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Nutrition for Clear Skin

Kitava, is an island in Papua New Guinea that has caught the attention of researchers and longevity experts. Most of the residents of this island have flawless skin, and there are very few to no incidences of acne in their residents. Confirming the saying that “we are what we we eat,” the Kitavan diet is key to keeping all of the islanders blemish-free. Kitavans eat fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and prebiotic foods, which are foods that feed good bacteria in your gut. They consume no alcohol, no coffee, dairy, or refined grains. So why does this diet work to promote clear skin?  Because it’s high in:

Vitamin A

which is a fat soluble vitamin and antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body and reduces inflammation. Some great vitamin A rich foods you can include in your diet are: carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, butternut squash, spinach, broccoli, and egg yolks.

 

Vitamin C

which is essential for tissue repair and collagen production. Some great food sources of vitamin C include: papaya, camu camu, citrus fruits, strawberries, cherries, kiwi, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and dark leafy greens.

 

Omega-3 fatty acids

are great for hair, skin, and brain health. If you are consuming a plant-based diet, whether vegan or vegetarian you get a good algae based supplement that is high in DHA and EPA in place of oils. There are great plant sources of omega-3’s such as walnuts, chia, hemp, flaxseed, and egg yolks. However plant-based sources which are ALA based (alpha-linoleic acid) require and additional conversion to make DHA and EPA by the body. Good news is there is some research that suggests that in those who opt to be plant-based, conversion of ALA increases to compensate. Generally the best non-plant option for omega-3 fatty acids is fish.

 

Zinc

deficiency is very common among adults. Zinc is essential for tissue repair, healthy skin, hair, and nails.  If you see white spots on your nails, or your nails chip or break easily you might have a zinc deficiency. You can find zinc in: seafood, chicken, beef, pork, oatmeal, cheese, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, garlic, sesame seeds, chickpeas, wheat germ, quinoa, and cashews.

 

Foods that Support Gut Health

Prebiotics feed your good bacteria, and probiotics replenish. You can increase your intake of good bacteria by incorporating more fermented foods into your diet. Some prebiotic foods that you can consider adding into your diet regularly include: leeks, dandelion greens, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, tomatoes, soybeans, oats, asparagus, onions, and unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

 

Reference:

Dietary intake and status of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in a population of fish-eating and non-fish-eating meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans and the precursor-product ratio of a-linolenic acid to long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: Results from the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010) 92, (1040-51))

 

 
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