Nutrition Myth Busters: Skin Edition
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The skin is the largest organ of the body with many important tasks, including temperature regulation and immune system function. Since skin plays such a vital role in protecting and preserving our health, it’s important to take measures to ensure its vitality. Both lifestyle and dietary practices can improve skin health, elasticity and overall appearance. With many opinions out there, it’s important to determine the help versus hype in skin health recommendations.
Acne and Diet
True or False: Chocolate causes acne.
False. One study demonstrated even high intakes of chocolate, 1,200 calories daily to be exact, showed no increase in acne. That being said, only a few studies have examined this relationship and more studies are needed to determine the exact correlation. Conversely, insulin resistance has been linked to higher incidence of acne, so keeping sweet treats to a minimum is still advised.
Skin Dryness and Dullness
True or False: Dietary fat can negatively affect skin appearance.
False. Fat isn’t all together a no-no, but the type of fat matters! All cells need proper hydration. Cells need specific types of fatty acids to help retain moisture and prevent a dry and dull appearance. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA in fish, have been shown to reduce overall itching and dryness of skin. Try incorporating fatty fish twice a week as a healthy protein choice. Fish varieties high in EPA and DHA include trout, halibut, tuna, salmon, herring, mackerel, barramundi, anchovies and sardines.
True or False: Vitamin C can help with skin elasticity and youthfulness.
True. Vitamin C is a precursor to collagen formation. Topical application has been shown to boost collagen production, which helps improve elasticity. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant shown to help repair damaged skin after exposure to UVA and UVB radiation. It is added to many after-sun products for this very reason. Foods rich in vitamin C include red bell peppers, papaya, broccoli, strawberries and Brussels sprouts.
Hair and Nails
True or False: Everyone with thinning hair and weak nails should supplement with biotin.
False. While biotin supplementation may be considered, it’s also important to look for other underlying medical conditions or nutrient deficiencies. Anemias, fungal infections, menopause, amino acid deficiencies or vitamin D deficiency could be to blame. Evaluation by your doctor and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist could help you determine specific medical or dietary therapies that would benefit you most.
For more information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.
Article provided by Gillian White, RDN, LD, CNSC, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.