There are many nutrients that play an important role in skin health and thus should be part of your nutritional armor. One of the top nutrients is antioxidants, which are critical in order to maintain the integrity and strength of cells, including skin cells. The primary antioxidants are Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and powerful Bioflavonoids such as quercetin. Omega-3 EPA/DHA (from fish and fish oil supplements) is also important to help decrease inflammation that often manifests in the skin as “dermatitis.”
Food sources of Beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme. Food sources of Lutein include eggs, kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, corn, garden peas and brussels sprouts. Foods highest in lycopene include tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, and guava. Other foods containing small amounts of lycopene include persimmon and apricots. Those foods high in selenium include button mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, cod, shrimp, snapper, tuna, halibut, calf’s liver, and salmon. Food sources rich in Vitamin A include carrots, calf’s liver, spinach, sweet potato, kale, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, swiss chard, and red bell peppers. Vitamin C is abundant in parsley, broccoli, bell pepper, strawberries, oranges, lemon juice, cauliflower, papaya, kale, mustard greens, and Brussel sprouts. Mustard greens, chard, sunflower seeds, turnip greens, almonds and spinach are all excellent sources of Vitamin E. Quercetin is found in black and green tea, onions, tomatoes, apples, elderberries, and citrus fruit.
Other foods that may help with internal defense as nutritional armor against skin damage and aging are brazil nuts (good source of selenium), berries (good source of Vitamin C and E), Avocados (good source of Vitamin C and E), dairy products (excellent source of Vitamin A), and Green tea (contains Vitamin C and E). So, for healthy skin adopt a Mediterranean diet, eat lots of “oily” fish and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.