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“True beauty comes from within.”
That’s how the saying goes, and in reality, it rings true in a far more literal sense than it was maybe intended.
You see, beauty is dependent on health.
When you look after your insides, there are direct benefits for your external features like skin, hair, and nails (and it keeps your bones healthy too!) And for healthy insides, you need to feed your body all the nutrients it needs.
Optimal nutrition only becomes more important as you get older too. If you lack key nutrients, you can experience:
Premature aging • Poor skin quality • Lusterless hair (or even alopecia) • Weak, spotted nails • A dysfunctional metabolism • Bone loss
Now, we don’t claim to have the elixir of youth… but what we do have for you is 8 science-backed vitamins and minerals to support your overall health and beauty.
Flavonoids may not be vitamins or minerals, but they’re great for your beauty! Flavonoids is the umbrella term given to a group of thousands of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) present in nearly all plants. In fact, flavonoids, along with carotenoids, are responsible for the color of fruit and vegetables.
Every plant contains a unique combination of flavonoids, which explains why there are so many known benefits. They include the prevention or delay of; cancer, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, aging, cataract, memory loss, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation, and infections.
But most of the documented benefit of flavonoids can be attributed to their potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants counteract oxidative stress.
There are thousands of flavonoids. So that means that there are a lot of sources to get them from too. But the most common are Green tea, Red wine, Apples, Cocoa (chocolate), Soybeans, Berries.
Silicon is the second most abundant element on earth, behind only oxygen. And it’s the third most abundant trace element in your body.
Silicon is a beauty all-rounder. It has beauty-boosting benefits for your skin, hair, and nails! And if that wasn’t already enough, silicon is a bone-health superstar too.
Silicon plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen. Silicon also activates hydroxylation enzymes, which help to form the collagen network. What that means, is that silicon is essential for improving the strength and elasticity of skin, and reducing the appearance of deep wrinkles.
Silicon is the primary component of your nails. Now, as silicon is the third most abundant trace mineral in the human body, it’s rare to be outright deficient. But less than optimal levels can lead to brittle and cracked nails.
If the benefits of silicon weren’t compelling enough, you might be interested to hear the best dietary source is beer! It’s thanks to the barley and hops used in the brewing process. But for those that don’t drink, or are just interested in alternatives, the other top sources of silicon are Mineral water, Raisins, Rice, Bananas, Tofu.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, most commonly known for its effects on blood circulation and clotting.
One study showed that Vitamin K can reduce those dark circles around the eyes in particular. Vitamin K strengthening the capillary walls and reducing the visibility of blood vessels through the thin skin under the eyes, can help dark circles to improve prosperity.
You know that calcium is the cornerstone of healthy bones, but calcium relies on vitamin K2 and vitamin D too. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb the calcium you consume, and vitamin K2 activates two proteins that regulate where the calcium goes in your body.
You can find ‘regular’ vitamin K in leafy greens and vegetables like, Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage, Lettuce, Asparagus
Magnesium is a chemical element needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body! Did you know that the Dead Sea contains 40x more magnesium than any other body of water on earth? (More on that in just a moment).
Magnesium helps to relax smooth muscle cells. And smooth muscle cells line the walls of your arteries and veins. What that means in a beauty sense, is that the flow of blood is less inhibited. So your skin, hair, and nails can receive important nutrients more easily.
Magnesium deficiency is also strongly related to chronic inflammation. And we’ve already seen how inflammation can cause undesirable skin conditions like dermatitis (as well as osteoporosis).
Bathing in the Dead Sea salt solution significantly improved skin barrier function and skin hydration (compared to plain ol’ tap water). And the roughness and redness of the skin were both greatly reduced too.
Luckily, you don’t have to travel to the Dead Sea to get sufficient magnesium. You can get it from these top sources like, Dark chocolate, Halibut, Spinach, Pumpkin and squash seeds and Almonds.
Zinc is a chemical element that’s abundant in your skin. In fact, of all the tissues in the human body, the skin has the third highest concentration of zinc.
Zinc is essential for healthy skin. Around 10% of all human proteins bind to zinc, making it vital for cell growth. The highest concentration of zinc is within the epidermis (the outer layer) of skin. Without it, skin cells would not be able to develop or replicate properly, and the barrier between your body and the outside world would be compromised.
Additionally, zinc has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (Refer back to the flavonoids section if you need a recap of how they’re beneficial for your beauty and overall health).
Zinc is present in many food sources, including, Oysters, Red meat, Crab and lobster, Beans and Nuts.
Omega 3 fatty acids are what is meant when you hear the term “healthy fats.” While not classified as a vitamin or mineral, they’re best known for their powerful anti-inflammatory properties which are great for overall health. And they have some skin-specific benefits too!
The omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in particular, reduce inflammation by blocking the inflammation pathways in your cells. This helps to combat the onset of the skin disorders mentioned above, and even more serious conditions like skin cancer and osteoporosis.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also important for the epidermal barrier of your skin. The epidermal barrier is located in the most superficial layer of skin and has a dual function. It keeps external toxins and substances from entering your body and keeps water within your skin to keep you hydrated. Now, the bricks and mortar of the epidermal barrier are ceramides, which hold skin cells together.
The best source of omega 3 fatty acids is oily fish like, Anchovies, Salmon, Mackerel abd Sardines. Fish oil supplements are also a great way to get enough omega 3 fatty acids.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an important vitamin for many bodily functions. And it could save you a ton of money on that expensive collagen cream…
Vitamin C has a triple whammy of skin benefits:
Vitamin C is important for radiant skin: Vitamin C supports the production of collagen. That is, the main structural protein in your skin. Collagen is what gives skin its strength and elasticity, and it also removes dead skin cells too. • It can protect your cells from UV damage: Research has shown that vitamin C treatment significantly decreases the apoptosis (death) of cells subjected to prolonged UV irradiation. In a real-life application, that means that getting enough vitamin C can protect your skin cells from skin cancer and other damage caused by the sun’s rays. (That isn’t an excuse not to wear sunscreen though!) • Vitamin C is an antioxidant: And as we saw in the flavonoids section, antioxidants are essential for combating oxidative stress.
The best sources of vitamin C are plant-based. Especially citrus fruits. But other top sources include, Guava, Papaya, Strawberries, Bell peppers and Broccoli.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body. And you already know that calcium is essential for strong, healthy bones. But did you know calcium helps to keep your skin looking fresh and youthful too?
It keeps your skin fresh: Your skin bears the brunt of daily life. So your body continually replaces your skin cells to keep your skin effective and fresh. And calcium, stored in the epidermis, affects how quickly this process happens. So more calcium = more new skin! • It helps provide the structure for skin: Researchers have discovered that sagging, wrinkled skin in the face is related to bone structure. The bones are the foundation for building skin, so shrunken, and weaker bones inevitably lead to deteriorating skin. And that’s where calcium comes in. Calcium (amongst other things) is essential for strong bones. So when you get enough calcium, you’re helping your bones stay strong and support your skin.
Cheese, sesame seeds, and milk are all great sources of calcium.