Skin, the largest organ in the human body, is remarkable. In addition to wrapping and protecting everything inside us, it also regulates temperature, fights infection, eliminates waste, produces vitamin D, and allows us to feel and interact with the world. Many factors affect skin health: hydration, sun exposure, sleep, exercise, smoking, and of course, diet.
Join me for our latest Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center Your Healthy Kitchen episode to learn more about lifestyle habits and foods that support healthy skin. You’ll also see how to make a simple recipe for mole, the traditional sauce from Mexico that’s packed with flavor and skin-loving nutrients.
Try this skin-nurturing, delicious mole recipe
Research shows that a plant-forward diet – one that features a variety of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, spices and herbs – supports healthy skin. Plants contain an abundance of vitamins, healthy fats, and phytochemicals that protect skin from sun damage, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity. Many of these nutrients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory roles that reduce the negative effects of sun and environmental toxins. Others support the health of collagen and elastin, two important proteins that give skin structure and elasticity.
Skin-protecting nutrients include:
- Vitamin C – Found in all fruits and vegetables, builds collagen, reduces inflammation, and protects skin from sun damage.
- Vitamin E – From nuts and seeds it protects skin from sun damage and dehydration.
- Beta Carotene – Abundant in red, yellow, orange and green fruits and vegetables, this builds collagen and reduces wrinkles.
- Lycopene – Found in tomato sauce and paste as well as red and pink fruits and vegetables, it reduces damage from sunburn and may prevent skin cancer.
- Polyphenols – This large group of plant-based chemicals – found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, cocoa, spices and herbs – protects skin from sun damage and reduces inflammation.
In addition to filling your plate with a variety of nutrient-packed plants, you can support healthy skin by getting regular exercise and good sleep. Avoiding excess alcohol and sugar, and not smoking are important too.
You’ll find all of our videos and flavored-packed, nutrient-rich recipes on YRMC HealthConnect. Follow me on Facebook, where I regularly post photos, videos and recipes for the plant-forward meals I prepare in my own kitchen, plus links to my favorite food and gardening destinations on the web.