Paula Mee, Paula Mee Nutrition & Dietitian Consulting, Nutrition Dietician, Nutrition Dietitian, Nutrition Advice, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Diet Advice, Professional Nutritional Advice
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Foods for Healthy Skin, Hair & Nails
      
Is it amazing how much time (and money) we spend focusing on nourishing our skin and hair from the outside in? If you think about it, the best approach to keeping your skin in great shape is two pronged – it must focus on feeding the skin from the ‘outside in’ and the ‘inside out’!

Protein is a basic foundation nutrient for healthy strong skin, hair and nails. And whilst most of us eat enough protein, it’s worth noting that there are some protein foods that are really good for the skin. Namely fish.
      
Children's Food & Nutrition
Not only is it rich in protein, it’s also a great source of other skin nutrients too. Oily fish such as fresh tuna, salmon, trout, herring and mackerel contains omega-3 fats which help keep skin soft and supple. They also contain large amounts of vitamin A. Well known as an essential skin vitamin, vitamin A helps the skin to hold onto moisture and stay supple. Fish are rich in another powerful antioxidant – selenium. Along with vitamin E, selenium helps your skin to neutralize toxins that cause long-term damage.
      
And whilst you may hate the thought of preparing it – many Supermarket formats save you from handling the unwanted bits -heads, fins, tails and scales! Failing that, make sure it’s what you choose from the menu on a night out.
      
A well-hydrated skin is somewhat less prone to developing wrinkles. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps you stay well hydrated and reduces skin dryness. So to counter balance any excesses the night before and stuffy over heated offices drink plenty of water each day.
      
Skin Foods
      
Vitamin C , antioxidant vitaminRed peppers, strawberries, papaya, kiwi, oranges, blackcurrants, curly kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli.
Vitamin A , antioxidant vitaminOily fish, liver, carrots, sweet potato, red peppers, spinach, butternut squash, watercress, apricots and mangoes.
Vitamin E , antioxidant vitaminRapeseed oil, olive oil, hazelnuts, almonds, other nuts, seeds and tomatoes.
Ferulic acidCorn on the cob, strawberries, raspberries, grapefruit, apples, avocados, plums, blackberries and wholegrain foods.
Essential fatty acidsAnchovies, cod liver oil, egg yolk, flaxseed oil, hazelnuts, mackerel, oysters, prawns, salmon, sardines
Selenium, antioxidant trace mineralBrazil nuts, lobster, tuna, lemon sole, squid, scallops, sardines, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, mixed nuts & raisins, and walnuts.
Betacarotene (orange),
lycopene (red) and
lutein (yellow), all
antioxidant pigments
Carrots, fresh apricots, tomatoes, pink grapefruit and spinach
      
Antioxidants help protect cells from damage by free radicals which are especially rampant in the skin due to exposure to ultraviolet light.
      
Vitamin E helps the body to regenerate vitamin C, they are a crucial anti-ageing double act.
      
Ferulic acid counteracts the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. It protects the collagen and elastin in the skin cell, which are responsible for elasticity and bounce.
      
Essential fatty acids, such as omega 3 fats help to keep the walls of the skin cells watertight and the skin well hydrated. Dry flaky skin often signals a need to increase your intake.
      
Selenium is another trace mineral. It’s critical for making glutathione, an enzyme that helps to mop up the free radicals we inhale from air pollution and cigarette smoke. These can rampage through the body and damage collagen and elastin in the skin, if left to their own devices.
      
Antioxidant pigments offer mild protection by deflecting UV rays, as they collect in the skin.
      
Hair Care
      
Vitamin A helps to produce oil to lubricate the hair and scalp, keeping it healthy and shiny. A deficiency results in very poor hair quality, but an excess in supplement form has damaging effects too. Stick to plenty of Vitamin A rich foods instead. Insufficient zinc can result in hair loss, increased fragility and colour loss.
Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid which is found in many skin and hair products, stimulates cell growth and repair and helps prevent skin irritation.
Biotin is critical for hair strength, growth rate and reduces hair loss.
      
NutrientsFoodsImportant for
BiotinLiver, yeast extract, nuts, brown rice, eggs, dairy produce.Hair & nails
Vitamin B5Liver, yeast extract, kidney, nuts, brown rice, eggs, pulses.Hair & nails
Vitamin AOily fish, liver, carrots, sweet potato, red peppers, spinach,
butternut squash, watercress, apricots, mangoes
Hair
ZincSeafood (especially oysters, crab and shellfish),
lean red meat, chicken, liver, eggs and nuts.
Hair & nails
SeleniumBrazil nuts, lobster, tuna, lemon sole, squid, scallops, sardines,
sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, mixed nuts & raisins, and walnuts.
Hair
      
Nail Care
      
An inadequate intake of iron results in misshapen and brittle fingernails. Biotin supplementation has been shown to produce firmer, harder nails with less splitting and a 25% increase in nail thickness.
      
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Keep in mind that research on these matters is on-going and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.
        
        
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