Nutrition for Healthy Skin













Dry skin is a common occurrence during the cold, dry conditions of the fall and winter seasons here in the northeast. These seasonal conditions can rob your skin of natural moisturizers necessary to keep it soft and supple. There are countless moisturizing creams and liquids available that claim to hold moisture within the skin. However, as we age, our skin's ability to hold moisture diminishes. Most commercial moisturizing creams only trap the available moisture in the skin and do not add much to increase deficient amounts. The ability of the skin to hold moisture is directly related to its Na-PCA content. Chemically, Na-PCA is the sodium salt of 2 pyrrolidone 5 carboxylic acid and is produced by the body as the primary natural moisturizer that holds water in your skin. There are a few quality products available in health and nutrition stores that contain Na-PCA. The manufacturer Jason produces a superior Na-PCA moisturizer with other moisturizing ingredients and Twinlab makes a pure Na-PCA spray that gives your skin a youthful feel and appearance.

In addition to adding quality moisturizers to your skin, be sure to drink at least a liter of water daily. Water intake hydrates cells, skin, and keeps the kidneys working to flush out toxins. When showering or bathing, maintain a cooler water temperature and shorten duration. This will help your skin retain more of the natural oils that hold moisture. There are specific vitamins that are equally important in creating and maintaining healthy skin. Here are some examples of supplements and suggested dosages that promote healthy skin:

Beta-carotene

Promotes the synthesis of vitamin A responsible for tissue repair. It's antioxidant abilities reduce skin damage from oxidation. Suggested daily intake is 25,000 IU's.

B-complex vitamins

Necessary for many functions including healthy skin. 50-100 milligrams two or three times daily keep these water-soluble nutrients at therapeutic levels.

Vitamin-C with bioflavonoids

Necessary for healthy tissue growth, collagen production and a properly functioning immune system. Its antioxidant properties and bio availability are enhanced with bioflavonoids. The bioflavonoids also have an antibacterial effect. 1000 milligrams three times daily is commonly suggested since the body cannot manufacture vitamin C on its own. Frequent supplementation is necessary to maintain healthy levels.

Zinc

Enhances healthy skin and is commonly used to treat acne and other skin disorders. Zinc also boosts immunity and acts as an antioxidant that slows damage to skin and other organs. Suggested daily dosages range between 25-30 milligrams daily.

Vitamin-E

Promotes healing and tissue repair by slowing cell damage from oxidation and is also used to treat acne in doses of 400-800 IU's daily. Vitamin E is fat soluble and should be taken with a small amount of fatty foods for maximum absorption.

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)

Another powerful antioxidant that also contributes to maintaining youthful skin. ALA helps to increase the effectiveness of vitamins C and E by neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals on skin and other organ systems.


*** Always take these vitamin supplements with meals and plenty of water, NEVER on an empty stomach. Vitamins are food supplements that can boost the potency of healthy food choices, they are NOT A REPLACEMENT for food or healthy diet and life-style. Alcohol consumption, exposure to tobacco smoke and other pollutants along with unhealthy food choices are the principal factors in the premature aging of skin.

Antioxidant Foods for Healthy Skin

Eating an abundance of these fruits and vegetables can improve the appearance of your skin by reducing the damage to the cells that cause wrinkling and loss of elasticity.

Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and mustard and turnip greens contain chlorophyll, carotenes, vitamin C and fiber. The fiber binds with toxins and eliminates them from your body, thus reducing their damaging effects on skin and other body parts. These greens contain trace amounts of zinc that also promote collagen production for softer, more elastic skin. Soy foods such as tempeh, tofu and soymilk contain vitamin E that keeps skin soft and smooth as well as providing great antioxidant protection against the ravages of destructive free radicals. The estrogenic phytochemicals in soy may also help prevent acne and other skin blemishes.

Cantaloupe or musk melon provides significant antioxidant protection to the skin because of the concentration of carotenoids like lycopene and beta-carotene. These antioxidant compounds lessen collagen damage and prevent dry, flaky skin. Berries, including strawberries and blueberries have superior antioxidant abilities. Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity. These fruits can slow collagen damage by keeping skin soft and elastic and also contain polyphenols that are being studied for their anti-aging capabilities.

It is imperative to understand that while there is definitive scientific evidence that supports the effectiveness of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals to improve the quality of life, they are only a part of a healthy life-style. Many of the most common diseases, including premature aging, can be prevented through simple dietary strategies, adequate exercise, positive thinking and vitamin supplements to enhance the potency of good quality food choices. This holistic perspective and self-reliant attitude are tantamount to creating a better state of health and well-being.


About the author

Jay Richards is a freelance Nutritional Advice Columnist who has more than 20 years professional experience researching the effects of vitamin supplements, brain boosters, and dietary strategies that promote health and well being.



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