Fresh, younger-looking skin is something everyone can appreciate. And with summer around the corner, many of us are turning our attention to what we put on our skin to protect it from the elements. However, what we put in our body can be just as important as what we put on our body. The nutrients that promote healthy, glowing skin can easily be incorporated into a delicious summer menu.
Free radicals are atoms formed through the interaction of oxygen and other molecules. Once a free radical forms, it has the capacity to create a chain reaction that eventually damages the membrane of the skin cell, leaving it vulnerable to further damage. Antioxidants are molecules that can stop the chain reaction that prematurely ages the cell.
Several varieties of berries, such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, are particularly high in antioxidants (Wu, 2004). Incorporating berries into a morning smoothie, tossing a few into a salad at lunch, or even pureeing them into a refreshingly cool summer soup are just a few ways to enjoy these amazing antioxidant powerhouses.
Selenium is an essential element that’s involved in protein production and DNA synthesis. Research suggests that selenium may have protective properties against specific oxidative damage that could lead to certain forms of skin cancer (Rafferty, 2003).
Although many nuts contain selenium, Brazil nuts are one of the highest sources. Just 1 ounce (6 to 8 nuts) provides more than 700% of our daily selenium requirement. They can be added to baked goods, salads or even spiced with curry for a healthy summer snack that pairs well with a nice cold drink. Brazil nuts are super adaptable and can change and improve the taste of any food.
We don’t often think of water as a nutrient, but it’s one of the most vital ingredients the body uses to keep cells alive, transport nutrients, process chemical reactions, regulate body temperature and eliminate waste. Good hydration contributes to healthy-looking skin by helping move nutrients in and toxins out of the cell. Consuming pure water, about 64 ounces each day, is best but there are a number of foods known for their high water content that can provide additional sources of this critical nutrient.
At about 96% water, cucumber offers the most hydration in a solid food. It’s great sliced up and served alongside a bowl of hummus, added to a stuffed pita sandwich or chopped into an easy cucumber salad that would be a fantastic low-calorie addition to any summer picnic.
Maintaining good hydration along with a healthy, balanced diet rich in antioxidants and selenium is a great way to take care of our skin from the inside out. By incorporating a few of these key nutrients, you’ll help your skin keep a healthy glow all year long.