Seven simple foods for healthy skin

By January 21, 2016Blog

This blog is dedicated to the foods you can eat to maintain your skin in an optimal condition. I have deliberately selected accessible, non-expensive products that you can easily incorporate in your daily dishes. My foods for healthy skin are all of plant origin today. There are seven of them, for each day of the week. Eat yourself beautiful!

Flaxseed oil and flaxseed (Alpha-linolenic acid)

Flaxseed oil is the richest source of α-linolenic acid (ALA) on Earth. One tablespoon of this oil contains 7 g of ALA. ALA is the primary unsaturated fatty acid in the Omega-3 family. For optimal health women need about 2 grams of this acid per day, and men 3 grams. One tablespoon of flaxseed oil (14 g) contains as much as 7 grams of ALA. Thus, the consumption of just two or three tablespoons of flaxseed oil will cover your weekly allowance of ALA. Alpha-linolenic acid is particularly important for those who have dry skin or inflamed skin (eczema, rosacea, acne, psoriasis, dermatitis).

I do not recommend to heat this oil as heat destroys its nutrients.

Flaxseed itself is also rich in α-linolenic acid. One tablespoon of flaxseed provides 2.5 grams of ALA. This is our daily RDA (recommended dietary allowance). I recommend to soak flaxseed before use for at least 10 minutes (in your yoghurt, porridge, smoothies or water), it is better digested this way. By the way, did you know that one tablespoon of flaxseed mixed with two tablespoons of water can replace one egg in baking?

Coconut oil (lauric, capric and caprylic acids)

Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has great anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, coconut oil is a unique source of capric and caprylic fatty acids, which have antibacterial and antifungal properties and fight against harmful fungi such as candida. To improve skin condition coconut oil can be eaten of course, but you can also rub it directly into the skin.

Coconut oil is excellent for baking and raw desserts. It is sold with a characteristic smell of coconut, and without. While baking or making raw desserts coconut oil helps create a pleasant creamy structure.

Buckwheat (rutin)

Buckwheat is the greatest food source of a unique chemical compound rutin. Rutin helps the body to efficiently use vitamin C and thus actively produce collagen (the basic building protein of the skin). Rutin also has well-defined anti-inflammatory properties.

Buckwheat also contains a lots of copper, zinc, manganese and vitamin B3 (niacin). All these micronutrients are very important for good skin condition.

Apples (pectin)

Apples are the best source of fibre pectin. According to the in-vivo (laboratory) experiments, pectin improves skin tone. I advise you to eat apples with the peel, as the peel contains rutin (mentioned above).

Carrots (vitamin A)

Vitamin A, among its other functions, is absolutely necessary for maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes. Acute vitamin A deficiency can cause acne and hyperkeratosis (pathological thickening of the top layer of skin). Mega-doses of vitamin A derivatives are used in dermatology for the treatment of acne. Taking vitamin A in high doses should be done only under the supervision of a specialist. Luckily, it is not that difficult to safely receive high doses of vitamin A from food. One medium sized carrot contains about 400% of the RDA of vitamin A. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, which means that it is absorbed in the presence of fat. Hence for optimal absorption of vitamin A from carrot juice add a few drops of oil or cream. Baking carrots in a small amount of oil is also a great strategy to maintain normal levels of this vitamin.

Turmeric (Curcumin)

Turmeric is long known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family. Turmeric was traditionally called “Indian saffron” because of its yellowish-orange color. In India, curcuma has been for millennia traditionally used as a coloring for curry and as a preservative for food.

The active constituent of Curcuma Longa is curcumin. It has been demonstrated to have a wide range of therapeutic actions. Both in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine it has been used to treat a wide variety of minor and major disorders including stomach ache, colics, arthritis and skin problems to name a few.

There are several data in the medical literature indicating a great variety of pharmacological activities of turmeric. Scientists are collecting more evidence [1] that curcumin plays a positive role in the treatment of inflammatory dermatoses, wounds [2], skin infections, and depigmentation.

References
  1. Nguyen TA, Friedman AJ.J Drugs Dermatol. 2013 Oct;12(10):1131-7. Curcumin: a novel treatment for skin-related disorders. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24085048
  2. Akbik et al. Life Sci. 2014 Oct 22;116(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2014.08.016. Epub 2014 Sep 6. Curcumin as a wound healing agent. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25200875

Author Lera Krasovskaya

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