Got a scratch, burn, blemish, cut, or scrape? The initial pain of broken skin gives way to the beautiful process of healing. The body’s natural ability to heal on its own is magical, but there are ways to support it— even speed it up— with the right beauty nutrients. Whether you want to quicken the healing of a skinned knee or support your recovery from major surgery, tweaking what you eat can help the process along. Below, a few of my favorite beauty nutrients to support skin healing from the inside out, along with the foods that provide them in rich doses. Next time you need a dose of healing, or just want to fill up on skin-strengthening fuel, fill your meal with these beauty nutrients:
Vitamin C. This anti-aging vitamin is key for the formation of the collagen in our connective tissue, and studies show that it actually reduces healing time after surgery. Your body uses vitamin C very quickly while you’re healing, so add C-rich foods like kiwi, red and yellow peppers, strawberries, broccoli, kale, and citrus fruits to your diet every day to keep your levels consistently high.
Protein. Adequate protein (go for beauty-friendly versions such as wild salmon, sardines, pastured eggs, quinoa, hemp, raw nuts and seeds) is essential for healing, since it contains the amino acids that are the building blocks of skin repair. Two amino acids that are especially important for skin healing, arginine and glutamine, are found in many of these foods.
Zinc. This beauty mineral is critical for tissue repair and regeneration. Since we don’t store zinc in our bodies (and, ladies, zinc is also depleted by birth control pills), it’s important to regularly eat zinc-rich foods (think oysters, pumpkin seeds, cashews, tahini, mushrooms and spinach). Zinc levels get depleted quickly when you’re healing, so keep zinc-rich snacks handy, like my Spicy Sundried Tomato Hummus.
Vitamin A. This beauty vitamin gives you an immune boost (important to fight off infection that is always a risk when skin is broken) and contributes to the healing of connective tissue. Get your vitamin A in sweet potatoes, kale, butternut squash, carrots, or pastured eggs.
Image ©Jordan Walmsley