Vitamin A helps control the rate of keratin your skin produces, aka the shedding of skin. Vital for skin maintenance and repair, a lack of vitamin A can result in a dull, flaky complexion. Foods to include: liver, eggs, sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash, spinach, kale, spring greens, turnip greens, romaine lettuce.
B vitamins are important for cell reproduction, and they’re super important as skin – along with hair and nails – is constantly being renewed. If you’re deficient, you might experience dry, grey-looking skin, acne, wrinkles and hair loss. There are a number of different B vitamins, and each contributes something slightly different when it comes to skin health. Sources of B vitamins include meat and poultry, fish, beef, kidneys and liver, eggs, dairy, sunflower seeds, dried beans, peas, lentils, sesame seeds, asparagus, artichokes, avocados, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kelp, fortified cereals, mushrooms, nuts, peas, spinach, sweet potatoes, watercress, Marmite, popcorn.
Vitamin C is key for collagen production without which skin can sag and look dull. Vitamins C and E regenerate each other, so combining both these foods in a meal and snack is a gift that keeps on giving. Foods to include: blackcurrants, red peppers, kale, collard leaves, broccoli, kiwis, oranges, courgettes, cauliflower and spinach, citrus fruit.
Dry, itchy skin? Could be a calcium shortage, especially if this is accompanied by premature wrinkles. Calcium is the controller in a number of processes in the body, including how quickly skin cells divide, regulating lipids (fats) in the skin that maintain its integrity. Find calcium in foods like milk, cheese and other dairy products, fish where you eat the bones, sardines and pilchards, soya beans, tofu, sesame seeds and tahini, green leafy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and okra.
Skin cells produce a chemical that is converted into vitamin D in sunlight. It’s important for many functions in the body, including immunity, blood sugar balance and bone health. Vitamin D also regulates growth and maturation of skin cells. It’s impossible to get enough vitamin D from food alone, but do try to include more sardines, salmon, tuna, swordfish, eggs, orange juice, and fortified margarine, fortified cereals. And don’t forget a daily dose of getting out into the sun! It’s your best supplier of the ‘sunshine vitamin’.
Like vitamins A and C, vitamin E helps limit the damage done to collagen and elastin fibres by free radicals – the very things that accelerate skin ageing. Get more by eating sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, papaya, mustard greens, asparagus, peppers, Brazil nuts, fresh tuna, some meats including pork, beef, turkey and chicken,cottage cheese, eggs, brown rice, sunflower seeds, spinach, oats, mushrooms
Copper works with both vitamin C and zinc on creating the support structure for the skin. The balance of zinc and copper in the body is especially important as high levels in one can decrease absorption of the other. Good sources of copper are organ meats like liver, oysters, shitake mushrooms, nuts and seeds, leafy greens and dark chocolate
Selenium is a potent antioxidant that helps protect against free radical damage and is considered to play a role in skin cancer prevention. It additionally helps eliminate toxins from the skin. Brazil nuts are one of the best sources but also choose tuna, pork, beef, turkey and chicken.
Zinc has a well-researched role in wound healing. People who suffer from eczema, acne or rosacea are often low in zinc. A lack of zinc can result in poor skin healing, eczema and rashes. Foods to include: venison, fish, ginger root, lamb, lean beef, turkey, green vegetables, oats, nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt, scallops.
Essential fats are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes. Omega-3 is especially important and has a very calming effect on the body, which is important for inflammatory conditions like acne and eczema. A lack of essential fats causes cells to dry out too quickly, resulting in dry skin. The body can’t make these fats, you have to eat them. Choose oily fish (salmon, sardines, halibut, scallops), flaxseed, walnuts, soya beans, tofu.