Did you know that your skin is an organ? And as with your internal organs, what you eat has an effect on the health of your skin. High school athletes may be prone to acne breakouts due to stress and hormonal changes. Here are five foods you can eat to help improve troublesome skin.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is one of the most widely recognized foods for promoting healthy skin. It is actually the main ingredient in the acne medication Accutane. Rather than load up on pricy creams, get vitamin A naturally from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots and spinach.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C stimulates collagen production and protects against free radicals. This antioxidant can be found in citrus fruits and strawberries.
3. Omega 3 Fats
These reduce inflammation but are also good for the skin, helping to keep it hydrated and protect it against sun damage. Omega 3 fats are present in avocados, nuts and seeds and in fatty fish like salmon.
4. Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbs found in whole grain bread, whole grain pasta and brown rice digest slowly and help keep your blood sugar stable, which in turn helps prevent hormone imbalances that can cause breakouts.
Another key to healthy skin. Dehydration can cause the cells in your skin to dry out and become irritated, so keep your water bottle handy, especially in cooler months, when you might not always think about drinking fluids.
Based on these main categories of nutrients, make sure you are getting enough of the following foods for healthy skin:
- Brightly colored fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- A variety of seeds and nuts
- Plenty of water.
Ideas for each meal of the day
Breakfast: Fruit smoothie with avocado. Mix strawberries with crushed ice (hydration!) and avocado for texture. Serve with whole grain toast and nut butter.
Lunch: Grain-based salad (examples: farro, quinoa, brown rice) with roasted sweet potatoes, slivered almonds and protein of choice. Adding grains to your salad helps keep your blood sugar stable and makes you feel full longer.
Dinner: Salmon, brown rice and mixed vegetables—a great way to get omega 3's, vitamins from the vegetables and whole grain carbohydrates.
I offer no recommendations of foods to remove from your diet for healthy skin. There is talk of gluten and dairy affecting skin health, but it depends solely on the individual. If you are sensitive to gluten or dairy, you might have a reason to limit or eliminate them, but you should definitely get tested before removing them from your diet. Talk with a registered dietitian about food sensitivity testing.
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