“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable of” – Socrates
Healthy and glowing skin is a dream for many and people tend to overdo their quest to ‘achieve a youthful skin’ without even understanding the fundamentals. So, Important to realize that dewy and healthy skin is a result of meticulous care. Both internal and external factors create great skin.
First, we shall understand what causes glowing skin then we shall move towards what nutrients are important and where can we find these nutrients. At last, we shall also look what changes we must bring in our lifestyle to get that desired skin.
What are the scientific reasons behind glowing skin?
The two main scientific reasons behind naturally glowing skin are “cell renewal” and “blood circulation.”
Our skin is made up of three layers of tissue. They are the epidermis which is the topmost layer, the second layer is called the dermis and the innermost layer is called subcutaneous tissue. The epidermis or the outermost skin layer sheds its cells constantly through cell renewal.
- Cell renewal refers to the process where our body sheds the dead and unwanted skin cells. This process takes place in every 28 days when we are young but as we age this cell renewal process slows down. When the dead skin cells accumulate, they give our skin a dull and damaged complexion therefore they should be removed through cleansing and exfoliation.
- Blood circulation refers where our body provides surplus blood to the skin which leads to a healthy-looking skin. Increased blood circulation is a direct result of a full body work out. When the blood flow is increased during an exercise session the toxic waste from our body is released in the form of sweat.
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What is collagen and why you must know about it?
Collagen is the protein that is found in the skin. 80% of the skin is made up of this protein. The other important protein that is found in the skin is elastin. Collagen along with elastin are the factors that make our skin firm and wrinkle-free. They help provide our skin with a youthful glow.
However, as we age our body’s ability to produce these proteins decreases and as a result, we start developing wrinkles and weaker skin. The body stops producing collagen after a certain age and so our body’s natural ability to hold our skin tightly reduces.
Along with age, there are other factors such as harmful sun rays and unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking causes less production of collagen.
What nutrients are needed for glowing skin?
Healthy and glowing skin is achieved only through work that is done both internally and externally. Along with the topical application of creams and lotions, it is extremely essential to include food that contains the nutrients leading to youthful skin.
Some of the nutrients that are crucial for healthy and glowing skin are – Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Zinc, Fatty Acids, and Selenium.
It is especially important to include Vitamin A in our food as this manufactures collagen in our bodies. It also acts as an antioxidant and as a shield for the skin. It interrupts the harmful sun rays that damage the collagen. When our meals lack Vitamin A it can cause acne and other skin conditions.
Vitamin B complex
There are many varieties of Vitamin B found under this parent category. To name a few are vitamin B-5, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12. This family of vitamins looks after the cell renewal process of the body. A meal devoid of any of the Vitamin B nutrients can cause a ton of many skins worries, one of them being dermatitis where the skin becomes itchy.
It is a well-known fact that Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant and therefore acts as a warrior against the unwanted microorganisms that invade our body. While also responsible for the production of collagen, Vitamin C fights the agents that damage our skin also known as free radicals. These free radicals are the agents that lead to skin aging. It is a water-soluble nutrient which means that our body does not store this nutrient for too long in our body therefore it is mandatory to include this nutrient every day in our meals.
Another crucial nutrient or mineral as it is called is needed for healthy skin, zinc participates in the production of many crucial enzymes and even helps to transport Vitamin A. The body can’t regulate without the help of zinc. The outer skin is abundantly constituted of zinc therefore the firmness in the skin is due to zinc.
The fatty acids again have a lot of varieties to them. They create a layer that prevents the unwanted microorganism to enter the body. Monosaturated and poly saturated fats that are found in plants and nuts are friendly fats for the skin. They help the skin to stay firm, supple, and youthful. Omega-3 fatty acids mostly found in fish helps fight against many skin problems.
An equally crucial mineral that acts as sun protection is selenium. This nutrient saves skin from any harmful UV rays. It also reduces the damage done by the harmful sun rays. Not including selenium in our meals will be an invitation to skin cancer and other such problems.
Top 10 Foods for Glowing Skin
You are what you eat, and therefore the following mentioned 10 foods are an excellent source of the nutrients that are needed to achieve glowing skin. Adding a few of these food items consistently to your meal would do wonders for the skin.
When it comes to glowing skin, fatty fish such as salmon are undoubtedly placed first. The omega-3 fatty acids present abundantly in these fish make the skin dewy and radiant. Protecting the skin from any kinds of sun damages, and reducing the effects of free radicals and skin aging agents. Loaded with zinc, fatty fish boosts the firmness of the skin. Fatty fish contains zinc and omega-3 fatty acid, both are responsible for preventing the skin from any kind of inflammation. It even makes the autoimmune system of the body strong to fight any foreign unwanted microorganism.
Carrots are a major source of Vitamin A which protects the skin from any kind of damages done by the harmful rays of the sun. It also prevents the death of cells that could potentially be the source of loose and wrinkled skin. Carrots are also a storehouse of beta carotene a natural sun-protecting ingredient. Beta carotene along with vitamin A protects the skin from getting dry. Their combined powers reduce the accumulation of dead skin cells on the outer layer of the skin. Less dead cells on the outer surface of the skin mean very healthy-looking skin.
Soybean is a good option when it comes to preventing any skin damage caused due to free radicals. Soybeans that contain isoflavones protect the skin from aging prematurely. Soybeans stop the skin from drying and even boosts the production of collagen. Adding soybeans to the diet will prove extremely crucial as it will prevent any type of skin cancer as well.
4. Green Tea
Green tea has proved to be a blessing to the skin. It is filled will antioxidants, that diminishes any kind of skin aging and cell-killing agents present in the body. Green tea helps keep the skin texture firm and prevents it from getting loose. Along with antioxidants, it is also a useful source for hydrating the skin. Keeping the skin hydrated is one of the key lifestyle habits that are important for good and healthy skin.
Another giant storehouse for beneficial fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega 6, walnuts are much better options for snacks. Loaded with important minerals such as zinc and selenium walnuts are a boon for the skin. Next time if you feel like snaking opt for walnuts instead of greasy and potentially harmful chips. 28 grams of walnuts is enough to make the fatty acids that the body otherwise cannot produce itself. A word of caution while taking walnuts is to never exceed the suggested amount. When taken in surplus walnuts can cause stomach pain and bloat.
Tomatoes contain vitamin C and it is also another major source of carotene. It is an excellent food that prevents skin from getting wrinkled, protects from sunburn, and even reduces the effects of the harmful sun rays. It is an excellent food to add to the everyday meal to get the desired glowing and youthful skin. Tomatoes have an ingredient called lycopene that promotes the good production of collagen in the body.
Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and contribute immensely towards healthy and glowing skin. Oranges are filled with properties of an antioxidant that protects the skin from harmful UV rays of the sun. Acting as a skin barrier it is also a reliable source for hydration. Oranges keep the skin hydrated and prevents it from getting dry. It also helps the skin to repair any cuts or tears. Not providing the body with enough vitamin C can lead to many irreversible skin and health problems.
8. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers or capsicum as they are popularly known in India, are packed with vitamin C. Red and yellow bell peppers are among the few vegetables that are loaded with vitamin C, the antioxidant preventing the body from losing collagen. 149 grams of bell pepper give the adequate amount of vitamin C needed by the body. Bell peppers keep the skin from losing its elasticity. Bell peppers also have beta carotene that makes the absorption of vitamin A by the body easier.
9. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potato has beta carotene, a nutrient that is only found in plants. Carotene acts as a barrier against harmful sun rays. Vitamin A is also found in sweet potatoes that protect skin from prematurely wrinkling and keeping the collagen intact. 100 grams of sweet potato has six times more vitamin A than any other plant. It is suggested to bake or steam the sweet potatoes to not lose any of the essential nutrients.
Turmeric has always been the skin’s favorite. It has curcumin, an active ingredient that has proved to be anti-inflammatory, protects the skin from sunburn, and reduces the presence of free radicals. The anti-inflammatory substance of turmeric heals the torn and damaged skin. It reduces the uneven skin tone and removes the scars left behind due to acne or pimple.
What lifestyle changes are required for good skin?
Some of the minor changes in our lifestyle can lead to a significant difference and certainly are beneficial for good skin.
- Wear sunscreen: It is not a clever idea to skip the sunscreen even on days when the sun is not visible. Invest in a good sunscreen with SPF 30 that will protect the skin from harmful and damaging sun rays.
- Wear a hat and sunglass: It is equally important to protect the eyes from the scorching heat. Do not step out when the sun is overhead without a hat and a sunglass.
- Hydrate! Hydrate! Drink enough water to keep the skin hydrated and prevent it from getting dry and flaky. Never skip water and replace it with sugary drinks.
- Change Pillowcases: The microorganism present on the pillowcase as well as on the mobile phone have been reported to be the leading cause of acne and other skin irritation. Change your pillowcase frequently. Use microphone while talking instead of directly placing your ear and cheek on the phone.
- Be consistent with skin care products: Avoid using too many harmful creams and lotion on your skin. Be consistent with your routine. Rule of thumb is to keep it simple. You do not have to have a 15-step routine. Cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize and sunscreen will never betray your skin.
- Sleep on time: Avoid staying up late to catch up with the series. One day of sleepless night can cost you many days of uneven skin.
- Cut back on sugar: While it is okay to celebrate with cake and sweets, it is never good for the skin as well as for body to indulge heavily on sugar drinks and food.
- Quit smoking: Smoking has never been beneficial towards skin and your overall health. Not only does it make your skin look dull and makes you age faster; but also, it degrades your entire health.
- Exercise: A 30-minute exercise can save you from many hard to pronounce skin conditions. Exercise boosts the oxygen flow in your body that gives the skin it is youthful glow.
Some things take time, and good things take longer. When worrying about skin health remember that it took years of neglect to get the skin you have now, so it is ridiculous to even think that change would happen overnight. Be patient and consistent while following the above-mentioned steps.