Eat (and Drink) Your Way to Healthy Skin

Warm seasons may provide enough humidity to keep the skin moisturized and looking flawless, though cooler seasons like winter tend to leave the skin looking flaky and feeling dehydrated. The consumption of certain foods, along with plenty of water, can improve and help rehydrate dry skin throughout the year. Here's what I recommend to maximize your skin's youth and beauty.

WATER: Drinking water is one of the most important health-promoting habits. The human body is composed of approximately 60% water, meaning that water is part of most body functions that ensure healthy living and growth. Drinking water helps maintain the balance of body fluids for digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Skin needs water in order to act and function as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Studies have shown that skin that looks dry and wrinkled due to dehydration can be improved with proper fluid intake.

Besides water drinking, vegetables and fruits with high water content should be included daily.  Some examples include: melons, apples, cucumbers, celery, pineapple and oranges.

FOODS HIGH IN OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS:  Essential fatty acids are "good fats" the body needs for proper functioning. Omega-3 fatty acids are not made by the human body, and therefore must be replenished through food. These fatty acids are responsible for normal cell behavior and the maintenance of cellular walls, thus playing an important role in skin health.

When your body is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, harmful substances called free radicals are generated, which can damage cells and lead to premature aging. Omega-3 fatty acids act as an antioxidant that protects your body against these substances.

Essential fatty acids are a must for healthy, youthful skin. Include Flax seed, walnuts, salmon and canola oil, eaten in moderation.

FOODS RICH IN VITAMIN E:  Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that is essential for the maintenance of healthy skin. Because vitamin E serves a protective role against free radicals which can damage the skin, leaving it dry. The body cannot produce vitamin E which means you have to make sure you're getting enough of this valuable nutrient in your diet.

Foods high in vitamin E include: avocado, nuts and seeds, wheat germ, flaxseed oil, sunflower oil, dark leafy greens, and green juice.

FOODS RICH IN VITAMIN A:  Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is a fat-soluble vitamin and a potent antioxidant that is thought to fight off free radicals that cause the signs of aging. It can also help repair skin damage.

Vitamin A is abundant in foods like carrots, mango, broccoli, butternut squash, tomato, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and liver.

ZINC:  Zinc is an essential mineral that is important for skin-cell renewal. It helps heal wounds, has anti-inflammatory effects and protects against UV radiation. Zinc isn't hard to find because is abundant in our diets. Foods like shellfish, pork, beef, lamb, beans and turkey are rich in zinc.
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