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(Better Nutrition Magazine)

Beauty Boost, by Brandy Colbert

ADD THESE FIVE ESSENTIAL VITAMINS AND MINERALS TO YOUR DAILY REGIME FOR HEALTHY, GLOWING SKIN

Check the label of just about any natural beauty product, and you’ll see most formulas contain vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. It’s not just a marketing ploy; these nutrients play a big role in the health of our skin. “Virtually all of the skin’s beauty functions depend on nourishment from the nutrients you consume,†says Kat James, author of The Truth About Beauty. We talked to experts about the benefits of the most common vitamins and minerals in skin care products, then went on a quest for the best options to keep your face healthy and glowing. Here’s what we found:

Vitamin A

. lessens the visible effects of sun damage and rosacea, a chronic skin condition that enlarges blood vessels and makes the face red and blotchy.

. treats acne by reducing the body’s production of sebum.

Vitamin A is vital to healthy cell reproduction and regulates how fast skin cells grow and shed from the skin’s surface. “It’s also a strong exfoliant that gives skin a smoother appearance and texture,†adds Manjula Jegasothy, MD, medical director of the Miami Skin Institute.

Vitamin B

. stimulates would healing

. prevents acne breakouts

"Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, acts as a penetrating moisturizer to firm and strengthen skin, increase moisture retention, and allow dry skin to stay supple longer," says Ann McDonnell, founder and president of vegan skin care line EcoGenics.

Vitamin C

. helps heal wounds

. decreases wrinkles caused by the sun’s UV rays

Vitamin C is known for helping to stimulate production of collagen, a protein substance in the second layer of the skin responsible for helping it stay firm and youthful looking. It also neutralizes free radicals stimulated by the sun, which can cause skin damage.

Essential Fatty Acids

. fight off dry-skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis

. improve overall complexion via internal hydration

Essential fatty acids are “good†fats (not formed in the body) that develop a protective barrier within the skin. They convert into prostaglandin hormones, which determine the moistness of skin. “Essential fatty acids are vital in helping the skin combat inflammatory skin conditions and retain its youthful appearance,†says James.

Zinc

. helps prevent scarring

. acts as a natural sunscreen

. lessens the effects of acne

Zinc works with vitamin A to maintain healthy skin. “It scavenges free radicals that lead to wrinkles and precancerous cells,†says James. “And studies have shown it has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.â€

STOCK UP ON THE FOOD SOURCES OF THESE SKIN-FRIENDLY NUTRIENTS.

vitamin a

excellent: carrots, kale, cantaloupe, red bell peppers

very good: green beans, cucumbers (with peel), watermelon, Brussels sprouts

vitamin b5

excellent: corn, cauliflower, tomatoes, brewer's yeast

very good: whole-grain bread, sweet potatoes, peanuts, wheat germ

vitamin c

excellent: broccoli, oranges, strawberries, papaya

very good: winter squash, blueberries, plums

essential fatty acids

omega-3

excellent: cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseeds

very good: cauliflower, cabbage

omega-6

excellent: walnuts, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts

very good: almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds

zinc

very good: spinach, cremini mushrooms

good: asparagus, collard greens, broccoli, maple syrup

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Ah yes, a fantastic reminder to eat healthy! I have a habit of slacking off after a while, but thanks for the memo.

I just ran to the fridge and grabbed some carrots!

edit; maple syrup has quite a bit of zinc in it, who would have thought.

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