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Food for Your Skin

By: Elaine Linker
Posted: June 6, 2008, from the February 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Essential fatty acids are crucial to health but cannot be made in the body. When taken orally, they enhance the well-being of skin cells and act as a barrier against environmental allergens and irritants, often improving hydration and skin texture. Fish and flaxseed oils are good sources of essential fatty acids. For example, flaxseed can be purchased from organic sources, is inexpensive, and is rich in fiber and lignans.

Demystifying ORAC

The rating of oxygen radical absorbance capacity is known as ORAC. UV light and environmental pollutants generate free radicals in the skin and body. Free radicals are a natural result of the body’s metabolic process; however, they also are known to damage healthy DNA cells. Antioxidants neutralize and protect cells from these free radicals and help to repair cellular damage. Unfortunately, there are many antioxidants from which to choose, and each acts in a different way to protect the cells. Marketers mislead when they suggest that a single antioxidant is the most powerful. Nutritionists believe that there are antioxidants in natural food sources that have yet to be discovered, and that eating a variety of these foods is the best way to ensure good health. In addition, studies have supported the concept that fruits, vegetables and green tea all have anti-inflammatory benefits when eaten as part of a well-balanced diet.

The acne issue

Many dermatologists feel there is no real relationship between acne development and an individual’s pattern of food consumption. The connection is associated with the fact that those who eat a lot of junk food simply do not get enough of the good nutrients that are needed to support healthy skin function.

One nutrient that is thought to help to improve acne is zinc. “I see many vegetarians in my practice with blemishes,” said Sobel. “While they have diets rich in fruits and vegetables, many do not get enough absorbed zinc through vegetarian sources.”

Adding 25 milligrams of zinc to a topical acne solution often will accelerate the healing process. Since the best and most absorbable source of zinc is found in meat, supplementation often is needed.

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