2020 SPECIALTY SUPPLEMENT OF THE YEAR

Eating for healthy skin from A to Zinc

Eating for healthy skin from A to Zinc

January 11, 2020

Eating for healthy skin from A to Zinc

 

SKIN ON THE OUTSIDE, SKIN ON THE INSIDE

 

Skin health starts from the inside out. When it comes to skin health, proper nutrition is key. “Beauty is skin deep” is not just an expression, but a window into the body and what could be happening deep inside. When something goes wrong with our skin, it can be a symptom of something more complex. Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis have a strong genetic and environmental component, but some data suggests that improvements can be made through dietary interventions. (Madden) Oxidative stress of the skin can also elicit itching and scratching when too many free radicals are present. (Ji and Li). The health of our gut and the health of our skin in relation to what we eat are both closely intertwined, and what we choose to nourish our body with can affect this skin-gut connection.

 

THE DO’S AND DON’TS

 

Contrary to media claims, there is no true “superfood” that will magically give one beautiful clear skin -- our body is an orchestra, comprised of many different parts that work in symphony. We aren’t necessarily what we eat ...we are what we digest and absorb, and we all metabolize nutrients differently. There are no true “bad foods” either; gluten and dairy although common triggers for some individuals, has shown mixed signs of improvement in food elimination for only sensitive individuals. (Cunningham) If gluten or dairy are suspected issues, a registered dietitian should coordinate care with a physician to reach a proper diagnosis before unnecessary elimination is warranted to prevent complications.

 

The best approach to supporting both skin and gut health is to eat foods that are in their whole food form and avoid processed foods that can lead to inflammation. When it comes to skin conditions, keep in mind that your unique food triggers may also include “healthy” foods (ex. fermented foods that are great for gut health may trigger itching for histamine intolerant individuals). That’s why it’s important to look for foods that contain key skin building micronutrients that help fight oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, promote skin wound healing, foster gut health, and support the immune system with the adequate recommended dietary allowance (RDA) instead. Also consider foods that are a “high source” in daily nutritional value. What’s considered a “high source” of daily nutritional value? Anything that is listed as 20% or more per serving on the back of a nutrition label.

 

For your convenience the following list contains foods that are 20% or more in daily value (DV) and accounts for the top allergens with exclusion of common histamine and lactose containing foods for sensitive individuals. 

 

THE KEY PLAYERS

 

Vitamin A - promotes cell turnover and supports the immune system. Protects the body from infections by keeping the skin and tissues in the digestive and respiratory tract healthy.

RDA: 700 - 900 mcg

 

 

 

 

Food

Micrograms

(mcg) per

serving

IU per

serving

Percent

DV*

Sweet potato, baked in skin, 1 whole

1,403

28,058

561

Carrots, raw, ½ cup

459

9,189

184

Pumpkin pie, commercially prepared, 1 piece

488

3,743

249

Cantaloupe, raw, ½ cup

135

2,706

54

Peppers, sweet, red, raw, ½ cup

117

2,332

47

Mangos, raw, 1 whole

112

2,240

45

Broccoli, boiled, ½ cup

60

1,208

24

 

Vitamin B2: important coenzyme required in vitamin B6 conversion, also synthesized by gut bacteria.

RDA: 1.1- 1.3 mg

 

Food

Milligrams

(mg) per

serving

Percent

DV*

Gluten-Free Breakfast cereals, fortified with 100% of the DV for riboflavin, 1 serving

1.7

100

Oats, instant, fortified, cooked with water, 1 cup

1.1

65

Beef, tenderloin steak, boneless, trimmed of fat, grilled, 3 ounces

0.4

24

 

Vitamin B6: Involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions, mostly concerned with protein metabolism, reducing inflammation, and an integral part of immune function. Also synthesized by gut bacteria.

RDA: 1.3-1.7 mg

 

 

Food

Milligrams (mg) per serving

Percent DV*

Chickpeas, canned, 1 cup

1.1

55

Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 3 ounces

0.6

30

Chicken breast, cooked, 3 ounces

0.5

25

Gluten-Free Breakfast cereals, fortified with 25% of the DV for vitamin B6

0.5

25

Potatoes, boiled, 1 cup

0.4

20

Turkey, cooked, 3 ounces

0.4

20

 

Vitamin C - involved in protein metabolism and required for the synthesis of collagen, which is an essential component of connective tissue and wound healing. Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate another antioxidant vitamin E.

RDA: 75 mg - 90 mg

 

 

Food

Milligrams (mg) per serving

Percent (%) DV*

Red pepper, sweet, raw, ½ cup

95

158

Green pepper, sweet, raw, ½ cup

60

100

Broccoli, cooked, ½ cup

51

85

Strawberries, fresh, sliced, ½ cup

49

82

Brussels sprouts, cooked, ½ cup

48

80

Cantaloupe, ½ cup

29

48

Cabbage, cooked, ½ cup

28

47

Cauliflower, raw, ½ cup

26

43

Potato, baked, 1 medium

17

28

 

Vitamin D - Helps close tight junctions of “leaky gut” and regulate immune function.(Kong, Sun) Current guidelines recommend an average of 600 IU, but now experts say that may be too low even for healthy individuals. Deficiency is often higher in autoimmune conditions, and a higher dosage for overall colon health is advised.

RDA: 2000 IU

 

Food

IUs per serving*

Percent DV**

Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon

1,360

340

Swordfish, cooked, 3 ounces

566

142

Salmon (sockeye), cooked, 3 ounces

447

112

Milk, dairy and plant-based vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup

115-124

29-31

 

Vitamin E - an important antioxidant that protects against free radicals involved in immune function.

RDA: 15 mg

 

Food

Milligrams (mg)

per serving

Percent DV*

Sunflower seeds, dry roasted, 1 ounce

7.4

37

Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce

6.8

34

Sunflower oil, 1 tablespoon

5.6

28

Safflower oil, 1 tablespoon

4.6

25

 

 

Selenium - powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system.

RDA: 55 mg

 

 

Food

Micrograms

(mcg) per

serving

Percent

DV*

Halibut, cooked, dry heat, 3 ounces

47

67

Ham, cooked, 3 ounces

42

60

Beef steak, bottom round, 3 ounces

33

47

Turkey, boneless, 3 ounces

31

44

Chicken, cooked, 3 ounces

22

31

Rice, brown, long-grain, cooked, 1 cup

19

27

Beef, ground, 25% fat, broiled, 3 ounces

18

26

 

Zinc: helps the immune system work properly, protect against oxidative stress  and helps with skin wound healing.

RDI: 8 mg - 11 mg

 

Food

Milligrams (mg)

per serving

Percent DV*

Beef chuck roast, braised, 3 ounces

7.0

47

Beef patty, broiled, 3 ounces

5.3

35

Breakfast cereal, fortified with 25% of the DV for zinc, ¾ cup serving

3.8

25

Pork chop, loin, cooked, 3 ounces

2.9

19

Baked beans, canned, plain or vegetarian, ½ cup

2.9

19

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (DHA and EPA) - known for its anti-inflammatory effects. The DHA and EPA forms of omega fatty acids are found mainly from marine sources and are superior to ALA forms that are found in plant fatty acids due to bioavailability. Fish actually synthesize omegas from eating microalgae and the omega-3s accumulate in their tissue. So for anyone with a fish or seafood allergy, vegan algal oil supplements are a great alternative as it has as much omega-3 as a cooked salmon.

RDA: 1.1 - 1.6 g total omega or 250 mg DHA and EPA combined

 

 

 

 

 

Food

Grams per serving

 

ALA

DHA

EPA

Flaxseed oil, 1 tbsp

7.26

 

 

Chia seeds, 1 ounce

5.06

 

 

Flaxseed, whole, 1 tbsp

2.35

 

 

Salmon, Atlantic, farmed cooked, 3 ounces

 

1.24

0.59

Herring, Atlantic, cooked, 3 ounces*

 

0.94

0.77

Canola oil, 1 tbsp

1.28

 

 

Salmon, pink, canned, drained, 3 ounces*

0.04

0.63

0.28

Trout, rainbow, wild, cooked, 3 ounces

 

0.44

0.40

Sea bass, cooked, 3 ounces*

 

0.47

0.18

 

OTHER NUTRIENTS TO CONSIDER

 

Protein - whether protein comes from plant or animal sources, it makes no difference as long as proper intake is met to maintain skin integrity and wound healing.

RDI: 1.2-1.5 g/ kg body weight or .5 g /lb body weight

 

Probiotic and Prebiotic rich foods

Lastly, when your gut is imbalanced, your skin can pay the consequences. Including probiotic and prebiotic-containing foods everyday day can help bring that balance back in.

Common probiotic-containing foods are fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, or kombucha. Prebiotic-containing foods include asparagus, bananas, onions, artichokes, and garlic.

Keep in mind, some individuals with itchy skin conditions may have an unknown histamine intolerance where fermented foods and certain fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meats high in histamine may not be recommended. There is no proper way to diagnose a histamine intolerance and many times it is dose-dependent.(Chung) If you feel like you are eating a balanced diet, controlling for your environmental triggers and still feel itchy, consider eliminating fermented foods which also include vinegars and alcohol from the diet for a short time to see if that helps. In the meantime continue to eat other low-histamine fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and grains that add up to 25 - 40 g fiber a day to help your good gut bacteria flourish.  For your convenience the above food lists provided excludes common histamine containing foods.

 

 

References:

  1. (Ji and Li) Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity Volume 2016
  2. (Madden) “How lifestyle factors and their associated pathogenetic mechanisms impact psoriasis”
  3. (Cunningham)
  4. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
  5. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Riboflavin-HealthProfessional/
  6. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/
  7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
  8. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17296473
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16825677
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31612340
  12. Kong. Novel role of the vitamin D receptor in maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosal barrier.
  13. Sun J. Vitamin D and mucosal immune function. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2010;26(6):591–595. doi:10.1097/MOG.0b013e32833d4b9f
  14. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
  15. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/
  16. Chung BY, Cho SI, Ahn IS, et al. Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis with a Low-histamine Diet. Ann Dermatol. 2011;23 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S91–S95. doi:10.5021/ad.2011.23.S1.S91


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