ARC Health & Wellness Community

The Association of Retail and Consumer Professionals


Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Here’s a food for thought: Could your skin’s best friend be hiding in your fridge? The real magic for your skin might be found in your grocery list.

Your skin, constituting around one-seventh of your total body weight, serves as a vital barrier shielding your body from various environmental factors such as the sun’s rays, temperature fluctuations, pathogens and toxins. While many people prioritize external skincare through moisturizers and sunscreen, maintaining healthy, youthful skin also hinges greatly on a balanced, nutritious diet, according to Health magazine.

Certain key nutrients like selenium, zinc, omega-3 fats and vitamins A, C and E play pivotal roles in safeguarding the skin against dehydration, loss of elasticity and damage from sun exposure and oxidative stress. Incorporating foods abundant in these skin-supporting nutrients into consumers’ diets can potentially slow down signs of aging, mitigate the risk of skin-related ailments and enhance skin moisture and suppleness. Scientific evidence supports the notion that certain foods can enhance cognitive function, lower the likelihood of serious illnesses such as cancer and bolster immunity.

However, the question remains: Can dietary choices influence the clarity and health of the skin? Although there is limited concrete scientific evidence connecting diet to skin quality, anecdotal accounts suggest a plausible correlation, given the holistic impact of diet on bodily functions, according to Piedmont Healthcare.

Several studies indicate a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may enhance skin tone and contribute to a healthier complexion. While more research is necessary to substantiate these claims, reducing overall inflammation in the body could improve skin appearance while decreasing the risk of chronic diseases.

Providing comprehensive nutritional guidance that includes skin health can enhance client satisfaction and adherence to dietary recommendations, as consumers often seek solutions for improving their skin’s appearance and health. Armed with knowledge about skin-supportive nutrients and foods, health and wellness professionals and dietitians especially can create personalized nutrition plans tailored to their clients’ specific skin concerns, such as acne, dryness or premature aging. By considering dietary factors alongside other lifestyle habits and health conditions, dietitians can adopt a holistic approach to their clients’ health, addressing underlying nutritional deficiencies or imbalances that may be affecting their skin.

Looking for the ultimate skincare routine? It might start in the kitchen! Let’s cook up a recipe for healthy, glowing skin.

Longevity, skin and aging

Dr. Ronald Moy, a cosmetic and facial plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, past president and diplomate of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatologic Surgeons and American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery, said the anti-inflammatory diet is good for psoriasis, acne and prevention of certain cancers. The anti-inflammatory diet includes omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, polyphenols and gut-healthy foods. Sugary food can be acne-causing as well, he said. While the Mediterranean diet is not well defined, Moy said, being on an Asian food diet such as Chinese food is “very good” because it’s made up of little pieces of meat, such as steak, and vegetables. Moy is Chinese.

Cleveland Clinic defines the Mediterranean diet as mainly plant-based foods and healthy fats, consisting of veggies, fruits and whole grains. Dr. Lauren Eckert Ploch, a cosmetic, medical and general dermatologist in Augusta, Georgia, and Aiken, South Carolina, and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, recommends the Mediterranean diet as well.

“I recommend avoiding processed foods and processed sugars, which can worsen acne and cause premature aging,” Ploch said. “My dietary recommendations focus on foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and antioxidants. Antioxidants can help reduce and prevent signs of aging and they can improve skin conditions like acne.”

Additionally, there are five blue zones, or areas with the longest-lived people and the highest life expectancies, in the world and only one is in the U.S. Loma Linda, California, the only blue zone in America, is the home of a Seventh-day Adventist community and many Adventists follow a vegetarian diet.

“If you look at the blue zones, you know eating hamburgers is not as good,” Moy said. “A vegetarian diet can be healthier for the skin and healthier overall for longevity. A healthy diet does impact the skin and helps with longevity and aging. They certainly overlap.”

Skin superfoods

For a healthy body and radiant complexion, incorporate these inflammation-fighting superfoods into consumers’ diets:

Tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, asparagus and red cabbage: Rich in lycopene, these colorful fruits and vegetables are beneficial for skin health and fighting inflammation.

“Especially for people with inflammatory diseases, I ask, what really are the healthiest things to eat?” Moy said. “Vegetables. All the different colored vegetables are really healthy. Can a lot of kids do that? It’s pretty hard to tell them to eat vegetables when they want to go to McDonald’s. For a lot of people, it’s hard for them to change diets.”

Broccoli: High in fiber, vitamin C and polyphenol antioxidants, broccoli helps inhibit skin protein breakdown and protects against UV damage.

Blood oranges: High in anthocyanins and vitamin C, blood oranges offer potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, beneficial for maintaining skin health.

Strawberries: Rich in vitamin C and various antioxidants, strawberries support collagen production and protect skin cells from oxidative damage.

Cherries: Rich in antioxidants and fiber, cherries combat oxidative stress, support heart health and promote restful sleep, vital for skin repair.

Green tea: Rich in antioxidants, green tea polyphenols have shown promise in reducing wrinkles and sun damage when applied topically. Incorporate skincare products containing green tea for potential skin benefits, while also enjoying the proven health advantages of drinking green tea.

“Raspberries, apples and green tea are a good course of quercetin, which has anti-aging and antioxidant properties,” Ploch said. “Raspberries are also high in anthocyanins, which have antioxidant activity.”

Salmon and tuna: Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, these fish are excellent for promoting skin health and reducing inflammation.

Ploch’s favorite superfood is salmon.

“It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, for shiny hair and hydrated skin, niacinamide, for skin cancer prevention and skin hydration, carotenoids like astaxanthin for healthy skin color, and Vitamin D, which helps to prevent skin cancer,” Ploch said.

Trout: A source of vitamin D, trout supports skin cell growth and immune function, along with providing zinc, selenium, protein and omega-3 fats.

Shellfish: Oysters, clams and mussels are rich in skin-supportive minerals like zinc and selenium, as well as anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.

Organ meats: Liver and heart offer a nutrient-dense source of copper, selenium, vitamin A and zinc, crucial for skin health maintenance.

Beans and lentils: Opt for these meatless, low-fat sources of protein to support overall health and maintain a balanced diet.

Nuts: Nuts like cashews and peanuts are high in zinc, which is necessary for wound healing, Ploch said. The combination of healthy fats, protein, zinc, biotin and copper in peanuts and cashews is essential for healthy hair and nails.

Sunflower seeds: Packed with protein and vitamin E, sunflower seeds protect skin cells from sun damage and promote collagen synthesis.

Whole grains: Choose whole grain options like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat pasta to boost consumers’ intake of B vitamins, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin.

Kimchi: This fermented dish is rich in probiotics and nutrients like provitamin A and vitamin C, crucial for optimal skin health by supporting gut health.

Bone broth: Rich in collagen-derived gelatin, bone broth provides essential amino acids for skin repair and regeneration.

Smoothies: Blend vitamin C-rich fruits, healthy fats and protein sources for a nutritious beverage that supports skin health, enhanced further with collagen peptides.

Leafy greens: Leafy greens, like spinach, contain vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is necessary for healthy skin cell turnover, Ploch said. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production and wound healing. Vitamin C is also responsible for the sustained action of vitamin E in the skin and it helps make selenium, an antioxidant cofactor, more bioavailable to help the body fight off free radicals.

Organic food: A lot of people get skin cancers from pesticides and arsenic, Moy said. Eating organic food is healthy and helps prevent skin cancer and DNA damage.

It’s important to note that the impact of food on skin varies from person to person. Dermatologists recommend paying attention to how consumers’ skin reacts to certain foods, such as dairy or sweets and avoiding those that seem to negatively affect their complexion. By incorporating these nutrient-rich foods into consumers’ diets and being mindful of potential triggers, you can support both their overall health and the appearance of their skin.

“It’s a personal thing,” Moy said. “It’s hard to summarize: this is bad, or this is good, for food. You want to have a little of everything.”

What to avoid

For clear, smooth skin, consumers should steer clear of the following:

Smoking: Cigarette smoking can detrimentally affect skin texture and appearance.

Sugar: Excessive consumption of sugar promotes inflammation, which can accelerate skin aging.

Trans fat: Found in fried foods, baked goods, margarine and more, trans fats not only increase inflammation, but also negatively impact cholesterol levels, potentially harming skin health.

Processed carbohydrates: Foods like white bread, pizza crust and pasta can harm skin collagen, contributing to the development of wrinkles.

Alcohol: Limit alcohol intake to one beverage per day for women and two for men, as excessive consumption can have adverse effects on skin health.

In conclusion, the relationship between diet and skin health underscores the importance of mindful eating for both overall well-being and a radiant complexion. While skincare products may offer external protection and nourishment, the true foundation for healthy skin may lie within the foods you recommend to consumers daily. By prioritizing nutrient-dense options rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, consumers may be able to slow down signs of aging, mitigate skin-related ailments and achieve a glowing complexion from within. While scientific evidence continues to evolve, anecdotal accounts and emerging research suggest a promising correlation between dietary choices and skin clarity. Incorporating skin-supportive foods into consumers’ diets not only fosters skin health, but also promotes longevity and overall vitality. As we navigate the vast array of dietary options, it’s essential to heed individual responses and preferences, striving for balance and moderation. With a holistic approach encompassing nutrition, skincare and lifestyle habits, we can unlock the recipe for healthy, luminous skin that radiates from the inside out. So forget potions and lotions, your clients’ skin’s new BFF might just be broccoli. After uncovering the tasty secrets to radiant skin, who knew that a trip to the farmer’s market could be the ultimate spa day?

Latest Posts

Articles by Category