Did you know your skin is your largest organ? Not many people realize that or how very important it is. This organ is often overlooked, and many people aren’t taking good care of their skin. Taking good care of your skin includes healthy nutrition. Therefore, it’s so important to feed your skin. Don’t take advantage of it!
The average adult is carrying around enough skin to weigh as much as a gallon of milk. That’s eight pounds of skin! It’s just spread out covering 22 square feet. Your skin includes 3 layers that do a lot of work for your body. These layers are known as the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis. You might remember some of this from human biology, but many people have forgotten all the jobs the skin does. That’s probably why it’s the organ most likely to be taken advantage of.
What Does Your Skin Do?
Its important job is holding all of your internal parts and pieces together while keeping you from evaporating away, but that’s not all! There are numerous roles the skin plays in the body.
- Protects you from environmental toxins as best it can. We throw a lot at it!
- It’s the first line of defense against pathogens and bacteria.
- Your skin is a detox pathway helping your body get rid of waste products and toxins.
- When exposed to the sun it manufactures vitamin D which is important for healthy bones and immunity
- The skin regulates your body temperature.
- It plays a role in the nervous system as a sensory organ that tells the brain what’s going on in the environment for example pain, temperature, and touch.
- The skin’s appearance can alert you to illness and inflammation that is happening on the inside.
It’s Important to Feed Your Skin
With all of the important roles it plays in the body, its important to feed your skin! You want to make sure it’s in good shape to keep up with all the demands, keep you moving easily, and looking good. Does my skin look like 45-year-old skin? No, because I feed it! Here are some key nutrients to feed your skin to keep it healthy.
Eat foods rich in antioxidants as they can do a lot to protect your skin from free radicals that damage your skin. Antioxidants help keep your skin healthy, which means fewer wrinkles and less inflammation. You can find antioxidants in berries, beans, and green tea. Our favorite place to find antioxidants and other great benefits is in real, dark chocolate.
This is a great antioxidant and it helps promote skin tissue production. Vitamin A is found in animal products like beef liver or cod liver oil. It can be hard to get and absorb the recommended daily vitamin A. You can get precursors that the body converts into vitamin A from eating a variety of vegetables like sweet potatoes, red peppers, broccoli and kale (my favorite vegetable). We’ll talk more about absorption a little later in this article.
Collagen is a must for keeping your skin healthy and looking young. It gives your skin elasticity and your production of it starts to slow as you reach your 30’s. It slows even more once you reach your 40’s. My favorite way to make sure I’m getting all the amino acids my body needs is to eat collagen in the form of bone broth. Bone broth has so many benefits from bone density to a healthy gut.
Your body needs vitamin C to build collagen and it’s a great antioxidant. It’s easy to eat lots of healthy fruits to make sure you’re getting enough of this vitamin. Avocados are also loaded with vitamin C and bonus – are full of healthy fats! Just make sure you are eating whole fruits and more vegetables than fruits. Kale and broccoli are loaded with vitamin C too!
Omega-3 fatty acids
These promote healthy cells and reduce inflammation. Great sources of omega-3 fatty acids are walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, wild salmon, and other fatty fishes. Don’t worry these fats won’t make you fat and will make your skin look great.
Water and Salt
Dehydrated skin will look dull and you will notice your wrinkles more. Keep your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating salt. Your cells can’t stay hydrated without salt. Make sure it’s not your average table salt. You need to get a good sea salt.
Make Sure Those Nutrients Get to Your Skin
Just because you’re eating a variety of foods and taking a lot of supplements does not mean your body is absorbing all of the nutrients it needs. There are two main things that can keep you from absorbing those important nutrients that feed your skin – inflammation and lack of bile.
Inflammation can lead to leaky gut and poor nutrient absorption. Inflammation in the stomach can be caused by a variety of things including toxins, pesticides, sugar, and processed foods. Another common cause of inflammation that many people aren’t aware of is food allergies. 95% of people are eating a food they are allergic to and don’t even realize it. This leads to hidden inflammation and poor nutrition.
Fat-soluble vitamins need bile to be broken down so they can be absorbed. The gall bladder is a very important sensory organ and will release bile when it senses fats or stomach acid. There can be a variety of reasons it might not be releasing bile. The most common one is that you don’t have one. There has been a significant rise in gallbladder surgeries. Other reasons include liver problems or low stomach acid. You need to make sure your whole digestive system is working together for proper nutrition. We always say, “The body is like a Swiss watch. All the gears work together.”
Feed Your Skin
In conclusion, your skin has a lot of important work to do and it can do the best job if it has the proper nutrients. You will feel better on the inside and look better on the outside. For tips on how to keep your skin soft check out our article on naturally soft skin and the video below for my favorite oils that keep my skin silky soft!
Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn