This year I've been really focused on taking better care of my skin. I've ditched chemical-laden beauty products in favor of homemade 100% natural products, and so far, I've been happy with the results. While I'm taking better care of what I put on my skin, it's also important to nourish my skin from within.
Here's a guide to the essential vitamins you need for beautiful skin and how to get them into your diet with yummy spring produce.
5 Best Vitamins For Beautiful Skin
Vitamins A, C, E, K, and B complex are the most beneficial for beautiful, healthy skin. Luckily, some of the best natural sources of those vitamins happen to be spring fruit and veggies. These fruits and veggies need to naturally protect themselves from the summer sun and elements, so when you consume them, their protective phytonutrients and vitamins also nourish and protect your skin.
Along with the vitamins and phytonutrients that we know exist naturally in fruits and veggies, many other beneficial nutrients are yet to be discovered. This is why having a poor diet and then popping a pill will never work alone.
Eating real food with some boosting supplementation is really the best strategy. Another great reason to chow down!
Let's take a look at each vitamin, what it does, and how to get it.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant found in abundance in papaya, bell peppers, pineapple, strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli, and leafy greens. Studies show that foods high in vitamin C can help protect skin from harmful UV rays that pass through sunscreen by defending the skin from free radical damage [source].
Vitamin C is also necessary to build collagen - actually, our bodies can't do it without vitamin C [source]. Did you know that humans and guinea pigs are two animals that cannot produce vitamin C, so we must obtain it through our diet?
As we age, our bodies lose the ability to produce collagen at the same rate as when we were young. Adding that extra vitamin C can help reduce sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Since vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, any extra that isn’t needed at that time goes out in the urine, so it is best to have vitamin C-rich foods throughout the day rather than at one meal only. This helps keep your vitamin C levels elevated optimally throughout the day.
In addition to eating your daily dose, look for topical skin creams that include vitamin C for even more anti-aging benefits. You can also dab your skin with a little fresh lemon juice to help reduce age spots. Do this only at night because applying citrus to your skin can make you sun sensitive.
Vitamin C is best acquired from the very freshest fruits and veggies. The amount of vitamin C declines after the produce has been picked or cooked. Eat raw, locally grown veggies and fruit for the highest amounts of all their natural vitamins.
Best vitamin C sources in spring produce:
Kale and other leafy greens, broccoli, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, parsley, cauliflower, spinach, fennel, peas, carrots, kiwi fruit, and papaya.
2. Vitamin E
Chances are, you know all about the power of vitamin E for beautiful skin. Many lotions and other skin care products include antioxidant [source], fat-soluble vitamin E (tocopherol and tocotrienol) because it protects against free radicals and helps repair the damage they do to the skin [source]. It also teams up synergistically with vitamin C, which is why they are often found together for maximum benefits [source].
Our bodies cannot make vitamin E, so it's important to get enough through our diet. Nuts and seeds contain the highest amounts, but so do spring favorites asparagus, avocado, chard, and beet and turnip greens.
Add a little fat to your meal when eating these foods for better absorption of the vitamin E they contain.
Best vitamin E sources in spring produce:
Beets, avocado, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, kiwi fruit, collards, and leeks.
3. Vitamin A
Retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A and can produce amazing results for skin, including reducing wrinkles and treating acne [source].
Our bodies convert the beta-carotene from orange-colored fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, and peaches, and dark fruits and veggies like beets and spinach, into retinoic acid, which works as a powerful antioxidant [source].
In either case, our skin benefits from the extra boost of A, as do our eyes. Too much vitamin A isn't a good thing either, but getting enough from a diet rich in colorful fruits and veggies should help you get what you need without overdoing it because your body will decide naturally how much to absorb [source].
Best vitamin A sources in spring produce:
Sweet potatoes (available year round), leafy greens (kale, collards, spinach, turnip, mustard, and beet greens), romaine lettuce, papaya, leeks, grapefruit, green peas, asparagus, and broccoli.
4. B Vitamins
There are eight B vitamins - B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin or niacinamide), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin). Together, they are collectively called "B complex."
B vitamins are known to benefit hair, skin, and nails. Deficiencies can lead to dry, brittle nails and hair and skin issues. Niacin can improve the ability of the outermost layer of skin, the epidermis, to retain moisture [source]. This can lead to softer skin with less dryness and flaking, as well as some reduction in fine lines.
One clue to a deficiency in B vitamins can be the skin's appearance. If you suffer from chronic skin issues such as discoloration, dry patches, a dull complexion, or acne, it's worth finding out if there is a deficiency in any of them.
And if you are stressed or working out a lot, your body is quickly depleting B vitamins. Since they are water-soluble, they aren’t stored like fat-soluble vitamins, so you must consume them regularly throughout the day.
A daily supplement can be a good way to add in what you need, but so can eating a diet rich in foods containing B vitamins. A lot of B vitamins are found in dried beans, whole grains, green veggies, nuts and seeds, eggs, chicken, dairy, and beef.
Best B vitamin sources in spring produce:
B1: green peas, beet greens, spinach, romaine, broccoli
B2: spinach, beet greens, asparagus, collards, broccoli, chard, turnip greens, kale
B3: asparagus, green peas
B6: spinach, cabbage, bok choy, turnip greens, garlic, cauliflower, bananas
B9: spinach, avocado, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, oranges
B12: small amounts from mushrooms
5. Vitamin K
Leafy greens are the best natural source of vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting. When it comes to skin, a topical application of vitamin K cream can help minimize spider veins, bruising, scars, and stretch marks. It can also help promote faster healing from within [source].
Getting enough vitamin K2 can help with the skin's elasticity, which can help prevent wrinkles and lines. K2 is available in large amounts from grass-fed butter, meat, and egg yolks.
Best vitamin K sources in spring produce:
Kale, collards, spinach, and all other leafy greens.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.138