Nutrition for Beauty: 9 Essential Nutrients for Skin, Hair, and Nail Health
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A renews and repairs cells, membranes, and tissues. It’s great for reducing wrinkles and maintaining smooth, glowing skin. It also controls the activity of the sebaceous (oil) glands to promote scalp health. Other benefits include protection against UV skin damage and preventing collagen breakdown. If you don’t get enough vitamin A, your skin may appear dry, itchy, and bumpy. Excellent food sources for this nutrient include sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, collard greens, cantaloupe, and squash.
2. Vitamin B Complex
Several B vitamins have substantial beauty benefits; B3 encourages ceramide and fatty acid production, compounds that make up the skin’s protective barrier. It is also essential for DNA repair. B5 moisturizes and nourishes the skin, and strengthens hair follicles. B6 protects the skin from dryness, and it gives your hair a vibrant color. B7 (biotin) increases nail thickness and protects hair by preventing thinning and split-ends. Finally, B9 (folate) assists in cell repair and DNA synthesis. You can find ample B vitamins in lentils, cereals, eggs, red meat, chicken, fish, broccoli, and asparagus.
3. Vitamin C
Nature’s incredible antioxidant defender protects against free radicals that cause dark spots, sagging, and wrinkles. Vitamin C is also vital for collagen and elastin production; these substances keep the skin toned and firm. It protects from sun damage and makes your complexion brighter while it renews damaged skin and treats pigmentation. This essential nutrient also replenishes vitamin E in the body. Foods rich in vitamin C are bell peppers, papaya, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, kiwifruit, oranges, and pineapple.
4. Vitamin D
Another nutrient that assists in skin regeneration is vitamin D. It prevents dryness and promotes softness while making the skin more robust and less susceptible to sagging and wrinkles. Vitamin D also plays a role in controlling the natural antimicrobial defenses of the skin. There are broader benefits as well as it enhances immunity and improves mood. You can find vitamin D in dairy, tuna, soy milk, orange juice, and by making sure you get some sunlight during winter.
5. Vitamin E
As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, vitamin E protects against free radical damage. It also absorbs UV light energy and defends against skin cancer. It works well with vitamin C to promote cell integrity. All in all, vitamin E is essential for moisturized skin and a healthy scalp. Some foods rich in this beauty nutrient are almonds, avocados, chard, olives and olive oil, peaches, spinach, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds.
6. Omega-3 Essential Fats
Essential fatty acids are natural anti-inflammatory agents and very helpful for several conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and wrinkles. Omega-3s keep your skin firm, moist, and flexible. They also inhibit the activity of a specific chemical that encourages the spreading of skin cancer. They prevent hair and scalp dryness and protect against collagen loss. Make sure you eat enough oily fish, such as salmon or sardines, walnuts, flax seeds, tuna, wild rice, and edamame.
Potassium is an essential mineral that maintains pH balance in the body. It supports healthy circulation, muscle and nerve function, and it promotes new cell growth healing blemishes and scars. It’s also one of the nutrients that smooth out wrinkles and protect from UV rays. Some foods high in potassium are beans, bananas, salmon, avocados, yogurt, and chard.
Selenium is a superb free-radical fighter that preserves skin elasticity and protects against skin damage. Moreover, selenium deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of skin cancer. Brazil nuts are by far the best food source of this mineral, but you can also find it in decent amounts in oats, mushrooms, tuna, shrimp, salmon, and wheat germ.
Zinc is a mineral that plays a crucial role in collagen formation and tissue healing. It combats inflammation and redness and assists in sebum production, promoting healthy hair and nails. It also protects against conditions like acne. It’s a mineral found in high concentration in the outer layer of your skin. As an antioxidant defender and potent skin healer, zinc can slow down the aging process and protect your skin from free radical damage. You can find zinc in oysters, red meat and poultry, dairy, mushrooms, chia seeds, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, tahini, quinoa, and hemp seeds.
Essential vitamins and minerals provide countless beauty benefits for skin, hair, and nails. They are nature’s way of helping you always look your best. Furthermore, essential nutrients promote optimal health, protect against disease, and boost your energy levels. Eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods will help you stay healthy, energetic, and radiant. So, if you are looking for the fountain of youth, look no further from your plate.
“6 Essential Nutrients for Beautiful Skin.” Prettyology, 19 Mar. 2014, prettyology.com/blog/2014/03/19/6-essential-nutrients-for-beautiful-skin/ Accessed 4 Jan. 2020.
“9 Must-have Nutrients for Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails”. Vita Medica, 5 Nov. 2015, vitamedica.com/wellness-blog/9-must-have-nutrients-for-healthy-hair-skin-and-nails/. Accessed 4 Jan. 2020.
Hart, Jolene. Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out. Chronicle Books, 2014.