Skin is one of the largest “organs” of man. Its surface in an adult person is on average from 1.5 to 2 m2. The skin has many important functions, and its appearance determines the attractiveness.
The skin prevents infections with bacteria, fungi and viruses. Protects against mechanical, thermal, chemical and light radiation. It provides unchangeable conditions for the internal environment of the organism. He is also responsible for the feeling of warmth, pain and touch. He also participates in the storage and transformation of matter and in … expressing emotional states. Healthy skin is not only good health, but also or above all, it is responsible for attractive appearance.
There are many nutrients that affect the condition and appearance of the skin. Among them, it is mentioned
- Vitamins – especially antioxidants – C, A, E and others B1, B2, B6, PP, biotin
- Essential unsaturated fatty acids, or EFAs – linoleic acid, α-linolenic acid
- Mineral components selenium, iron, copper, zinc, calcium, iodine, sulfur
- Coenzyme Q
- Sulfuric amino acids – methionine, cystine, cysteine
- The right amount of fluids.
Incorrect way of nutrition can cause, among others excessive dryness of the skin, flaking of the epidermis, inflammation of the corners of the mouth, nail fragility, hair problems and excessive keratosis of the hair follicles. A poorly balanced diet can also cause too rapid aging of the skin and the entire body. The unhygienic lifestyle, environmental pollution and excessive tanning also contribute to the aging of the skin. In the so-called photo-aging of the skin plays a special role in the overproduction of free radicals, which intensifies, among others low antioxidant diet and UV radiation. Free radicals participate in the oxidation and destruction of collagen. Substances with antioxidant activity (preventing oxidation) protect the skin against their harmful effects.
In addition to the aforementioned vitamins, lycopene also contributes to substances that affect the condition of our skin, which may contribute to the reduction of wrinkles. The best sources of lycopene are tomatoes made of tomato juice, tomato paste and ketchup.
Very interesting were the results of research conducted by American scientists conducted among 4025 women aged 40-70. They assessed not only the intake of various nutrients, but also the rate of the aging process. This was done based on the occurrence of wrinkles, senile dryness of the skin and the disappearance of its elasticity. In women who eat more vitamin C, linoleic acid, and less fat and carbohydrates (especially simple ones, ie sugar), the youngest and most beneficial appearance of the skin has been observed.
Some hormones are also responsible for the aging of the skin, which especially affects women during menopause. Estrogen deficiency causes increasing dryness and flaccidity of the skin, lowering its density, as well as the disappearance of collagen and elastin fibers, which in turn contributes to the formation of wrinkles. Scientific research shows that in the skin of adults, 1% of collagen decreases with each year, and this phenomenon intensifies considerably after menopause. This phenomenon may to some extent be prevented by the phytoestrogens found in food products, soy isoflavonoids, plant sprout kumestans and lignans found in nuts, berries and linseed.
Recently, coenzyme Q10 enjoys great interest. Japanese scientists have proved that taking 60 mg of coenzyme Q10 in the form of a dietary supplement after just 3 months gives a clear, as much as over 30%, the effect of reducing the number and depth of facial wrinkles in women.
The skin is a kind of “barometer” of nutritional deficiencies. The result of vitamin A deficiency may be fragile, slowly growing nails with longitudinal furrow, as well as dry, brittle hair, rough, dry, over-scaly skin and rash. The main food source of this important vitamin is the liver, full-fat milk, butter, cream, cheese, egg yolks and margarines enriched with vitamin A.
Vitamin C deficiency may cause collagen fibers atrophy, premature aging of the skin, may exacerbate bleeding from the gums and nose, as well as reduce the body’s immunity. A good source of this vitamin are citrus fruits, wild rose and berries, black river juice, parsley, cruciferous vegetables, peppers, tomatoes and … potatoes.
Thus a properly composed diet – rich in vegetables, fruits and fish, especially marine, as well as products providing vegetable fats and cereal grains – determines the nice and healthy appearance of the skin, hair and nails, as well as slows down the aging process.