When it comes to nutrition and men’s wellness, the conversation has typically been about meat-based protein intake. But times are a'changing, and with trending documentaries like Netflix’s The Game Changers and celebrities like Jay Z and Queen B going on vegan challenges, it's time we know which food is good for our skin.
Fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals, as well as certain other micronutrients our bodies can not produce on their own. This means we must seek these foods on a regular basis to enable our body’s natural regeneration process. In other words, we simply need them in order to operate and survive. That’s why mindful eating has gained traction, born out of the philosophy that every bite we take is an opportunity to refuel and truly nourish our bodies and minds.
But what does mean food for skin care?
Vital nutrients consumed through food or topically through skincare may have different effects on your skin health. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and the first line of defense against anything outside of it. (Suddenly feeling exposed, huh?). It’s also often the first to react when something’s not right, both emotionally and with regard to nutrient deficiencies. Not getting enough sleep can lead to dark circles under your eyes, not getting enough water can lead to more pronounced wrinkles, and stress often leads to outbursts of skin disorders like cold sores, psoriasis and even acne. Your skin is extremely responsive, and as the largest exhibition of what you’re internalizing, it is no wonder we are always trying to find ways to put our best face forward.
The good news: it might be easier than you think to incorporate those missing vitamins into your daily life. Turns out, it’s not always necessary to eat “superfoods”. Regular ol’ vegetables have vitamins in them too. Below are six common nutrients that live in not so commonly known good-for-your-skin foods. Ready for that “woke up like this” glow? Keep reading and you might even admit your mom was on to something when she scolded you for pushing your veggies aside.
1. Carrots: Vitamin A
Whether juicing, braising or julien-ning, incorporating carrots into your daily life may actually not be so difficult. Gluten-free, refined-sugar free carrot cake anyone?
There are two types of Vitamin A - carotenoids (found in carrots) and retinoids. Vitamin A from carrots is full of antioxidants, helping combat wrinkles and signs of aging, and can even help keep acne at bay. But be careful, consuming too much carrots and carotenoids can temporarily turn your skin orange! It’s harmless though, as the National Institute of Health has clarified.
Topically, Vitamin A is also known as the A-list star in skincare - retinol - which is said to fast track cell regeneration, take years off your skin and is the ultimate secret magic in your grooming arsenal.
2. Raw Sweet Red Peppers: Vitamin E
Raw sweet red pepper is said to contain 13% DV of Vitamin E per serving. It’s main nutritional function is to serve as an antioxidant and immune-booster. There is a culinary plus as well, they add a little sweet crunch to any salad.
In skincare, vitamin E allows for moisture retention, which helps to protect your natural skin barrier and soothes irritation from pollutants.
While Harvard Health Publishing debunks the myth that Vitamin E reduces the appearance of scars, the benefits of this nutrients are indisputable. Another case for Vitamin E in skincare are antioxidant properties that fight free radicals, aka have major anti-aging benefits. While aging is a natural process, the consequent veins under the eyes and accompanying bags under the eyes can be minimized.
3. Chilli Peppers: Vitamin C
Good news spice lovers! Chili Peppers are high in vitamin C, a nutrient that even the least skin-conscious among us have heard of. It’s a household name for that thing you should take when you get a cold to boost your immune system. But Vitamin C is so much more than that. It stimulates collagen synthesis and assists in antioxidant protection against UV-induced (sun) photodamage. And in the contrary, not having it actually makes your skin more fragile. Because of its antioxidant properties, when used topically Vitamin C also combats dark circles under the eyes and can prevent premature aging of the skin.
4. Brazil Nuts: Selenium
Perhaps containing the most exotic nutrient on this list, Brazil Nuts are famous for their high selenium content. Precisely because of this high dosage, their intake should be limited. However, selenium is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and thus signs of aging like wrinkles and bags under the eyes. Selenium’s effects on the skin have also been linked to clearing away acne, making the Brazil Nut an attractive addition to any quick recipe or a great snack on its own.
5. Mushrooms: Vitamin D
Time to get creative in the kitchen with this Vitamin D-packed beauty of a vegetable. Vitamin D works as a skin protection and prevents aging by aiding the cell’s regeneration process. It is also said to uplift moods and is a strong support for your bone health. When you lack Vitamin D, the signs can become obvious and lead to skin disorders such as psoriasis. And although Vitamin D is often associated with the sun, the wrinkle wary among us might want to opt for a nice portobello burger instead.
6. Garlic: Vitamin B-6
In traditional Ayurveda, garlic is used as medicine for its strong antibacterial capabilities. It’s considered nature’s antibiotic and therefore not to be consumed daily. Apart from garlic’s antimicrobial and beneficial properties, when it comes to our epidermis the B6 found in garlic is said to aid in the repair of cells and the maintenance of healthy skin. Lack of B-6 (which is one part of the B-complex vitamins) may result in skin irritations and disorders.
*Disclaimer: Content in this article is not a substitute for medical advice and may not be used as such. Always seek medical advice from your medical professional.