- Vitamin C is integral to the health and beauty of skin, so adding this vital nutrient to your diet is essential, as you body can’t produce it on its own.
- Dietary vitamin C can complement the use of topical vitamin C creams and serums.
- Eating a diet rich in vitamin C can replenish your skin from within and maintain a youthful appearance.
Collagen is a protein we produce naturally but which depletes with age or other stress factors. It is essential for skin elasticity and firmness, and for fending off wrinkles.
Benefits of a vitamin C-rich diet
Your body needs a variety of nutrients to look and feel its best, but vitamin C is particularly important. Its benefits extend far beyond the immune-boosting properties you’ve probably already heard of.
Prevents sun damage
When exposed to UV light, free radicals can attack your skin’s collagen, leading to wrinkles, sun spots and even cancer. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that acts to neutralize and minimize the effects of free radicals.
Maintains skin firmness and texture
Along with minimizing the appearance of fine lines, vitamin C also helps to smooth and firm the surface of the skin by activating cells, called fibroblasts, which stimulate new collagen. A diet rich in vitamin C is associated with improved skin elasticity, fewer wrinkles and a softer, more even skin tone.
Promotes skin healing
Vitamin C plays a role in the formation of keratinocytes—cells needed to close up a wound, so a vitamin C-rich diet may facilitate the healing of cuts, burns and other injuries that lead to scar tissue. Not consuming enough vitamin C has been shown to cause scurvy, a disease characterized by skin fragility, lesions and slow wound healing.
Vitamin C-Rich Foods
Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means it’s readily eliminated by your body. In order to benefit from its potency, it’s therefore important to eat vitamin C rich foods regularly.
Consider integrating the following 5 vitamin C-rich foods into your diet for healthier skin:
- Citrus fruits: oranges, grapefruit, mandarins, limes and lemons are all great sources of vitamin C.
- Leafy greens: Kale, spinach, and chard are an excellent source of vitamin C when steamed or lightly sauteed.
- Bell peppers: Yellow peppers boast the most vitamin C, then red, followed by green.
- Strawberries: In addition to being a good source of vitamin C, strawberries are a potent antioxidant that may be good for heart and brain health.
- Papayas: One cup (145 grams) of papaya provides 87 mg of vitamin C, or 97% of the amount of vitamin C required per day.
Vitamin C-rich recipes
Bell pepper salad
Chop and toss yellow, red, and green bell peppers together with minced red onion, olive oil, a dash of apple cider vinegar and black pepper for a vitamin C-rich salad.
Blend fresh cantaloupe, orange chunks, carrot juice and a handful of spinach for a smoothie containing high amount of both vitamins C and A.
What Nutrients Bolster the Effects of Vitamin C for Skin?
Vitamin C is particularly effective at reducing oxidative damage to the skin when used in conjunction with vitamin E. Leafy greens are a great source of both vitamins. Higher intakes of vitamin C and linoleic acid (found in walnuts and other nuts) is also associated with better skin aging, as the latter plays a role in fighting skin dryness and atrophy.
Safety and side effects
It is nearly impossible to get too much vitamin C from your diet alone. Any vitamin C you consume past the amount you need is simply flushed from the body.
However, if you’re opting for supplements, it’s important to exercise caution.
Signs of vitamin C overconsumption include diarrhea, nausea and even kidney stones with doses greater than 2000 mg per day.
If you’re looking for alternatives to dietary intake, or wish to complement your intake of vitamin C and increase its skin care benefits, applying a topical vitamin C serum or cream in addition to consuming foods high in vitamin C can do wonders for targeting a range of skin concerns.
A diet rich in vitamin C offers many health benefits, and noticeably glowing, healthy skin is just one of them.
From the stimulation of collagen growth, to invaluable protection from the sun, and the promotion of wound healing, there are a multitude of benefits to be had by incorporating more vitamin C into your diet.
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