Nutrition, aging, seasonal changes, sun exposure, hormone levels, stress and smoking all affect our skin and hair health. As a busy entrepreneur, I know traveling can play havoc on my skin and hair. The role of nutrients in the skin and hair is vital! Your nutritional status makes a big impact on the condition of your skin and hair. Skin health is a popular topic on the Grow with Nutrition blog. Now, let’s explore my top three foods for both skin and hair health: eggs, pumpkin seeds and spinach.
Skin and Hair Loving Nutrients
Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, selenium, and zinc are important for the maintenance of skin and hair health. Omega 3 is essential for skin and hair because it protects it from sun damage and its anti-inflammatory properties promote immune health. Skin and hair are both made up of protein, and therefore, we need to eat enough protein for maintenance and cell growth. Vitamin A is important for sebum creation (provides lubrication) on the scalp and skin. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production which helps keep skin firm. Plus it’s an important antioxidant in the body which protects the skin and hair from being oxidized by the environment and carcinogens. Selenium and zinc play an important role in protecting skin and hair from being oxidized by the sun, free radicals and other environmental conditions.
Eggs are a very good source of protein, and are known to be a complete protein containing all essential amino acids. When skin turnover occurs, proteins are required to produce new skin cells. Similarly, when hair grows protein is required. Eggs are also a very good source of selenium, and selenium is required to create selenoproteins in the skin, an antioxidant that promotes immune health (1).
Zinc is an essential skin and hair loving nutrient found in pumpkin seeds. One of the seeds featured in my ebook The Need for Seeds, available on Amazon, pumpkin seeds are not only full of zinc but are a source of plant-based protein! Research confirms zinc plays a vital role in protecting the skin and hair from UV damage (2). Pumpkin seeds also contain omega 3 fatty acids that promote immune health. This means that pumpkin seeds along with a healthy diet may reduce the occurrence of inflammatory conditions of the skin such as acne (3).
Spinach is a skin and hair friendly food because it contains both vitamin A and vitamin C. The vitamin A in spinach is important for sebum production which keeps skin looking healthy and hair looking shiny. The vitamin C in spinach is a cofactor for collagen synthesis. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant for the skin and hair, preventing them from being damaged by UV rays and premature aging (4).
Jane’s Meal Planning Idea
To keep your skin glowing and your hair shining add a chopped hard-boiled egg and toasted pumpkin seeds to your next spinach salad. Serve it with salmon, sliced avocado and strawberries, three more skin and hair loving foods! And stay hydrated with water and fruit throughout the day.
- Sengupta A, Lichti UF, Carlson BA, Ryscavage AO, Gladyshev VN, Hatfield DL. Selenoproteins are essential for proper keratinocyte function and skin development. PloS One. 2010;5(8):1-14.
- Rostan EF, Debuys HV, Madey DL, Pinnell SR. Evidence supporting zinc as an important antioxidant for skin. International Journal of Dermitology. 2002;Oct 3;41(9): 606-611.
- Logan AC. Omega-3 fatty acids and acne. Arch Dermatol. 2003;Jul;139(7):941-2.
- Telang PS. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol . 2013;Apr;4(2):143-6.
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