I have seen many articles circulating on the Internet that suggest that “super foods” can give you beautiful skin. While I agree that everyone can benefit from extra servings of fruits and vegetables, there is no such thing as a “super food”.
Our body needs a complete, balanced diet to produce healthy skin tissue. This diet should include vitamins, fats, minerals, proteins and even carbohydrates in the proper amount. Cutting out a major nutrient, and then mega-dosing on another, simply will not work.
What nutrients does your skin need?
Vitamin B, especially biotin, is crucial for producing healthy skin, nail and hair cells. In fact, Vitamin B deficiencies have been linked to dermatitis and even hair loss. Vitamin C is used to make collagen (the body doesn’t store Vitamin C, so it’s important to get a daily dose!)
Vitamin D helps cell development, Vitamin A helps maintain and repair skin tissue, and Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant that can protect your skin from sun damage. Minerals like zinc and selenium play an important role in cell growth and turnover. Zinc deficiencies can lead to a higher risk of skin pigmentation and dermatitis.
This chart can help you find delicious and versatile sources for vitamins and minerals.
Aside from vitamins and minerals, your skin needs healthy fats and carbohydrates. Fat– specifically omega fatty acids – are used by our bodies to produce healthy cells and form the protective skin barrier.
Carbohydrates are needed too, however I feel we often get this nutrient from the wrong sources. Very high sugar foods causes inflammation and glycation, which affects collagen and elastin levels. However, diets that cut out carbohydrates completely (such as the Atkins and South Beach diet) usually overload on protein.
The Beauty is in the Balance
The body orchestrates all these nutrients in a complex, interrelated process. One fruit or vegetable alone cannot complete your skin’s nutritional needs. However, look at these so-called superfoods as an excellent source of one or more important nutrients. For example, fatty fish like salmon or tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts give you zinc, selenium and good fats. These are “super’ in the sense that they deliver many benefits in one serving, but they can’t compensate for deficiencies in other areas.
Furthermore, no super food can deliver a magical glow in one serving. Skin health, like physical fitness. is something we all achieve through consistency and moderation. The “super” solution is actually very simple: eat right every day, and you will see the results.
Mei Hui - Managing Director/Pharmacist