Which nutrients inhibit inflammation?
You may already suspect that some foods make your skin worse. But which ones? And can you change your diet to improve your skin? Yes, you can positively influence healing with it. The following micronutrients play an important role here. You can hardly get enough of them.
A high-fiber diet promotes healthy intestinal flora. It's important. "Good" microbes convert fiber into anti-inflammatory fatty acids 👍. If, on the other hand, the "bad" microbes in the intestine predominate, more pro-inflammatory substances are formed 👎.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Unsaturated fatty acids are good, we already know that. However, there are differences here. Omega-3 have an anti-inflammatory effect1,2 👍, while omega-6 promote inflammation 👎. It is important to ensure a good ratio of both fatty acids. Unfortunately, omega-3 falls far short in our western diet. Most of it is available in fish, but there are also vegetable sources.
🌱 Important for a vegan diet: Omega-3 from plant sources lack certain fatty acids that ensure beautiful skin. Although your body can form them from plant-based omega-3, it needs a correspondingly larger amount to do so. Our post on omega-3 acids explains how to get enough of them on a vegan diet.
These radical scavengers reduce oxidative stress, which accelerates skin aging. He has many triggers. One of them is underlying inflammation. If you consume as many antioxidants as possible, you counteract the consequences of oxidative stress.
Vitamin D and magnesium
Both have an anti-inflammatory effect. Why do we name them in the same breath? They work together. If there is a lack of magnesium, your body produces less vitamin D. If there is a lack of vitamin D, your body cannot use magnesium properly. In short, if you lack one, you lack both.
What does an anti-inflammatory diet look like
So much for the theory. So how do you meet your need for these anti-inflammatory micronutrients? And what should you avoid if possible?
Take lots of this...
Fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs
Many of the vitamins and plant pigments it contains have an antioxidant effect, for example carotenoids, flavonoids or vitamins A, C and E. Berries and peppers in particular are also rich fiber.
☝️ Tip: Every day a tablespoon of tomato paste will bring you that Antioxidant kick. It is rich in lycopene, which is particularly important for beautiful skin.
Lentils, peas and the like are rich in fiber and protein. This is ideal for providing you with enough protein on a vegan diet. Because they are necessary for healthy cell growth, including in the skin.
Whole grain products
It's better to choose whole grain than white flour and choose oats, rye or barley rather than wheat. Background: When metabolizing easily digestible white flour, the blood sugar and the insulin level increase. This promotes inflammation and, by the way, also sebum production - hello, oily skin!
Nuts and seeds
They are rich in fiber and antioxidant minerals such as magnesium, selenium and zinc. Walnuts and flaxseed are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, making them an excellent source of these important fats for vegans.
Healthy vegetable oils
In the past, fats were generally demonized. Today we know that a distinction must be made. Organic, cold-pressed and polyunsaturated vegetable oils are absolute power substances. Used correctly, they can inhibit inflammation in the body - keyword omega-3. However, they are extremely sensitive and should not be heated. It's best to keep them in the fridge and pour them directly over your food.
☝️ Linseed oil contains the most omega-3 of all vegan foods. It should not be missing in any kitchen. I dedicated an entire article to linseed oil because I find it so important. Read here how you can include enough omega-3 fatty acids in your vegan diet. Tip: Put 2 tablespoons of linseed oil over your muesli in the morning!
And little of it...
Sugar and white flour
When using easily digestible carbohydrates, metabolic products are produced in the body that promote inflammation. Experts therefore link excessive sugar consumption to an increase in inflammatory diseases. Unfortunately, the western diet overdoes it with the "sweet day". If you want to limit your sugar consumption, avoid hidden sugars in drinks, ready meals and baked goods.
Hidden and heated fats
Ready meals often contain hidden fats that are not exactly good for your health. In addition, trans fatty acids can be produced when fats are heated. They promote inflammation and are generally very unhealthy. They are mainly found in fried foods such as chips or chips, but also in puff pastry, biscuits and ready meals. But even high-quality vegetable oils can convert to trans fats when heated. They're even faster. In general, therefore, heat fats as little as possible. And use suitable fats for frying and baking. The label will tell you what they are.
Smoking, too much alcohol - both are not good for the skin. They start oxidation processes that quickly make your skin look old.
Who has stress voluntarily? But even if you can't turn it off completely, it's worth consciously incorporating relaxation phases into your daily routine. Because when you are stressed, your body produces inflammatory cytokines. By the way, chronic stress damages your skin in many ways.
An anti-inflammatory diet is good for your skin
You can counteract inflammatory skin conditions with your eating and living habits. This is of course particularly acute if you suffer from problems such as psoriasis, neurodermatitis, acne or rosacea.But even if your skin is not so obviously inflamed, it is worth paying attention to it, because silent, subliminal inflammation can become a permanent burden without being noticed.
Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your everyday life is also easier than you might think. You don't need expensive supplements for this. A colorful and healthy diet is much better.