From the Inside Out: The Best Food for Beautiful Skin
For most of us, great skin is a beauty must have. But what many people don’t realize is that our skin’s appearance is closely tied to our physical health. We spend a lot of time (and money) on topical skin products, but we can greatly improve our skin’s appearance simply through the food that we eat. Some of the best food for beautiful skin is also very beneficial to your overall health, and even in managing Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).
Adrenal fatigue is a condition affecting many adults, which causes a wide range of symptoms like depression, insomnia, fatigue, and inability to lose weight. AFS is usually caused by chronic or recurring stress. However, there are a number of factors that can lead to or worsen the condition. Daily activities and choices, like the food you eat for example, are often some of the best ways to control AFS.
Food is so important for the health of the entire body, and there is a definite correlation between the nutritional quality of your food and your skin’s vibrancy. Here are some foods that will make your skin beautiful and healthy, from the inside out.
Classic Food for Beautiful Skin
Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Praised often for their healthy skin benefits, fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are especially important to include in the diet because our bodies don’t naturally produce them.
These “essential fatty acids” are so significant for skin health because they are the building blocks of cell membranes. If the skin cell barrier is strong, more water will be held within the cell. This results in increased hydration, and it shows! Skin is more plump and youthful. If you’re not a seafood person, flax seeds and walnuts are also great food for beautiful skin sources, containing omega-3, that will keep your skin beautiful.
Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly beneficial in maintaining a healthy stress response as well. Fats are essential in transporting hormones in the endocrine system, which are central in the body’s response to stress. The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response is a functional medicine approach to the body’s natural stress response. In looking at how multiple organs and metabolic systems work together, we can better explain the symptoms and causes of AFS. Just as the right food will help the NEM Stress Response work more efficiently, some foods, like sugar and excess caffeine, can inhibit a healthy NEM Stress Response and set off symptoms of AFS.
Berries and Plums
Berries are known for being low in sugar, but they are also packed with antioxidants, making them a great food for beautiful skin that helps improve the quality of your skin. Antioxidants help protect skin cells from damaging free radicals, caused by the sun, pollution, and other environmental factors. According to the Journal of Agriculture & Food Chemistry, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums are fruits that contain the highest amounts of antioxidants.
Beyond protecting your skin, berries make a great fruit option for those suffering from AFS. Because of their relatively low sugar content, you’ll avoid a big blood sugar spike that can wreak havoc on your body’s already fatigued stress response.
Fruits and Veggies High in Beta Carotene
Carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are all great food for beautiful skin because they are high in beta carotene. It’s a pigment that is converted into vitamin A once ingested in the body. Vitamin A is a big player when it comes to improving skin tone and preventing signs of aging. The antioxidant helps prevent free radical damage from sun, pollution, smoking, and other environmental stressors. Stock up on these bright foods to maintain beautiful skin.
Vitamin A Powerhouses: Greek Yogurt, Eggs, and Tuna
These foods and other dairy sources, are high in the antioxidant vitamin A, which promotes great skin complexion. These sources should be included in your diet as well as foods high in beta carotene because some people may have a hard time converting beta carotene to vitamin A.
Vitamin A is also known for its vision and immune system benefits.
Fruits and Veggies High in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is important for the production of collagen, which gives skin strength and elasticity. While there are topical beauty creams that claim to promote an increase in collagen, it’s a great little secret to know that collagen production occurs from the inside out as well! To prevent wrinkles and keep skin looking beautiful, eat foods that are high in vitamin C, such as bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, papaya, pineapple, oranges, cauliflower, and dark leafy greens.
In addition to being great foods for beautiful skin, foods high in vitamin C boost the immune system. Because adrenal fatigue can be affected, or even caused, by a weakened immune system, it’s important to maintain a strong immune system. Moreover, vitamin C is directly involved in the production and balance of cortisol, which helps control stress levels.
Lycopene Rich Tomatoes
Lycopene is an anti-aging antioxidant that helps eliminate free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene, and some say that this is the most effective food for maintaining beautiful skin. Stock up on tomatoes to give your skin a healthy dose of this age-fighting antioxidant. Try eating them cooked, as our bodies absorb lycopene best when tomatoes are prepared this way.
Lycopene isn’t just a skin saver, it’s known to help prevent diabetes and even heart problems as well.
Another great food for beautiful skin is the collagen-producing powerhouse, sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are packed with minerals such as copper, zinc, and selenium. Copper has anti-inflammatory properties and is necessary for collagen production. Selenium has antioxidant properties which help prevent free radical damage.
A zinc deficiency can disrupt the adrenal glands and NEM system, so this mineral is also an important one to include in your diet.
Don’t Forget About Water!
It’s not just food that can keep your skin beautiful. While the foods listed above offer great benefits for eliminating free radicals, protecting your skin, and maintaining moisture levels, it is absolutely necessary to provide your skin with enough water every day. After all, skin is the largest organ in the body, and about 60 percent of the body is made of water. Try to drink about eight cups of water each day to keep your skin looking plump, hydrated, and youthful.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and Diet
When it comes to maintaining a healthy NEM and keeping AFS under control, diet is extremely important because of how nutrition affects every single organ in our bodies. Just as a healthy diet contributes to better-looking skin, it also contributes to a well-functioning body.
In order for the adrenal glands to function properly and not be overburdened by stress, the NEM model shows that it’s not just the adrenal glands that need to be healthy, but the rest of the body as well. Excess stress can wreak havoc on your skin and accelerate ageing as well. When overwhelmed by stress, collagen in the body can start to break down, which eventually leads to older-looking skin. Poor adrenal function can also lead to dehydration, which is very important for plump, youthful skin.
For those dealing with AFS, there are dietary guidelines to follow, and many of them align with the guidelines for beautiful skin. Because the NEM network in the body needs proper nutrients to function and fight stress, it’s no wonder that the same nutrients lead to healthier skin. Additional suggestions for an adrenal fatigue diet include avoiding processed sugar and fried foods, loading up on vegetables, and eating small, frequent meals throughout the day to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
The Bottom Line: Nutrition is Key
Our diets affect our bodies, inside and out. Skin appearance can be a good indicator of how the rest of the body is functioning. If your skin is looking different in some way, it may be wise to take note of possible nutritional deficiencies, because those deficiencies could be negatively affecting other organs and biological processes as well. There is a connection between skin and general health, just as there is a connection between different bodily systems as they respond to stress. In addition to these food for beautiful skin, consider dietary supplementation to make sure you are getting enough nutrients to keep your skin and entire body in balance.
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.