Find out which nutrients keep your skin healthy and glowing.
There are several key vitamins and minerals that play a vital role in keeping the skin healthy. These include vitamins A, C, D, E and zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
Many vitamins and minerals work synergistically with one another, so it’s always a good idea to consume a wide variety of different foods to ensure you aren’t missing out on a particular nutrient, whilst also being mindful to include the foods listed below to keep your skin healthy.
6 Nutrients for glowing skin
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that is involved in the production of collagen. This is an important protein which maintains the skin’s structure and strength. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from sun damage. Those aged between 11-14 require 35mg per day, and those aged 15 and over require 40mg per day.
Food sources include kiwi, bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, citrus foods, broccoli and parsley. Vitamin C is damaged by high heat so consume these foods in both raw and gently cooked forms.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin involved in cell proliferation, immunity and wound healing. In the skin, vitamin A stimulates the activity of specialist cells called keratinocytes, fibroblasts, melanocytes and Langerhans cells. These cells have important functions such as skin repair, maintaining skin structure, skin pigmentation and immune function within the skin. Therefore consuming foods rich in vitamin A can help to maintain a healthy skin barrier. Males aged 15 years and onwards require 700µg/d per day. Females aged 15 and onwards require 600µg/d per day.
Foods such as carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, bell peppers and spinach contain beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A. Direct sources of vitamin A include cheese, eggs and oily fish. Unless deficient, vitamin A supplementation should be avoided as excessive amounts of vitamin A may negatively affect the immune system.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant which helps to protect the fatty membranes of skin cells from free radical damage caused by sun exposure, smoking, alcohol, chronic stress, inflammation and pollution. Therefore vitamin E can help to support skin cell function and structure. Men require 4mg per day and women require 3mg per day of vitamin E.
Good food sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, avocados, butternut squash, red pepper, olive oil, kiwi fruit, mango, wheat germ oil, asparagus, sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil.
The body creates vitamin D from cholesterol in the skin following sun exposure. Vitamin D is now considered to be a hormone due its wide-ranging functions across the body. It plays an important role in supporting bone health, however it’s also required for the proper functioning of the immune system and can help to manage inflammation. In the skin, vitamin D helps to maintain skin barrier function, supports wound healing and is important for the normal development and maturation of skin cells.
Vitamin D is produced in the skin following sun exposure between April and October, therefore a 10mcg supplement is advised during the winter months to make up for the lack of sun exposure, particularly in the Northern hemisphere. However you will need a larger dose if you are severely deficient therefore it’s important to have your levels tested.
Food sources include oily fish, eggs, sun-enriched mushrooms and some fortified foods such as vegetable spreads and plant-based milk alternatives.
Zinc is important for wound healing, immune function, cell growth and division. Poor zinc intake may delay wound healing and skin repair, particularly in the case of inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema. Males and females aged between 11 and 14 require 9mg per day. Females aged over 15 require 7mg per day. Males aged over 15 require 9.5mg per day.
Oysters, beef, chicken, tofu, pork, pumpkin seeds, lentils, yoghurt, oatmeal and shiitake mushrooms are foods rich in zinc.
Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be made by the body and must be consumed through the diet. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3 fatty acids can help to protect skin cells from damage and inflammation. Due to their polyunsaturated structure, they also help to keep cells flexible to allow the entry of nutrients and other important compounds.
Food sources include oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring and trout, hemp seeds, hemp oil, chia seeds and walnuts. Do not consume more than two portions of oily fish per week if you are looking to become pregnant in future, as the heavy metals found in oily fish can build up in the body and potentially harm a developing baby.
The food you eat can have a big impact on the quality and condition of your skin. Key nutrients required for healthy, glowing skin include vitamins C, A, E, D and zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
- OmOmega-3 Fatty Acids
- SoSoybean Oil
- ReRed Pepper
- KiKiwi Fruit
- ViVitamin A
- ViVitamin C
- ViVitamin D
- ViVitamin E
- OlOlive Oil
- HeHemp Oil