Snack your way to better skin: 6 nutrients that will improve your complexion

It’s 2016 and we all know what we should be eating: leafy greens, healthy fats, antioxidants (the list goes on). Making healthier choices can be difficult, and sometimes we need that extra bit of motivation, especially when it comes down to deciding between a side of fries or a salad. However, if we were told that one contributes to our ever-deepening wrinkles, and the other helps decrease the look of them, trust us, we’d always go the green route.

We spoke with Toronto-based holistic nutritionist, Tara Miller, about the best skin-enhancing vitamins and minerals, and which foods to find them in. First off, in order to acquire the benefits of a healthy diet the digestive system needs to be functioning properly. “If your gut is out of balance, you will not be able to maximize the benefits [from] important nutrients,” says Miller. So cutting down on processed foods and sugar, as well as staying hydrated is essential in absorption. Good to know before you stuff your face with a handful of kale (massaged, we hope). Here are six of the best nutrients for your skin and what you should be eating to get them into your system.

Other than playing a vital role in transporting oxygen throughout the body, iron can help improve skin’s appearance. A deficiency can cause the skin to appear pale, muting our natural glow, which is the last thing we want. Surprisingly, oysters are one of the highest sources of iron, so put down those steak knives and get slurping. Any reason to indulge in a delicacy traditionally paired with champagne is always a plus.

Best sources: Mollusks (oysters, mussels, clams), nuts, beets, squash, leafy greens

Vitamin K
Everyone preaches the health benefits of Vitamin C, but what about Vitamin K? According to Miller, this nutrient “plays a key role in protecting skin elasticity.” However, it needs to be consumed daily, as a deficiency can develop in as quickly as 7-days. So in addition to that expensive eye cream you apply nightly, ensure you are getting your daily dose orally.

Best sources: Dandelion greens, parsley, cilantro, kale, asparagus

Calcium is vital not only for strong bones, but for cell production, too. Essentially, it aids in the process of shedding old skin cells and generating new ones. It also helps skin retain moisture (the holy grail of #skingoals). A lack of calcium results in skin appearing fragile, thin and dry—words we never want associated with our skin.

Best sources: Kefir, beets, lime peel, pomegranates, Chinese cabbage, watercress

This under-the-radar mineral is actually one of the most important nutrients for your skin’s health as it contributes to the “production of collagen” explains Miller. As we age, the amount of collagen our bodies produce decreases, which causes skin to sag and creates the formation of lines and wrinkles. Manganese can actually reduce, or even prevent, damage caused by free radicals making this one of the best anti-aging weapons.

Best sources: Mussels, nuts, pumpkin seeds, dandelion greens

According to Miller, this widely unknown ingredient is what helps the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the skin, which in turn gives us a naturally radiant glow. It aids in reducing redness, rashes and uneven skin tone, and also stabilizes collagen, which results in a firmer and more youthful appearance.

Best sources: Berries, black rice, eggplant, bananas, pomegranates

This super mineral has a multitude of benefits. Miller loves it because it “accelerates the body’s repair system and can even reverse previous damage.” Selenium also fights against free radicals that contribute to aging, skin cancer and inflammation, as well reduces the appearance of acne.

Best sources: Brazilian nuts, tuna, sunflower seeds, Crimini mushrooms

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