Top 3 Nutrients for Beautiful Skin
When we think about healthy skin most of us first think of face creams, serums and other lotions and potions to support healthy, younger looking skin, and whilst a great natural skincare routine is important, ensuring a good intake of some key nutrients through your diet is just as necessary if not more so! What happens and shows on our skin on the outside is a reflection of what’s going on on the inside, and a lack of key nutrients means a lack of nature’s building blocks required to build good skin.
Here are our top 3 nutrients for great skin and which foods you can find them in!
What exactly is collagen and how does it work?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, found in your bones, skin, muscles and tendons, digestive tract, and blood vessels. It plays a particularly important role in skin health in that it provides the skin with elasticity, strength and that ‘supple’ look and feel.
The body’s collagen production naturally reduces as we age, which results in sagging, wrinkles and the appearance of ‘crow’s feet’ around the eyes – without enough collagen gravity starts working against our skin! So, collagen is a KEY nutrient to keep topping up on for healthy, younger looking skin. Proline and glycine are the two main amino acids found in collagen and they are ‘non-essential’ nutrients which means the body CAN make them on its own. However, the body needs to be in a very healthy state to be able to produce enough of these two wonderfully beneficial amino acids in order to help the body maintain a good supply of collagen. If you are unwell, under any sort of physical or emotional stress, or in a diseased state your body becomes less effective at making enough proline and glycine on its own, and will need some assistance.
How can you increase collagen?
Bone broth is a great way to get collagen because the process of simmering chicken or beef bones for a number of hours (ideally 24) releases collagen into the broth which you can then drink from a cup as a hearty and comforting hot drink, or add to stews and soups just as you would a stock. You can also include a powered form of collagen, ideally from fish or beef, in smoothies, soups or simply added into water.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that plays a role in more than a hundred enzymatic reactions in the body, which means it’s a pretty crucial mineral! Zinc is important for fighting free radical damage and therefore slowing the ageing process. We can burn through our stores of zinc quite easily in today’s modern lifestyles so it’s important to keep our levels topped up by ensuring we are including plenty of zinc-rich foods in our diet.
Some of the zinc stored in the body is actually held within the skin, where it plays an important role in the development of skin tissue. According to a 2019 research paper, issues with zinc metabolism (our breakdown and absorption of zinc) may lead to skin disorders.
Zinc also supports the production of collagen, which as we’ve mentioned above, is a key nutrient for healthy skin. Zinc has also been used to support acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
How can you increase zinc?
Foods that are rich in zinc include grass-fed lamb and beef, chicken, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, cocoa, cashews, dairy kefir, mushrooms, and spinach.
#3 Vitamin A
Vitamin A is another really important nutrient for good skin as, like zinc, it helps to support collagen production in the body. Some studies have shown that
Vitamin A is found it two forms; beta carotene and retinol. Once ingested, beta-carotene is converted into retinol, which is known as the ‘active’ form of vitamin A. The body can use retinol in a variety of ways including supporting healthy skin by acting as an antioxidant protecting skin cells from the damaging effects of harmful free radicals.
How can you increase vitamin A?
Foods rich in beta-carotene include yellow & orange coloured fruits & vegetables, such as carrots, squash, peppers, and apricot, plus dark green leafy vegetables. Foods rich in retinol specifically include fish liver oils, organ meats such as liver and kidney, and egg yolk.
By feeding the roots of your skin health with these key nutrients (and others!) alongside a great skin care routine made up of natural products you can really start to see noticeable improvements in your skin, as well as all round health.