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[5 min read] 8 foods to help improve your patients’ skin
An unhealthy diet can damage the metabolism, cause weight gain and lead to chronic health conditions including diabetes and heart disease. Diet also impacts the skin, contributing to conditions such as acne, ageing and many other concerns that can affect patients’ self-esteem and quality of life.
Skin-related presentations make up a significant proportion of general practice consults, so it is important that primary care doctors can provide immediate and effective management of most major skin concerns. An important component of optimising patients’ skin health includes looking at their diet and ensuring they get enough essential nutrients to protect their skin.
These eight foods may help keep skin healthy, strong, and attractive.
1. Fatty fish
The omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish such as salmon are important for keeping skin moisturised and reducing redness and acne. Omega-3 fats can make the skin less sensitive to the sun’s UV radiation and are a good source of protein, zinc and antioxidant vitamin E. Fish oil supplements may also fight autoimmune conditions that affect the skin such as psoriasis and lupus, and a deficiency can cause dryness.
The fats in avocados help keep skin flexible and moisturised, protect against UV damage, and are rich in vitamins C and E, which are important for skin health.
3. Walnuts and sunflower seeds
Seeds and nuts – particularly sunflower seeds and walnuts – are high in vitamin E, omega-3 acids and zinc, which is essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier as it protects against bacteria and inflammation.
4. Sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes and bell peppers
Sweet potatoes and red or yellow bell peppers are an excellent source of the carotenoid beta-carotene, which acts like a natural sunblock for the skin to protect against sunburn, cell damage, skin cancer, dryness and wrinkles. Broccoli and tomatoes also contain a different form of carotenoid called lutein. In addition, bell peppers also contain vitamin C, which is important for generating the collagen that keeps skin firm.
Soy may help to reduce wrinkles and improve skin elasticity and dryness, while also increasing the collagen.
6. Dark chocolate
Cocoa is rich in antioxidants which help to increase blood flow and hydrate the skin. It also helps protect against sun damage.
7. Green tea
The catechins and antioxidants found in green tea may protect skin from the onset of visible signs of ageing.
8. Red grapes
Red grapes contain resveratrol which can help reduce the effects of ageing by slowing the production of harmful free radicals.
Want to learn more about managing your patients’ nutrition concerns in general practice?