, but also acidophilus, the “live” bacteria that is good for intestinal health. Turns out, it may also have an impact on the skin.

“Anything that helps keep digestion normal, any live bacteria or enzymes, is also going to be reflected in healthy-looking skin,” says Lipski.

Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums

The common link between these four foods is their high antioxidant content. In a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, these four fruits weighed in with the highest “total antioxidant capacity” of any food. The benefits of these foods for a healthy skin diet are plentiful.

“Free radicals — like the kind formed from sun exposure — damage the membrane of skin cells, potentially allowing damage to the DNA of that cell,” says Heller. The antioxidants and other phytochemicals in these fruits can protect the cell, she says, so there is less chance for damage.

“When you help protect the cells from damage and disintegration, you also guard against premature aging. In this respect, these fruits may very well help keep your skin younger looking longer,” says Heller.

According to the new study, other fruits and vegetables with a “high antioxidant capacity” include artichokes, beans (the study cited black, red, and pinto), prunes, and pecans.

Salmon, Walnuts, Canola Oil, and Flaxseed

Photo: Getty Images

These seemingly unrelated foods all deliver essential fatty acids, and thus are key elements in a healthy skin diet.

“Essential fatty acids are responsible for healthy cell membranes, which is not only what act as barriers to harmful things but also as the passageway for nutrients to cross in and out and for waste products to get in and out of the cell,” says Ann Yelmokas McDermott, PhD, a nutritionist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

Because it is the cell membrane that also holds water in, the stronger that barrier is, the better your cells can hold moisture. And that means plumper, younger looking skin.

Also, says Heller, the same inflammatory process that can harm our arteries and cause heart disease can harm skin cells. Essential fatty acids are important in a healthy skin diet because they can offer protection to both.

The best-known essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6, which must be in balance for good health (and good skin). Though we all seem to get enough omega-6, Heller says many people lack omega-3s. Fish, walnuts, and flaxseed oil are among the best sources.

Read more here: (http://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/abcs-of-healthy-skin-diet#3)

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