Dermatologist Jo Herzog shares her thoughts on the 3 best foods to eat for healthy, beautiful skin.
Today’s discussion with Dr. Herzog will address the healthiest food choices to benefit skin. This is in answer to the recent question submitted by Twyla Jones of Birmingham:
Dr. Herzog, what would be your top 3 foods to include in a diet regimen to help perimenopausal skin be its best?
Dr. Jo Herzog
You have asked a very good question. I’ll be talking about more than 3-5 foods, as there are more than that that deserve mention. Also, the foods that I’ll be discussing can benefit all skin, not just perimenopausal. Although this list is not exhaustive, it will give you a good idea of some foods that can be of great benefit to one’s skin and overall health.
Antioxidants: These work to help your skin heal and repair. Vitamin C is especially important for collagen repair. These nutrients can be found in a wide variety of foods, especially those containing vitamin C, E, lycopenes and reservatrol.
For foods full of antioxidants, my first pick is blueberries, as they are delicious, low in calories, and chock full of nutrients. Throw a handful on Greek yogurt for breakfast or simply eat by the handful for a snack.
My second pick is extra virgin olive oil. The best that I ever tasted is Greek Lykovouno extra virgin olive oil which can be ordered here from the Lykovouno website. Olive oil has been used in other areas of the world since ancient times to promote beautiful skin and health. It was/is applied after sun exposure (be careful of clothes staining and if you are acne prone). In some countries, it is taken as a supplement in does of one to two tablespoons a day, but why take it as medicine when it can be enjoyed at the dinner table? Use it on bread and salad–which should contain tomatoes that are rich in Lycopenes-another potent antioxidant). Adding some red wine to go with this adds another source of antioxidants (as reservatrol).
You can round out the meal by sipping green tea and enjoying dark chocolate covered kiwi, strawberries, and cantaloupe. The cocoa in chocolate also contains flavenoids which have been reported to increase blood flow to the skin.
Omega 3 fatty acids: This nutrient helps decrease inflammation and may help keep skin feeling moister by providing some lipid nutrients. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish where they are abundant. Not being a fish lover, I will get mine from supplements, walnuts and flax seeds.
Vitamin A: Vitamin a is also needed for repair of skin. We need enough of this, but since too much can be dangerous, food sources (as opposed to supplements) are the best way to get this. Sweet potatoes contain lots of vitamin A as well as other wonderful nutrients, so I would put them on the menu. Any yellow or orange vegetable or fruit should also be a good source of vitamin A.
Zinc: This nutrient is used in repair of skin and collagen, supports the immune system, and potentially helps with photodamage. Zinc is plentiful in oysters, but that might not suit all of our fancies. It can also be found in dark chocolate, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, and crab.
A note on Lycopenes: Lycopenes are rich in antioxodants and carotenoids and are concentrated when we cook tomatoes down to make a sauce. I mention this because we often think that a fruit or a vegetable is healthiest in the raw form, but this is not always the case. Some people use tomato paste to increase their lycopene concentration.
Vitamins and supplements can be good, but more is not always better. Some of these things can be harmful if overdone. In a normal and varied diet, it would be difficult to overdo them. But when people go on radical diets where they limit consumption to a narrow range of foods, this can happen.
Many of our most wonderful foods will fall into several categories because they provide many essential nutrients. The art will be in learning how to use of all of these wonderful foods to keep our skin healthy and young looking. I will leave it up to Jamie to create a menu for us using some of my top picks. Hope you enjoyed this. I am going to now take a chocolate break.