Making sure we have healthy skin is not just important for how we look but also to provide a protective barrier against infection and disease. Many people are unaware that skin is classified as a detoxifying organ, so ensuring our diet contains all the essential nutrients to promote healthy skin is very important. A nutrient dense diet should also promote healthy hair and nails, and hair and nails in poor condition can be reflective of nutrient deficiencies.
Understanding the key nutrients that promote the health of hair, skin and nails (HSN) can help us include more of these foods in the diet and perhaps reveal where we might need a little extra help through supplementation.
Despite some people’s best efforts nutritionally and through exercise to be healthy, environmental stress, including exposure to chemicals and pollutant, can damage HSN so sometimes we might need a little help to help protect us against this damage and keep us looking good and feeling great.
THE TOP 4 NUTRIENTS FOR HEALTHY HAIR, SKIN AND NAILS
A diet that contains all of our essential vitamins and minerals is always going to be important to maintain the overall health of the body, including HSN. However, there are some nutrients we might need to pay special attention to due to the essential roles they play in the maintenance of HSN.
Maintaining healthy skin is particularly important as it is the first barrier against environmental damage caused by pollutants, toxins and ‘free radicals’. Free radicals can damage the skin and have been implicated in the process of premature ageing.
Free radicals are known as ‘oxidants’ and therefore one way we can protect against free radical damage is by ensuring we have enough antioxidants in our diet. The antioxidant vitamins include A, C and E. Carotenoids such as beta-carotene, responsible for the orange colour in carrots, are also important antioxidants in the skin.
#2 VITAMIN D
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays an extremely important role in the health of many of the body’s tissues and efficient physiological functions, including the maintenance of skin, hair and nails.
The mineral zinc is another important mediator in lots of essential processes in the body and this includes the formation and repair of HSN.
#4 OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
One of the most important nutrients for healthy skin in particular are omega-3 fatty acids. These help to create strong, supple skin. Omegas 3 found in fish oils are also anti-inflammatory in nature, so for those with delicate, easily irritated skin these may help reduce sensitivity and promote healing.
WHAT FOODS ARE THESE NUTRIENTS FOUND IN?
Daily recommended intakes of vitamins A and C can be met if consuming a diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Vitamin A is found in green leafy veg, such as spinach and broccoli, and vitamin C is in citrus fruits and dark/red berries.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and is found in many unsaturated fat sources such as oily fish (which also contains omega-3), olive oil, almonds, flax seeds and avocado.
Zinc is found in large amounts in poultry, beef and other meats but for those who don’t consume much or any meat, then nuts and seeds also contain good amounts of zinc.
A balanced diet that contains plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean protein (protein is also an important nutrient for HSN), the occasional portion of oily fish and nuts and seeds is important not just for overall health, but for the health of hair, nails and skin as well.
ARE THERE ANY SUPPLEMENTS THAT CAN HELP WITH HAIR, SKIN AND NAILS?
Even the most well intended diet might be missing some of the key ‘ingredients’ which help keep HSN in good health. Supplements can therefore come in handy for those who may fall short in meeting their daily requirements.
VITAMINS & MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS
These can come in the form of a multivitamin or mineral, or if there are specific nutrients that you might struggle to consume, you can also get stand-alone supplements, such as vitamin C or zinc, then these are also available as stand-alone supplements.
Arguably the most important supplement for overall health, including HSN, is vitamin D. This is especially important to use during the winter months when we do not get enough sunlight, which is essential for the creation of vitamin D.
Omega-3 is certainly something many people who don’t eat fish struggle to consume enough of in their diet, so supplementing either with fish oils, or omega-3 can help promote healthy skin.
ALL IN ONE HSN SUPPLEMENTS
Ladies… if you are looking for an all-in-one product to help promote healthy hair, skin and nails, WMN® RADIANCE CAPSULES™ capsules contain many of the above ingredients but also selenium (which is important for maintenance of hair and nails), beta carotene and hyaluronic acid, which is one of the major components of the ‘framework’ of our skin and has been shown to promote hydrated and healthy looking skin.
A balanced diet full of lean protein, oily fish and plenty of fruit and vegetables will provide plenty of the essential nutrients to keep HSN healthy and strong. However, vitamin and mineral supplements may come in handy, especially those which are often absent from the diet. Vitamin D is a ‘must have’ supplement regardless of your goal. The final important thing to consider is to make sure you drink plenty of water, staying hydrated is important for healthy looking skin, removing impurities and giving the skin a healthy-looking appearance.