Cause of bad skin may be low-vitamin diet, doctors warn

 28 Mar 2016 - 12:12

Cause of bad skin may be low-vitamin diet, doctors warn
Vitamin A is essential to skin, and can be obtained from carrots and other vegetables. (File photo/ Monique Wuestenhagen / dpa)


Doctors say too much of your favourite food could be to blame for bad skin. For healthy skin, people need a balanced diet.

By Sabine Meuter

Wiesbaden, Germany: Suffer from bad skin? Doctors say too much of your favourite food could be to blame. For healthy skin, people need a balanced diet, even if it occasionally means eating something you like less.

A varied and balanced diet provides important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, as well as proteins and fats that work to keep your skin glowing.

"People who do not have a balanced diet run the risk of having skin problems," says Christiane Bayerl, director of the Dermatology and Allergy department at the HELIOS clinic in Germany.

The skin is the body's largest organ, and its health also depends on how much sleep you get, your genes, sunlight and other factors.

Every day it is exposed to harmful substances. These exposures result in free radicals, unstable atoms capable of causing cell damage, entering the body. Most of the time the body intercepts free radicals, but if there are too many they can effect skin health.

"To prevent damage from free radicals, your diet should be rich in antioxidants," professor Bayerl explained.

Antioxidants are natural compounds, like vitamins C and E, that prevent free radicals from harming the body's cells. Beta-carotene and minerals selenium and zinc are also antioxidants.

Nutritionist Gabriele Graf also emphasized the importance of vitamins and minerals for a healthy complexion.

"Vitamin A is needed for the renewal of skin cells and can be found in milk, carrots or fish," she said.

Vitamin C plays a role in regulating skin moisture, and vitamins E and B also play a role in skin renewal. These vitamins are found in grains, vegetables and in milk products.

For smoother skin texture, the body needs calcium, zinc and magnesium. Vegetables and grains are rich in these minerals and are found to a lesser extent in meat and dairy products.

Another way to ensure a youthful glow is proper hydration, experts said. Simply staying hydrated, ideally with water, can lead to a more beautiful complexion.

"Water is important for the turgor, or elasticity, of the skin," Bayerl explained. Most nutritionists recommend that adults drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres per day.

In addition to a diet full of vitamins, minerals and plenty of water, the skin needs proteins and fats.

"Proteins and amino acids, the building blocks of protein, support skin strength," Graf said. Legumes such as lentils and beans, fish, nuts, lean meats and dairy products are all excellent sources of protein.

Oils with unsaturated fatty acids like those found in vegetable oils or in fish are also critical for skin health. The skin needs these fats to make use of vitamins that are fat soluble, meaning they need to be dissolved in fats before they can be used.

Walnut and rapeseed oil, and herring, mackerel or salmon are excellent sources of healthy fats, which help support skin cell structure.

By ditching unhealthy foods like burgers, potato chips and French fries and replacing those meals with a varied and balanced diet, you are one step closer to flawless skin, Bayerl said.

Balance is critical; There is no need to feel guilty when indulging in your favourite junk food.

Every now and then it is okay to eat unhealthy, Bayerl said.