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Vitamin A stimulates cell production and growth, specifically fibroblasts, which are responsible for keeping skin firm and youthful.
This week, we hosted an intimate dinner in New York with chef and Eighteen B Woman, Camille Becerra, who works mostly with sustainable, vegan ingredients. We wanted to learn even more about how our food affects our skin, so we asked a nutritionist exactly what we should be eating.
At Eighteen B, we believe that healthy skin comes from the inside-out and the outside-in. Eating fresh, whole foods is always a great place to start, of course, but we wanted to learn which foods work the hardest for skin health.
Jennifer Cholewka, RD, CNSC, CDN, is an advanced clinical nutrition coordinator at The Mount Sinai Hospital of Manhattan. She talked to us about the vitamins and nutrients she recommends to make our skin glow.
Vitamin C is a buzzy ingredient in skincare treatments, but it works wonders from the inside, too. How? Vitamin C promotes the growth and repair of all tissues in the body. “Vitamin C is a necessary component for the growth of collagen,” Jennifer told us. “Collagen provides elasticity, integrity, and firmness to our skin.”
What are the best foods for Vitamin C? Colorful fruits like guava, strawberries, kiwi, and oranges all have more than 100% daily value (DV) per cup. Papaya and broccoli deliver more than 90% DV of Vitamin C per cup.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Really want your skin to shine? Start with the good fats. Omega-3 Fatty Acids area are a much-touted superfood, with benefits that range from heart health to mental health. These multitasking fats promote glowing skin, too. “Omega 3 Fatty Acids possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties. These fats protect skin cells from sun damage and alter how our bodies respond to UV rays, minimizing the aging effects of sun exposure.”
Where to find Omega-3s? Jennifer tells us, “cold water fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines.” For vegetarians, “try plant-based sources like chia seeds, flax seed, walnuts, and plant oils like canola and flax seed oil.”
Here’s another case for eating plenty of nuts. “Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant, protecting body tissue from free radicals. Free radicals contribute to cellular damage, which expedites the skin aging process.”
Nuts and seeds deliver the richest amounts of Vitamin E. The very best source is is wheat germ oil (one tablespoon exceeds 100% DV). However, Jennifer admits that wheat germ oil isn’t necessarily an everyday ingredient. “More commonly consumed sources include sunflower seeds and sunflower oil (66% DV per ounce, 37% DV per tablespoon), almonds and almond oil (48% DV per ounce, 36% DV per tablespoon), and hazelnuts and hazelnut oil (28% DV per ounce, 43% DV per tablespoon).
To keep fighting free radicals, don’t skimp on the Vitamin A. “Free radicals break down collagen and increase our sensitivity to the sun,” Jennifer says. Vitamin A fights those free radicals. “Vitamin A decreases hyper-pigmentation and inflammation associated with prolonged sun exposure.” (But that doesn’t mean you can bypass the sunscreen!) That’s not all: “Vitamin A stimulates cell production and growth, specifically fibroblasts, which are responsible for keeping skin firm and youthful.”
Plant sources that are rich in Vitamin A – all with more than 100% DV per serving – include sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and butternut squash. Tuna is one of the top sources of Vitamin A, with 143% DV per serving.
Do you have a question for our skincare experts? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.