I don´t know about your parts of the world but here in Barcelona the temperature is going up, up, and the sun is shining and getting stronger every day. Thus, it´s time to start thinking about taking a little extra care of that skin of yours. (Especially if you were blessed with fragile scandinavian skin and happen to be living by the Mediterranean sea like me.) So what are the top three nutrients to stock up on this season…?
– Beta Carotene.
– Vitamin E
This might be the most famous antioxidant out there, as many people already know beta carotene is what gives carrots their bright orange color. Beta-carotene is a member of the carotenoids, highly pigmented (red, orange, yellow), fat-soluble compounds naturally present in many fruits, oils, and vegetables such as green plants, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, apricots, and green peppers. Beta carotene can also be transformed into vitamin A, in the event that your body is lacking it. Any excess of beta carotene is then stored in your skin, which is why, if you eat too many carrots, your skin turns orange. Beta carotene is known to help the skin tan more easily, and a lot of people who suffers from sun rash has noticed a big improvement in the condition of their skin during the sunny months. I normally just try to take a beta carotene supplement for this time of the year, but this year I also bought organic carrot oil to give some extra aid from the outside as well. (Of course in combination with a high SPF cream, I never leave the house without it, unless I know I´m going to be covered up from head to toe all day.)
Zink is an essential mineral, important for your immune system but also in the healing of damaged cells, such as your skin cells. (On a completely different note it is also believed to enhance your fertility and is crucial in the regulation of the male sex drive…) The best sources for zink are for example; liver, beef, chicken, eggs, seafood, wheat germ, pecan nuts, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter.
Vitamin E (aka Alpha-tocopherol aka Gamma-tocopherol)
This fat soluble vitamin plays an important roll in protecting body tissue from damage caused by substances called free radicals. Free radicals are to blame for the process of the break down of cell, tissue and organs, also known as aging. Of course you cannot stop your body from aging, however making sure your vitamin E levels are stocked up is a good way to work against premature aging caused by for instance the sun and rough living. The body also needs vitamin E to help keep the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria.
The best way to up your vitamin E intake is through food. I always promote people eating healthy natural food before running to the health food store buying a supplement. Vitamin E can be found in leafy green vegetables, such as spinach or broccoli, nuts and seeds such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds and hazel nuts, and also in vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, carrot oil and wheat germ oil.
PS. Don´t forget to stock up on a high SPF cream too!